The RainCloud Umbrella Minder is an umbrella stand that outsmarts the rain.
What is the “RainCloud?”
The RainCloud Umbrella Minder is a Wi-Fi enabled (via the LittleBits CloudBit) smart umbrella stand that illuminates when the forecast calls for rain. There are two versions of the RainCloud – the first version leveraged a custom forecasting python script and direct access to the CloudBit API. It is very customizable and can even ping your phone if you leave your house without your umbrella on a day when it’s going to rain. Several months after designing and releasing the first version, Popular Science Magazine asked me to write it up as a DIY project for their April 2015 issue. In the interest of keeping things simple, this version utilizes IFTTT.com to enable similar functionality without have to write a line of code. If you want to build a RainCloud, you can find the original instructions (for the more sophisticated version) here. That post also includes a very detailed description of how everything works, as well as instructions for how to 3D-print and assemble the stand. Instructions for the simpler instruction can be found on Popular Science’s website, here. Either way, you can find all the design files linked from the bottom of this page.
Here’s a video showing the RainCloud in action. LittleBits produced the video to show off how engineers like me can use Littlebits to prototype ideas very quickly:
Supporting Code and Designs
The RainCloud is released as entirely open source hardware and software. All materials are distributed under the GNU General Public (Open-Source) License. Please Attribute and Share-Alike. All files are hosted on GitHub. The software files on GitHub are only required for v1 of the RainCloud. V2 can be built and setup with IFTTT – no special software is required.
RainCloud in the News
- 07/23/2014 – “Prototyping with LittleBits – A Case Study with Jeremy Blum” on the LittleBits Blog
- 12/15/2014 – RainCloud project featured at RadioShack LittleBits Displays – Flyer Front & Back
- 03/17/2015 – “Build an Umbrella Stand that Outsmarts the Rain” in Popular Science Magazine