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Home / News / Vodafone Booster Brolly boosts your smartphone’s 3G signal

Vodafone Booster Brolly boosts your smartphone’s 3G signal

This brilliant prototype can charge your phone too – as long as there's enough sunshine around

This is exactly our kind of gadget: a handsewn umbrella with a battery, 12 silicon solar panels, a built-in 3G signal booster and an LED flashlight.

Where and when we’d use this contraption – the Vodafone Booster Brolly – is still up for debate. But anything that keeps us dry, picks up the smallest hint of sun peeping through British clouds and keeps our phone juiced up and connected definitely goes straight to the wish-they’d-release-it list.

For this is in fact a prototype so we’ll have to wait a little whole longer to attach our phone to the Brolly’s handle to get it charged via USB in less than three hours.

But University College London lecturer Dr Kenneth Tong is still beavering away on the tech-laden umbrella – with plans for improving the antenna, switching from brass to aluminium for the phone holder and building a Brolly-controlling app.

Vodafone is trialling the Booster Brolly as part of Vodafone VIP at festivals this summer, including the Isle of Wight Festival – we’ll be reporting all things festival gadgets from the front line so we’ll let you know if we get hit in the face with one.

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Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home