With the 2012 Summer Olympic Games just around the corner, British mobile network operator Vodafone is announcing its latest and probably its coolest innovation as far as mobile technology is concerned. Called the Booster Brolly, the umbrella prototype is designed to function both as a mobile phone charger and a signal booster. The Booster Brolly, currently in its concept phase, is powered by a series of flexible solar panels within its canopy. Vodafone said that the electrical current generated from the panels also powers a micro antenna that can boost a phone’s 3G signal wirelessly. Vodafone added that the Booster Brolly will also sport an LED torch for night-time navigation and a “hands free” smartphone cradle.

The Vodafone Booster Brolly, previously named Voda-brella, is designed by Dr. Kenneth Tong of University College London. “The canopy has been fitted with 12 lightweight amorphous silicon triple junction solar cells that have the ability to convert light into electricity through a series of highly sensitive photovoltaic semiconductors. The current generated is then transferred via a voltage regulator to the handle of the umbrella, where it is stored safely in high capacity rechargeable batteries, or used to directly charge a mobile device through a USB port,” Dr. Tong thoroughly explained. Vodafone will be testing the prototype at the Isle of Wight Festival next weekend.

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