Rain Notifying Umbrella

Rain Notifying Umbrella

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A project completed in the Spring (2017) for Physical Computing Studio. I created an umbrella handle that would light up if it is raining, using a Raspberry Pi. 

The theme of this project was to turn an ordinary device into something connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). My personal goal was to create an umbrella that lights up when it is going to rain.

This project consists of multiple strings of LEDs that are connected to a Raspberry Pi. The LEDs were then encased in an acrylic umbrella handle. 

Implementation

I started the process by using an API from Underground to obtain the current precipitation in inches. I cut off the handle of a normal umbrella and modeled a similar handle in Rhinoceros. I laser cut the umbrella handle, then stacked and glued the sheets of acrylic together to create a clear umbrella handle. I coded the Raspberry Pi to constantly get weather updates and light the sets of 3 LEDs depending on the amount of precipitation that is falling from the sky. If all three sets of LEDs are lit, then it is raining more than 1 inch. If two sets of LEDs are lit, it is raining between 0.5 inches and 1 inch. If one set of LEDs are lit, it is raining below 0.5 inches. If no LEDs are lit, then it is not raining.

Outcomes

In the end, the umbrella handle worked properly. The only thing that really failed was that it was not raining on the day of my critique so I had to force the demonstration. I think I could have made it better and cleaner, maybe using a different material for the physical umbrella handle. Due to the placement of the Raspberry Pi and the hardware, I could not physically close the umbrella. Though, I do think it was successful in completing the base objective.