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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