Bleeping brollies: Umbrella plays music in the rain

Umbrella plays tunes when triggered by rain
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German hardware geniuses have designed an umbrella capable of playing music when wet.

With 12 touch-sensitive sensors fitted to the inner canopy of the umbrella, they are connected via a simple circuit board that is capable of tracking when each sensor was triggered by a raindrop.

Each sensor has its own individual beep that is triggered by a drop of rain, allowing the umbrella to produce a randomly generated 8-bit tune.

The device was created by Berlin based Alice Zappe and Julia Lager for a 24 hour hardware hacking event in Amsterdam.

After their original idea of producing a web app capable of recommending food based on the bands a person like proved too complicated, the pair stuck with their singling brolly.

Given their restricted time limit to product the device, the first version of the umbrella features sensors and wires that are attached to the canopy by duct tape, whilst the sensors are made from a piezoelectric material, which generates a tiny charge when it is distressed or distorted.

Ms Zappe spoke with the BBC, telling them: "One tricky part of the project was tuning the micro controller so it generated enough beeps to make s pleasant tune. Too sensitive and listeners would get a frenetic cacophony in the lightest shower. Not sensitive enough and the music would be too plodding and sporadic to be interesting."

However, even the device's creators admitted it may soon lose its appeal.

"In the end we were quite satisfied with our prototype, although we have to admit it does get a bit annoying after some time." said Ms Zappe.

I can only imagine walking down a busy, commuter-filled street to the sound of bleeping brollies everywhere - although if I'm honest, I'd rather not.

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