Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Heliotropic Cafe Umbrellas

Keep your customers from burning to a crisp
  (+17)(+17)
(+17)
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The idea isn't too complicated: a heavier base (to keep an angled umbrella from becoming airborne taking the table and occupants who haven't paid their bill yet with it), halfway up the stalk (above beer pitcher level) is a motorized universal joint. A sensor in the canopy finds out where the sun is coming from and causes the umbrella to point in that direction.

The result is a table that is always shaded keeping patrons from having to play musical chairs to keep from being broiled alive.

No surprise, solar powered. The Umbrella could of course be set to ignore solar movement before or after a certain time to allow for sunrise/set watching.

FlyingToaster, Jun 29 2009

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       Heliotrope is the generic term for things that turn towards the sun. It has been applied to both biological entities as well as mechanical ones. What you are proposing is an umbra-trope. Horse of different feathers.   

       I think it is a good idea, but I have a garden *umbrelly* that does something similar, if only manually. It has a pivoting base and an elbow joint on the vertical shaft.
4whom, Jun 29 2009
  

       apart from the prima face reason: keeping the customers cool, passers-by would eventually notice that all the umbrellas constantly shade the tables and the repute of the establishment would go up a notch.   

       Title changed accordingly thanks [4whom]
FlyingToaster, Jun 29 2009
  

       Hmmm, heliotropic, lenticular advertising. Well that would have to be a bun!
4whom, Jun 29 2009
  

       I like
dentworth, Jun 30 2009
  

       A great idea, and very bake-able as well.
normzone, Jun 30 2009
  

       [+]   

       Why not add a parabolic solar collector on top of the brolly, to collect the sunlight and provide power for the sensor and motor?   

       Of course this wouldn't work on an overcast day, but the device is only really needed in the bright sunlight, so this isn't a problem.
Wrongfellow, Jun 30 2009
  

       Shouldn't it sense the wind as well, to actually prevent the havoc that you describe? If you can make it do that, (sense wind direction and self adjust), then I"d bun it. Or croissant it, as the case may be.
blissmiss, Jun 30 2009
  

       Using a terribly complex algorithm it decides whether to shield against sun or wind/rain. Tornado-level winds cause it to furl automatically and deploy the seat-mounted safety belts. And of course it integrates a wind-turbine as well as the solar panel: unoccupied tables' umbrellas can harvest sun and/or wind power at the optimum angle for doing same.   

       You may now distribute complementary dinner-rolls.
FlyingToaster, Jun 30 2009
  

       duh. get me some new glasses someone...
blissmiss, Jun 30 2009
  

       No, it's good that you provoked [21 Quest]. He would have found something to respond to sooner or later, and this lets off some of the pressure.
normzone, Jun 30 2009
  

       Sure, just use poor old blissmiss as your whipping post. Or some such thing ;-)
blissmiss, Jun 30 2009
  

       You can either factor for protection against Sun or Wind/Rain, rarely both at the same time.
Were you to rig up a small controller to measure these 3 variables with a simple time clock, and a link to a cute little algorithm that calculates sun elevation and position at any time of day at any longitude/latitude, then have a small selector switch that would allow you to choose between 'parasol', 'parapluie/paravent' mode then Robert would be your Dad's brother**.
Bun from me.


**Always factoring in the surrounding buildng elevations to make sure that you are not wasting your time - Google Earth could probably help with that when everyone finishes drawing their houses and uploading them!.
gnomethang, Jun 30 2009
  
      
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