As the current course of making devices smarter reaches an absolute fever, a new smart gadget hailing from a team of ex-Samsung engineers just might seem like the trend’s most unusual addition. No, it’s not an artificially intelligent refrigerator or even an autonomous vacuum but rather, a smart umbrella. Dubbed the Opus One — and already in circulation in Japan and Korea — the rig is intended to alert users to whether or not they should tote the thing with them before leaving the house each morning.
Though news of this sort is likely to draw reactions such as, “it’s not hard to look outside before you leave” or “there is no way it could accurately predict the weather,” the specifications for the Opus One are intriguing. Capable of scanning trusted local weather reports via Yahoo Weather each morning, owners simply shake the umbrella to quickly see if the device is needed that day or not — blinking red means rain is on the way while green signifies it is safe to leave the umbrella at home.
While leaning on a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone to gather weather data, the Opus One also leverages this connectivity to offer its owner even more useful features. Say, for instance, someone leaves their umbrella on the bus, the umbrella’s connection to a companion smartphone allows it to notify the user before they get too far away or (in this scenario) before the bus leaves. Furthermore, the Opus One also boasts the capability to send vibrated notifications to users when they receive text messages, emails, or phone calls — once again, by utilizing the Bluetooth connection.
Aesthetically, the Opus One looks like any other standard umbrella, however, the designers added their own bit of flare and offer two different varieties: a mustachioed, bowler hat version and one featuring a queen’s guard. As mentioned, it’s only currently available in Japan and Korea, retailing for roughly $105 (10,778 yen) but its recent push back into the news sphere suggests the firm is looking to expand.
At $105, the Opus One certainly isn’t cheap for an umbrella but considering its weather-predicting abilities, Bluetooth tethering, and notification ability, it’s likely the last umbrella anyone would ever need to own. Construction-wise, the designers chose to craft the water-repellant top out of a premium pongee fabric coated in weatherproofing, while outfitting the interior shafts of sturdy fiberglass to ensure supreme durability. Additionally, the device runs on four AAA batteries and is said to function for up to a year under normal use.