This smart umbrella stand lets you know the forecast


This doorway accessory lights up depending on the weather, helping you know when to use your umbrella.


Have you ever been in such a rush on the way out to work that you forgot to grab an umbrella? And then, just to make matters worse, the sky opens up as you walk the city sidewalks. There, you’re left soaking wet in the middle of a downpour with no cover in sight. Well, thanks to this ambient umbrella stand, that won’t happen again.

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Integrating the power of real-time data and connectivity into everyday objects has become a big trend in product development, more than ever before with the emergence of the Internet of Things — as demonstrated by one team of Makers’ recent project as part of a Penn Product Design class. Nimbus is a fully-functional stand that not only serves as home to your umbrellas, but can pull weather information via Wi-Fi and inform you of the day’s weather as well.

The stand is comprised of several RGB LEDs, a Wi-Fi module, an IR sensor and an Atmel based Arduino, all enclosed in waterproof housing. Nimbus boasts a dual-shell structure, in that all electrical components are kept clear from any wet umbrellas inside the inner case. While the inner case can easily be removed for cleaning, the outer shell can be stands a tad off the ground to allow for airflow through its holes. This enables the umbrella to dry much more efficiently.

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Nimbus uses different light motion to interpret future weather. When its embedded IR sensor detects a user approaching, colored LEDs mounted in between the pair of shells are powered, changing in color and hue. The case’s surfaces emits various patterns and sounds indicating how much and for how long it will rain, based on real-time data acquired from its wireless connection. Otherwise, the umbrella stand will remain on standby and update weather information without interruption.

Inspired to add some enchantment to another everyday object? Submit yours to element14 for a chance to win a trip to World Maker Faire 2015. In the meantime, you may also want to check out this ambient weather display or this lamp that alters color based on the weather.

 

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