Final Project Proposal – Faysal, Shino and Cathy

1. Concept

We wanted to work on a project that was practical, a device  that would be used on a daily basis. As a result, with all the sensors that we had access to, the idea of creating a little weather station came up. Weather applications and widgets are widely used and forecast the weather for a city, a region or a country. What about having access to the weather conditions just outside your house?

Looking outside the window was the first most intuitive action that one would do to check the weather conditions. Today our nifty mobile weather app definitely does the trick with more accuracy, but doesn’t convey the weather conditions just outside your door. Let’s face it, small collapsable umbrellas are practical but break after their 3rd use, large umbrellas are solid but cumbersome. So if was going to carry my big umbrella with me, it better rain!

That’s where our weather station comes in handy. By measuring the temperature, humidity, wind and light, the device will reflect the current outside conditions and display them along with the weather forecast retrieved from an internet source. By comparing the two “weather sources” we would have a pretty accurate idea of how our day will look like and plan accordingly.

Finally, the icons reflecting the weather (sun, clouds with rain, sun with clouds…) are somehow limiting. An ideal way to visualize the weather would be an animated abstract drawing that changes colors and shapes according to the sensor data. The details collected by the weather station will translate into intuitive shades of colors illustrating cold, warm, windy or rainy weather. Also with processing taking snapshots of these drawings during specific time intervals a timeline could be created and tweeted at the end of the day displaying the day’s weather.

Ideally the animated drawings along with the internet weather report would be projected onto a window making the user’s access to accurate weather as easy as looking out the window.

2. Approach

As hardware, we plan to create a small station that would be easily mounted on a vertical or horizontal surface enclosing the Arduino board along with the sensors. A battery would be attached to the board so that the station could power itself. Solid and water resistant materials will be used so that the device would withstand  the sever weather conditions. Sensors would collect the data and wirelessly feed it to processing via bluetooth.

As software, processing would take the data and assign a certain shape and color according to the different ranges provided by the sensors. It would also take a snapshot of the animated drawings every 2 hours or so to then consolidate them and tweet them as one image (the day weather report). Processing will also display in it’s sketch the weather forecast taken from an internet source  (like the weather channel or yahoo weather).

3.  Similar work/projects

4.  Material

  • Arduino Uno
  • Laptop
  • Light sensor
  • Humidity sensor
  • Temperature sensor
  • Wind sensor
  • Wireless connector (Xbee)
  • Battery
  • Wires
  • Resistors

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