Polite Umbrella


This project is about an interactive umbrella that respects people’s personal space in a public area. A user can easily adjust their umbrella anytime by pulling a handle so that one can protect themselves from harsh winds or bumping into others. The shrinking movement is immediate and is capable of morphing shapes to that like of a jellyfish. Additionally, graphic images printed on the umbrella have animated effects which create gestures of politeness such as bowing or hand gestures. Furthermore the umbrella also has readable quotes related to good manners in order to initiate communications.


User Scenario

A person carries “Polite Umbrella” in a busy street during a rainy day. When the person encounters a crowd on a narrow sidewalk. The person immediately shrinks or adjusts the umbrella with a simple control in the handle. As the graphics on the umbrella fabric move along the shrinking process, people around the person can enjoy the animation.




The key element of “The Polite Umbrella” is the strings. The strings are attached at each end of the umbrella frames then gathered on the topside of the umbrella pole. The strings are then inserted into the shaft then brought down to the handle part for the user to be able to pull down in order to shrink the circumference of the umbrella. Since a certain amount of power is needed to pull the strings, the technique of smoothness, less force and a convenient handle is an important matter of mechanics. For that solution, I am using pulleys, nylon coated stainless steel string and hand made wooden handles. As normal umbrellas are designed to be easy and portable, the production goal is to make a quality product for people to conveniently use for everyday life.





Conclusion and Future Development

The activity of using “The Polite Umbrella” is for protection from weather, preservation of personal space, maneuverability, amplification of gesture, visual expression and fashion. It can also be used for visual communication, sharing humor with others in a public space.


go see the video
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