Most states have outlawed texting while driving, but little has been done about the more widespread offense of texting while walking. While no one’s devised a sensor yet to warn when you’re about to head bump a streetlamp (or a neighbor), a startup in Chicago is selling an umbrella that’s easier to hold upright while tapping out a message on your smartphone.
Named Brolly, the British term for umbrella, the company is selling an umbrella with four holes (a la brass knuckle rings, iPhone cases, knives, clutches, mugs, tasers, etc.) to loop your fingers through. The design frees up your thumb (for texting) and saves you from being handicapped by the curled fingers that would otherwise be gripping the slender stalk of a traditional umbrella.
(PHOTOS: Umbrellas Around the World)
The Brolly could come in handy even when you’re not fiddling around with your phone. Its unique grip “not only conforms to peoples’ hands to provide maximum comfort, but also includes finger holes to prevent the Brolly from flying away during blustery conditions,” according to the site. Selling for $19.95 at brollytime.com, the black umbrella comes with green, blue, or magenta grips, although it appears that green is the only color being sold online right now.
With Americans ages 18-29 sending and receiving an average of nearly 88 text messages per day, the Brolly could help them manage the influx without breaking stride. The rest of us, on the other hand, will have to be extra vigilant to avoid a head-on collision with the texting-while-walking crowd.