Under My Umbrella

This is the story of a product not yet made: a solar collecting, electricity storing and sharing, urban-café-dwelling, deck umbrella. I herald its arrival in the present tense because the components are mostly off-the-shelf. Good design and green entrepreneurship is what's needed. Its so far nameless, though, partly because the domain names "ebrella.com", "solarbrella.org", and "sunbrella.com" are claimed (but show no evidence of this idea). Better, then, to let popular culture coin one.When you see this product you'll think "why didn't I think of that?" Well you did, or you will anyway, if you read on.

Potential Ad Copy: 'A Conversation'.

========= start dialog =========
"This table OK"?

"Fine, but what's this"?

"Uuuum. Don't know".

"Look at the power jacks? Are those for a notebook PC? There's enough here for a party of four".

"I heard about this. The umbrella makes electricity from the sun and stores it in batteries kept in the base".

"No way".

"Way. Down underneath that cover is recycled auto tire that has a bunch of sealed lead acid batteries wedged in and some electronics. And you can move the table by lifting up the base cover, unplugging a cable and rolling the tire to where you want the table to be. How cool is that"!

"I suppose you're going to tell me that when a strong wind comes up there's a vibration sensor in the base that activates an electric motor that automatically closes the umbrella".

"Well why not"!

Pointing. "A line-in and earphone jacks, all ready to share tunes".
Waiter: "Gentlemen. Will there be something to drink first"?
======== end dialog ========

Someone, please complete the following specification, make it, and get rich. I don't care if its a conversion kit or the complete deal. In return, all I want is a prototype delivered to my house to try out. I'll pick up the used tire from a nearby garage. Just tell me the size. Oh, and the designer is invited to stop by for a glass of wine and conversation.

That conversation could go on for awhile couldn't it? Tell him/her to bring a bottle.

Later: -- "Can you imagine how good these would be on the veranda at Steamboat? Or hey, how about the new Millennium Park in downtown Chicago? Every country has old tires. The rest of the stuff could be shipped easily. It's the electronics that deserve a patent. Great for emergency recovery teams, or even mountaineers. Pass me that bottle now will you"?

Design Specification:

1. - Obtain conventional deck umbrella frame.

2. — Cover umbrella frame (item #1) with solar photovoltaic fabric (F-SPV) or, alternatively, with a conventional sun-proof fabric bonded with exterior-facing thin film solar photovoltaic (TF-SPV) panels, said panels being of decorative geometric or free-form artistic patterns.

3. — F-SPV or TP-SPV current carrying output wires extend from umbrella top (of Item #2), passing toward the center, through frame spokes, proceeding down through core of umbrella stem, and connecting to battery charging output plug(s) mounted in stem wall, near base.

4. — Water proof, hollow under-table umbrella stand cover has sufficient internal clearance to cover automotive tire that holds at between one and eight sealed, 12-volt lead acid storage batteries, plus necessary voltage conditioning, flow regulating, and switching apparatus sufficient to provide power for portable computing and other handheld electric devices. Umbrella stand cover can be covered with fabric matching the umbrella top or, alternatively, made of blow molded polymer, suitable for foot rest.

5. and so on....

by: John Laumer