Open source umbrella design - is it possible?

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by Lilalena, Feb 24, 2011.

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  1. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

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    Exactly. It should be strengthened, not destroyed by wind. So it has to use sails (also mentioned by keith below) or be multi-tiered - pneumatic (with a way of distributing the air that goes inside it...to the sections that need the greatest strength) - or both.

    I had a rough idea --not actually a 'design' just an idea--for the latter BUT people pointed out it wouldn't work when there was no wind. They were right...



    It is a 'wind-collection device' isn't it? That's the funny thing about it.

    "To free your hands..."
    I've also wondered whether they shouldn't be part of city-planning. Make them so that they inflate and float out of .... lamposts?.... whenever it rains, and hover over designated paths, providing cover for one small crowd at a time.


    "upgrade is for solar sails. "
    What exactly do you mean by that?
     
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  3. keith1 Guest

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2011
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  5. Gustav Banned Banned

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    excellent insight
     
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  7. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

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    Me too, House design With my left foot, Other sTuff , Not so much. Seeing in 3d helps
     
  8. keith1 Guest

    Thank you Gustav. I suppose if one wanted to, they could rig a periscoping pole and umbrella to a light-weight backpack frame.
    But no guarantees that one will not look silly being dragged down the road in the wind.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2011
  9. Cifo Day destroys the night, Registered Senior Member

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    Patent rights are the issue here, not copyrights, and publicizing your design ruins your rights to a patent. You must keep your designs secret prior to patenting them, and the openness of threads on the internet ruins the secrecy of patents. Secrecy is essential.

    Patenting a design involves a few consequences:
    #1 - You gain rights to the design,
    #2 - You show your design to the whole world, and
    #3 - You must sue infringers in order to maintain your rights.

    Applying for patents and suing infringers are generally long, complex, and expensive processes.
     
  10. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

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    That's right, sorry.

    But if hypothetically people agreed to work together on a design here, not caring about making money off it (refer to possible reasons mentioned by Dyw) and then, some outsider saw the thread, stole the design and tried to patent it. Wouldn't they be denied the patent because of this thread and its non-secretness? (I think this thread would be easy to google using the key words 'umbrella design').

    In the end, the original participants of the hypothetical thread would still be able to make money off it in case they changed their minds, because the design can't be patented therefore they can work together (even contribute financially) to bringing the design into production and distribution.

    The upside would be that the design process got accelerated in case the thread was made up of competent designers... also, the people who designed it could pool other resources besides design ability...well there are other things I want to mention but have to go back to work now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  11. Cifo Day destroys the night, Registered Senior Member

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    The patent office, at least in the US, might search for infringements on previous patents within its own database of patents, but it would not search for 'open source" information. Besides, I found 21 million hits for umbrella design.

    What would happen is this: Your group publicly designs a new kind of umbrella, someone sees it online and patents it, you decide to make/sell these umbrellas, the patent holder catches you violating the patent and sues you, and you end up with loads of legal bills to prove that the design wasn't patentable to begin with.

    My big question is, why do you need to design it in a forum? You could invite people in a forum to join you elsewhere (by group emails?) and sign some sort of non-disclosure document.
     
  12. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

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    Years ago I was very interested in Linux, in the open source 'movement' in general, and in the altruistic side of collaborative work. So my OP is an old question that I never got to ask properly...until I discovered sciforums...(apologies to the whole sciforums community).

    Well, now I know that 'open source umbrella design' or open source 3d design in general, is impossible because I had the wrong idea about the process of getting a patent--which I assumed was very similar to copyrighting (copylefting?) Your second suggestion is probably how I would have gone about the design normally. Well, not really. Sitting alone in my room drawing for weeks is what I actually do normally -- but it's a bad process and I started to envy programmers their open source model, that's all. In the end taking sole credit for some design matters less to me than being able to... ...('experience'?) a perfectly designed object. Not that open source software are essentially perfectly designed...you know what i mean.
     
  13. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks for those links by the way!
     
  14. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

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    This is surreal

    It looks like it's already been done! It seems to have been available since 2004 or 2005.

    It's been on Time Magazine and it was tested on Good Morning America.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=2930817.
    http://www.amazon.com/Senz-Stealth-Umbrella-Full-Length/dp/B0018BN6KG

    There are many aspects of this that I find confusing. I assumed that if anyone came up with such a design everybody would hear about it.
    But apparently I'm not the only one. Even Wall Street Journal (your link) haven't heard of it. How could that be?


    For all my 'open source' aspirations, I'm quite jealous of the designer.



    It seems to tick all the boxes except that it's handheld - but that is easy to fix.

    ======================
    What do you think of your own design in comparison?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  15. Cifo Day destroys the night, Registered Senior Member

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    Senz is one solution, and it works rather well and seems a bit pricey. You'd be amazed at how different people design different solutions.

    My solution actually turns into the wind, and it is simple, cheap, might be retrofitted to existing umbrellas, and has withstood at least 30-40 mph winds.
     
  16. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

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    Hmm, why not just sell your design if you're not bothered to patent?
     
  17. Cifo Day destroys the night, Registered Senior Member

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    I have a few designs of various things that I haven't patented. I'll send you the design.
     
  18. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    You have one year to apply for a patent on an invention after you publicly disclose it. So simply disclosing it on a forum like this wont necessarily bar you from getting a patent, unless you dally for a long time on filing the application.
    Both true...
    But I don't think this is true. I suspect you're thinking of trademarks, which you can indeed lose if you don't enforce them. As I recall you can lose your chance to enforce your patent rights against a particular infringer if you wait too long, but you don't lose the patent in general.
    They would give it at least a quick google if they couldn't find anything in the patent database. They would generally search for whatever specific features made the design unique (and therefor patentable). As for whether or not they find it, who knows...
     
  19. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    This looks stupid. I didn't see them point the open end into the wind. Anyone can hold a normal umbrella into the wind and it will survive as long as the spines are strong enough. It would survive the reverse as well if the spines were strong enough.
     
  20. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

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    They did a test in a wind tunnel (I can't find the clip anymore) where the umbrella has its open side to the wind, and it seemed to keep trying to return to an upright position as though that were its natural position, that fascinated me quite a bit.

    I'm annoyed though at how the clips on their website focus on the strength of the umbrella and forget that the main point is not getting the person wet. So demos in moderate winds would do. In gale force winds, the person will still definitely get wet so what's the point of that amount of strength? Only an idiot would keep their umbrella open in such a wind.

    Another thing I've realised is the central cylinder/handle needs as much of a redesign as it doesn't contribute to stability even in moderate winds - it's only there for portability and ease of folding up so I don't believe it deserves to dictate the rest of the design.

    The Senz led me to find other companies...here is one that is doing better. The design is simple too, I like it.

    http://gustbuster.com/index.html
    -I don't think the basic idea of a double canopy could be patented though (even if they claim it is patented) because double canopies already existed before apparently (never seen one though)

    Here's a site that sells them and doesn't make any high claims : http://www.boscovs.com/StoreFrontWeb/Product.bos?rch=Y&quantity=1&itemNumber=26897

    I don't understand what exactly about the GustBuster is patented - is the 'teardrop shape' of the vent patentable? I get the impression only the shoulder supports (in one product version) got a patent. But the CEO says everything is patented.

    A bigger Senz with some version of double canopy (but with many many more, and smaller, holes) modified to add Cifo's design (also lovely but can't post it here, maybe you can get him to PM it) would contribute to one that's easier to hold on to in moderate winds. I still think that handheld is not the way to go - but that part shouldn't be too hard to fix.

    It all looks so simple now, unfortunately the variety of patent holders means it's impossible to bring into reality.
     
  21. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

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    Edit: it's a very important consideration and does deserve to dictate the rest of the design. However it creates big problems too.
     
  22. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    The umbrella isn't supposed to be all purpose foul weather gear. It's intended for office workers or shoppers to protect their nice clothing from the car to the building. Compactness and convenience is more important than strength. For really windy and rainy weather you need something like this:

    Sou'wester
    The sou'wester hat is worn to repel water, and is usually made of a flexible waterproof material such as plastic or oilcloth; it often has a neckstrap to keep it from flying off in strong winds. It was traditionally worn by sailors off the North Atlantic coasts of Europe, the U.S. and Canada, and is distinguished by a wide brim that is especially long in the back for the purpose of protecting the neck from the elements.

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  23. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

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    I agree, there's no need for 'storm umbrellas' . A raincoat is enough but the hood needs just a slight modification / extension to keep water from hitting your face hard because that I really can't stand.
     
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