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High-Tech Umbrella Follows the Sun

Monday, August 28, 2017

Home-tech aficionados who already have robotic dog toys, smart salt shakers, and wireless turntables, here’s your next big product: A solar-powered, 7 sq. ft. umbrella that rotates and tilts as the sun moves across the sky.

The ShadeCraft Sunflower solves a problem you didn’t even know you had. Instead of having to laboriously move your $29.99 Target umbrella to stay in the shade all day, the Sunflower uses multiple sensors to tract the sun and automatically adjust its shade. These same sensors also detect the umbrella’s surroundings and obstructions, and the Sunflower will close if wind speeds get too high.

Solar panels and three electric motors allow the umbrella to rotate 360 degrees and tilt up to 45 degrees, and reserve batteries store additional electric charge if it gets cloudy. The Sunflower is also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled, and integrated cameras provide security through video or still images. Built-in speakers round out the amenities, because what’s a day at the pool without some sweet summer jams.

The whole thing is run by the SmartShade app – of course – and ShadeCraft is currently targeting homeowners looking for a bit of luxurious home tech to add to their backyard. The Los Angeles-based company also told Bloomberg earlier this year that they plan to eventually expand to commercial buyers like hotels.

The idea is similar to the Austrian-made Smartflower, a solar panel system that’s also shaped like a sunflower. But whereas the Smartflower is a plug-and-play system that can power your house, the ShadeCraft Sunflower powers a day of lounging by the pool.

Each Sunflower umbrella costs about $2,700.

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