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Prototyping "Tempescope", an ambient weather display

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(Everything below here is pretty old stuff.)

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.


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


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.
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

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.

17 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

    1. Hi, I updated the article with an Amazon link to the diffuser.
      The specific diffuser I used is from Denshi Trade:
      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.

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

  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

    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!


    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.

    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.


  4. what a fun project! What about snow?

  5. Hi, there, I saw your project last week and currently planning make a version myself.
    I have one question: Which power source should I use? Could you suggest me? I have a 24VDC 5A one, but not sure if it is enough power.

  6. hello i am from greece... sorry for my english isnt very good....

    i finished the project and the atel chip is programmed
    now from my ios i dont understand how install app.... or how work the tempescope

  7. このコメントは投稿者によって削除されました。

    1. Congratulations, great work!
      Looking forward to build one once you'll release the details.
      Does the Temposcope get weather forecasts from Internet or it uses internal humidity/temperature/pressure sensors?

  8. Great idea!! I like the concept of "Tempescope". And currently I am planning to make this project myself. Hope it will works :)

  9. Your work, my friend, enchanted me.

    I really liked this project, can I give you some suggestions?

    for the effect of the lightning you can create a low pressure chamber inside the glass and put small metal needles and let a small electric current ionize the air forming plasma filaments (just like the plasma globe) would look very good.

    and to represent the sun, you could place a small flame in the center of the device that would stay on hot, dry days.

    bringing the idea of ​​the four basic elements of antureza, you could put a small fan to form a small swirl with the mist and to put a layer of earth under the apparatus to absorb the water.

    already able to form the snow could have a cooling system of the fog to form a light frost. (I find it impossible and extremely expensive a technology that turns water into snow at room temperature)

    use the four elements to recreate micro climates.

    for example hot and dry, can design an induction heater and feed a small flame in the center or top. fire

    hot and humid would represent the earth, would be a fog with a few water-balls with aluz of the connected heater.

    cold and dry, air, would be the little wind connected with a faint fog.

    cold and humid, water, would be the rain with fog / frost.

    I hope my fanciful ideas may have been of benefit, hugging Brazil w_diaspereira@hotmail.com