Last July, I unveiled the RainCloud Umbrella Minder. In a nutshell, this unique umbrella stand connects to the internet, checks the weather forecast, and lights up whenever you should bring your umbrella with you. Using a force sensor, and some simple interactions with your smartphone, it can also ping you if you leave home without your umbrella on a day when you might need it. The mechanical components are easily 3D printable, and the electronics consist of LittleBits modules (electronic bits that snap together with magnets). However, the software (until now) was fairly complex, requiring you to install some scripts on a personal server to handle the phone requests, and to run software that interfaced directly with the CloudBit via its API. The LittleBits CloudBit supports interactions with IFTTT, which can make it really easy to create actions based on the range of services available on IFTTT (like checking your email, reacting to the weather, etc). When I originally made this project, IFTTT didn’t have functionality to support taking an action based on today’s precipitation chances, and it also wasn’t possible to easily *keep* the LittleBits output in the “on” state. Both of those features are now available in IFTTT, so, you can now actually make this project without doing any programming at all! If you want to get pings on your phone, you’ll still want to follow some of my previous instructions.
Since we’re approaching the rainy season (at least in the UK and Ireland), Popular Science thought it would make sense to include the RainCloud in its April Issue. I wrote a piece for them explaining how to build this simpler version of the RainCloud Umbrella Minder. So, wanna learn how to build it? Pick up the April 2015 copy of Popular Science, or head to their website to get the instructions and parts list:
Supporting Code and Designs
V2 of The RainCloud does not require any software, but the 3D printed stand files can still be found on Thingiverse. The design files are released as entirely open source hardware under the GNU General Public (Open-Source) License. Please Attribute and Share-Alike.
Not sure how useful internet connectivity is for an umbrella stand, but it definitely opens a whole array of possibilities. It would be great to implement on a quadrotor which would then be controlled through an internet interface. ADXL345 Accelerometer