“Stay dry while crossing the campus”:
TUMstudinews: How did you come across the idea of ??sharing umbrellas?
David Wei: The main topic of our project group at the Junge Akademie was “product life cycle”. Our focus was mainly on the aspect of sustainability. The “sharing economy” is becoming increasingly important, especially within large companies. We noticed that most of the sharing concepts are all about expensive things – such as cars.
So how come you focused on umbrellas?
We wanted to try a fairly cheap product, so that we would be able to implement the project. Apart from that, we were trying to find a product that people tend not to have at hand when needed.
How does it work?
The test phase will take place at Campus Garching. We will provide 200 umbrellas at a total number of seven locations such as the canteen and the subway station.
Does this mean that it will be free of charge and without registration?
Exactly. We also want to find out how the people accept the sharing project and how they treat the umbrellas, as everything is free of charge and since they don’t even have to give their name. Then, we want to compare our data to existing car-sharing data.
Do you think there will be many umbrellas missing in the end?
We expect that a few umbrellas will go missing – which is why we are planning to investigate the reasons. However, the umbrellas will all be bearing our logo, and we decided not to get pocket umbrellas for the same reason. Also, the umbrellas are equipped with a tracking system.
To avoid theft?
No. Again, the reason is that we want to get as many data as possible, so that we can investigate and find out where the individual umbrellas are located. We think that most of the users will comply with the system – especially once they were able to cross the campus without getting wet thanks to our sharing project.
When does the test phase in Garching start?
At the beginning of July. We are planning to follow through with the project until the end of the semester. Then, we will evaluate the data.
At the moment, the weather is not exactly ideal for your project. Are you hoping for more rain?
Haha! Yes, of course. But we are optimistic, since the weather can change quite suddenly here. After a month of fine weather, a bit of rain won’t hurt!
Could it soon be possible to borrow an umbrella in the pedestrian zone?
If the project is successful, it could of course be extended. We also considered whether the users could be able to contribute their own umbrellas to the project – and it could be extended to other objects that aren’t always readily available.
(Interview: Verena Pongratz)
David Wei (23) is from the Palatinate region. He moved to Munich to study at TUM. He is currently working on his Master’s degree in Physics and is planning to work towards his doctoral degree after that.