List of Projects:
1Click飲みRomoCartTempescope色色[:iroiro]Other Projects

2012年11月15日木曜日

Prototyping "Tempescope", an ambient weather display

(Updated 2013/5/5: A new opensourced version of Tempescope is available here: http://tempescope.com !!!)



The Objective

Finding out tomorrow's weather forecast usually involves actively searching on the web, waiting on the news channel, or resorting to widgets.
How great would it be if this was as easy as looking outside the window?
This thought led me to build Tempescope, a physical display that can reproduce (and ambiently notify) weather conditions, inside your room.
Tempescope fits snuggly in your bookeshelf.

The Prototype

After several weekends' work, I ended up with this prototype which can simulate four weather conditions: rain, clouds, sunshine, and lightning.
It can also reproduce various colours of the sky, giving visual cues for the time of day.

Clouds
Lightning
Sunrise!
Rain

The device is controlled by an Arduino, which interfaces with a PC via USB or Bluetooth.
There are currently two modes of operation, both of which run as PC programs:
"World Weather" mode interface
© OpenStreetMap contributors
"Tomorrow's weather"- which animates tomorrow's weather forecast, and
"World weather"- which reproduces the current weather of any location in the world.

While the former is what I originally intended to make, the latter may be what makes Tempescope interesting, and really worth working on in the future.
One can view the device as containing a teleported slice of a remote world, a little Barbados in your room.
It paves a way for all sorts of applications, some nostalgic (e.g have a slice of your hometown in your office), and some practical (e.g watching out for your loved ones halfway across the globe).

There are many extensions that I could make on the device, including snow, wind, real lightning, and showing land features.
I'd be grateful for opinions, or suggestions for uses.

Some References

There are several past projects/ideas I believe I'd been inspired by:
    • A light stand that changes colour according to tomorrow's weather lookouts.
    • An aluminium cube that reproduces the temperature outside, giving a haptic feedback for the weather.
  • Bonsai
    • A 1000 year old example of having "a piece of wild nature in your room".


The Making

Mechanics

Weather conditions are reproduced by using 2 pumps, an ultrasound diffuser, and an LED:
  • rain- the water pump pushes water from the lower chamber to the upper chamber, allowing water to fall through holes drilled at the bottom of the chamber.
  • cloud- the ultrasound diffuser in the lower chamber turns on, creating mist.  An external air pump pushes air (and mist) up from the lower chamber into the cylinder stage.
  • lightning- the full-color LED is turned on at random intervals
  • sunlight- the full-color LED changes colour from off to red to blueish white, depending on the time of day.
Electronics
The electronics involved is not very much: an Arduino Uno controlling 3 SSRs and a full-color LED.
There is also attached an SD card, which allows animation sequences to be saved and replayed without a PC.


Arduino and 3xSSRs
AC electronics (moderately) safely packaged
The final product
















Here's the list of hardware used:

  • Ultrasonic Diffuser (Denshi Trade) ¥3,500=$43 


  • Water pump e-ROKA PF-381 (Gex) ¥1000=$12 


  • Air pump Ei (Kotobuki) ¥1000=$12



Software
Arduino side: also not very much, though saving+loading from SD card takes some work

PC side:
Both modes of operation ("Tomorrow's weather" and "World weather") are based on data acquired from Wunderground's API.
This API allows requesting the current weather, or forecasted weather from global coordinates.
Both apps have been written as a Java application, but really anything would suffice.

Again, I'd be grateful for feedback.
Ken
@kenkawakenkenke
2012/11/15

8 件のコメント:

  1. That's great, I wnat to do it myself too!
    Do you know where I can find the ultrasonic diffuser?
    Thank you

    返信削除
    返信
    1. Hi, I updated the article with an Amazon link to the diffuser.
      The specific diffuser I used is from Denshi Trade:
      http://www.denshi-trade.co.jp/ct/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2010
      I don't know if they sell overseas, but I'm sure there are manufactures overseas that make similar products.
      The easiest way to get hold of one may be to buy one of those aromatic diffusers and rip it apart- they usually have a similar piezo transducer on board.
      ken

      削除
  2. you should post on instructables, here is a link: http://www.instructables.com/

    返信削除
  3. I think your work is amazing :-)
    I'm thinking of making one myself, using the ethernet shield for arduino to communicate directly to underground and a LCD to show the forecast timestamp.
    I also had an idea for snow, this stuff: http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/79ea/?cpg=cj&ref=&CJURL=&CJID=1215086

    返信削除
    返信
    1. Thank you Robin.
      Absolutely delighted that you're thinking of building one yourself!
      Regarding snow, I've considered that option too, but I'm doubtful that fake snow will fall in a way similar to real snow (it'll look great after it's fallen, but it'll probably *thud* down during its fall)

      I'm currently building an open source "distributable" version, which should allow people to build one for themselves.
      I'd be very interested to know what you make, so please keep in touch and update me!

      cheers,
      Ken

      削除
    2. Hi there, I'm in Italy and we like to build it for our museum of geophysics of Rocca di Papa (Rome, Italy, http://museoroccadipapa.ingv.it/).

      Did you build an open source "distributable" version, which should allow people to build one for themselves?

      I'd be very interested to know what you make, so please keep in touch and update me at paglyuca@gmail.com

      cheers, N.

      削除
    3. Thanks Nikos, I emailed you.
      To summarize, I have built the opensource version, and I'll release it as soon as I can fix some minor problems.

      cheers.
      ken

      削除
  4. what a fun project! What about snow?

    返信削除