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Wednesday January 10, 2007 3:07 am

CES 2007: Hands On With Ambient Devices’ Rain-Sensing Umbrella

Description Ambient Devices showed off their rain-sensing umbrella. When it sees rain, snow or sleet in the forecast the handle will pulse blue. The pulses are indicative of the severity, but it’s intended to be subtle and inferred, rather than a documented value.

Some great details: The system operates on a passive long-range radio signal. The umbrella wakes up to check the forecast every 15 minutes, and the battery will last 9 months long on a standard cell battery. The passiveness of the system is brilliant, because it requires absolutely no wifi or internet connectivity whatsoever—coverage is provided almost everywhere in the US for this, and all you have to do is set up your zip code from their web site, once. The umbrella will retail for about $99, and they’re looking for a retail partner, but expect to have one by Q2 this year.

Downsides? I live in Phoenix.

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