May 26, 2017 | By Sarah Housley
Big data meets consumer insights. Experience WGSN.
As the doors closed on CES, the 50th anniversary of the Consumer Electronics Show, which was held in mid-January, WGSN left Las Vegas with heads swimming. Ours would be a giddying future: haptic screens that made cat gifs feel furry; connected kitchens that liked to chat and could order a pizza when the soufflé failed; armies of Pixar-produced help-butlers destined to blink, whizz and WALL•E their way into our hearts… Everything seemed so futuristic, so helpful.
And then earlier this week an announcement – a latecomer to the good times hereafter party… The Umbrella Drone! A solution in search of a problem. A £1299 solution. And the problem? There you are, walking the dog with one hand, carrying a bale of hay with the other, and then: rain! And you’re hatless! Yet all is not lost. Locking on to your smartphone’s GPS, The Umbrella Drone swoops down, providing minimum protective cover from the deluge until you either reach home or its 30-minute battery life is exceeded.
Essentially a DJI Phantom 4 with a small umbrella attached, its creators, DronesDirect.co.uk, are bullishly optimistic that their vision for the future isn’t necessarily as wildly disconnected from the reality of ours as we may think. “For those who don’t want to be confined to staying indoors, who want to drone in changeable weather, and those who don’t want to juggle managing an umbrella whilst carrying out their everyday tasks, then the innovative Umbrella Drone is a gadget not to be without,” the press release assures us. You may be carrying an egg in each hand, but technology will be there, waiting to keep you partially dry. For a short time. Unless, thanks to those pencil-pushing fire blankets at the Civil Aviation Authority, you’re near people… or buildings… or vehicles… or anything, really.
So, we have seen the future. And it’s tactile, connected and conversational (racking up numerous comments on Twitter). And, apparently, it’s full of farmers with armfuls of logs being pursued back to the farmhouse by a cheery bright-yellow quadcopter.
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