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RainCheck Umbrella Stand — That Knows If It’s Going to Rain

Posted in IOT, and Technology

Raincheck, an umbrella stand that tells you when it’s going to rain. When you wake up in the morning, you want to check just the weather, but you end up diving into Facebook and Instagram and then you’re answering your boss’s e-mail in bed when you should still be waking up and not thinking about that.

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But a simple glance outside won’t offer the precision of Forecast.io, the weather API behind Raincheck (and the same data powering the popular Dark Sky app). Although Raincheck only shows data for the next eight hours, with each hour represented by a small LED, that was a deliberate decision made by Jonas (Creator of RainCheck) based on his own lifestyle.

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Those eight LEDs maintain a constant steady blue color when the weather is clear. If it’s supposed to rain, they blink. For snow, they turn white; for severe weather, red. But what if there’s only a slight chance of rain or snow? To trigger the blinking or white light, Forecast.io needs to return a 20 percent or higher probability of precipitation in that hour. “That was tweaked after using it for a few months during the winter, and realizing that you don’t really need an umbrella for zero to 20 percent,” Jonas says.

“The whole Internet of Things is obviously interesting, but I think the time we are at right now is the Geocities of Things.”

Raincheck relies on Particle Photon, a tiny, $19 Wi-Fi development kit that can connect objects to the Internet.  It’s an umbrella stand. It should be simple.

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All the aforementioned electronics are wired to a custom-fabricated PCB board alongside capacitors, resistors, fuses, a regulator and a level shifter, which are mounted to the base of the stand. Above them is another layer of wood and a half-inch layer of rubber matting to give the umbrellas some cushion and provide protection from any accumulating water. An internal coat of polyurethane is also added to preserve the wood, and the outside is finished in Danish oil. Watch the below Video.

 

 

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