Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Gyroscopically Stabilised Umbrella
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One persistent problem with umbrellas has to be their tendency to be caught by the slightest gust of wind and thrown hither and thither around one's head whilst one attempts, valiantly but often in vain, to redirect said brolly back into the path of the wind, since this is generally also the direction from which the rain is coming. The inherent instability of brollies can, indeed, make the life of a pedestrian a hazardous obstacle course during his daily commute to and from work - swerving, ducking and weaving to avoid the threat caused by those whose mothers were obviously negligent in instructing their offspring "You'll have someone's eye out with that if you're not careful", a piece of advice which is, I think, never unwarranted. Even the humble spork can be a dangerous implement in the hands of a fool. How many more prongs are there upon an umbrella? Think of the range - the kill-zone, we might say - of your typical golfing umbrella, now gaining in popularity even as the poor, plain black umbrella (a much more stylish accessory complementing the classic bowler hat splendidly) slips sadly towards obscurity in favour of that garish and lethal encumbrance.

Solution? The GyroBrolly. Powered by a small motor in the handle, the GyroBrolly spins merrily around your head, gyroscopically maintaining its balance against the blustery blasts and ghastly gusts of wind so typical of British weather. Suddenly, handling becomes a dream, and the umbrella itself a thing of grace and elegance, a delicate spinning top, remaining upright and proud as any British Brolly should be. Think of the image as you look out from the window of your office in the city, on the streets below, filled with whirling windmills of weather-protection, dancing gaily around each other as in a Broadway musical. What's that you say? How then might one direct the brolly into the path of driving rain to better prevent it from ruining one's buttonhole carnation? No need. With helical veins running around the exterior of the brolly in a corkscrew effect, the brolly would, we believe, create its own miniature vortex of circulating air sending incoming rain in a downward and outward direction, catching it in a slipstream which should, indeed, serve as a blissful buffer of dryness even on the most dreary day. This does require strenuous testing, I hasten to add, so as yet one would not like to make hasty - and unsubstantiated - claims. It does seem possible however that in solving the age-old problem of umbrella instability, we may also provide the solution to that other age-old problem associated with this fine - but flawed - accoutrement, known as Wet Trouser-Leg Syndome.

Guy Fox, Jan 14 2002

A bit about gyroscopes http://www.tpub.com/air/10-3.htm
[Worldgineer, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Hmm...wouldn't this need an absurdly high, and not to mention probably lethal, rpm to get the gyroscope effect? Not sure if mass is a factor too. Plus the shape of the dome itself could be a problem...end up with some sort of aerofoil-helicopter effect if you aren't careful. Like it in principle though.
Zifeer, Jan 14 2002

       I am not worthy of this croissant, You take it Guy Fox
thumbwax, Jan 14 2002

       Although this may well provide the required protection for the wielder, it will also send buckets of water off in all directions, adding to the discomfort of everyone else in the vicinity. So, fishbone for the moment, but should you decide to add some handy guttering then I could be persuaded to change.
DrBob, Jan 14 2002

       Well, the gyroscopic spinny bit could be contained within an outer, semi-rigid, skin.
angel, Jan 14 2002

       Zifeer and DrBob: both fair and valid points, which I have been musing upon. It did occur to me that were the GyroBrolly's spokes to terminate - as with the common or garden variety of umbrella - in the usual metal knobs which are so pointily hazardous, the safety issues might well make this a less viable product. To that end, a brief return to my drawing boards leads me to suggest a modification on the basic hemispheric shape of the umbrella. To wit, the GyroBrolly should follow the classic silhouette of the bowler hat, with an upturned brim/bumper which should serve to redirect the airflow - and the rain - upwards, thus preventing the perilous aerofoil-helicopter effect (or 'Mary-Poppinsing') whilst also saving one's fellow citizens from a thorough drenching should they step too close. Indeed, since this new aerodynamics would, I believe, give rise to an upward-and-outward zone of wind-and-rain deflection, this may well afford additional protection to passers-by. There will, of course, remain the issue of bumping GyroBrollies on a busy footpath which, with the force of rpm, might cause a degree of bounce; however, I feel that given the smooth and effortless control afforded by the GyroBrolly, such dangers can be overcome simply through the natural etiquette of raising one's brolly - as one would raise one's hat - upon approaching a fellow traveller. To prevent two such gents from raising their GyroBrollies, quite ironically, to exactly the same height and thus causing the very calamity they seek to prevent, I suggest the adoption of certain conventions; that the traveller passing on the road-ward side of the footpath should raise his or her brolly only by a negligable amount, while the traveller passing on the building-ward side should raise his or her GyroBrolly by an amount sufficient to ensure safe clearance. With a little common courtesy, I am sure the GyroBrolly can thereby make the daily commute a much more pleasant experience for all concerned.
Guy Fox, Jan 14 2002

       As I read this, I was envisioning a gyroscope built into the umbrella, not the brolly itself being the gyroscope. Seen from that viewpoint, great idea, GF, and probably marketable if you can solve two problems: powering the gyro and hiding it inside the collapsed brolly.
waugsqueke, Jan 14 2002

       Fishbone removed and replaced with pastry.
DrBob, Jan 14 2002

       I'd buy one, pastry for you...
madradish, Jan 15 2002

       Gyros are such wonderful Greek concoctions of pita bread, shaved lamb slices, and seasoned yogurt; and "Brolly" seems like such a particularly apt name for one of those Ikea-style meatballs broiled in one of Waugsqueke's patented "Meatball Cookers", otherwise known as a "Rube Goldberg rotating helical hamster cage cooker-thingy". I admit to having been briefly hopeful (even epicurious) of another entry to the HalfBakery Recipe Book that somehow involved spiced lamb meatballs with a yogurt dressing wrapped in pita bread. In all honesty, I guess the world needs better umbrellas and dry pant legs more than they need another wrapped sandwich.
jurist, Jan 15 2002

       *Wipes tears* That was beautiful, jurist
thumbwax, Jan 15 2002

po, Jan 23 2002

       Back on point. The GyroBrolly may not be as easy to control as you think. Generally, you have to push 90 degrees off the direction you want to move a gyroscope. Also, if precession starts, you'll be bashing together umbrellas in no time. Croissant for the creativity though.
Worldgineer, Feb 13 2003

zen_tom, Jun 01 2005

       That was just me abusing the halfbakery tags and commenting that jurist seemed to have a surprisingly good feel for the halfbakery for someone that had only been here four days. Nothing to do with the idea. Move on. Nothing to see here. [deletes earlier comments leaving po's "St3f'ed" somewhat stranded.]
st3f, Jun 01 2005


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