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Whatever the day may bring

Everybody responds to weather differently and often they need a variety of tools and items to make the most of their day. There are times when missing one thing can make your whole day go sour. What if there was a way to ensure that you would be given exactly what you personally needed at the beginning of every day? What if your daily routine was customized by you, for you?

 
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A box with a brain

Weather Mate, an Arduino based device, was created so that you will never be unprepared again (at least for the daily weather). Pulling the forecast from the web, Weather Mate decides what you need before you venture out into the day.

 
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Baby Steps and Blinking Lights 

It may not look like much, but this was one of the biggest breakthroughs we had while working on the project. On the hardware side, it is a simple LED, but that is not what is important. The true magic behind what is happening here is that we were able to get the Arduino to read instructions via a serial connection. Down the road, this would enable Arduino to read the daily weather report and react accordingly.

 
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How it Knows

A large part of this project was solving one simple question…. How do we tell an Arduino that it is going to rain? Our final solution utilized a number of applications to do just this. It started with an online service called, “If This Than That” which took the daily weather report and passed it along to a Dropbox account in the form of a text file. Though file automation software, this text document was renamed and placed in a specific location so that Processing (a programing application similar to Java) would be able to read and interpret the weather forecast. Once interpreted, Processing would send these instructions via serial port to WeatherMate

 

Nothing but lasers

This project was an opportunity for us to experiment with materials and building techniques. Thanks to the School of Art at the University of Washington, we had access to a laser cutter. After creating CAD files (an Autodesk application), we were able to precisely cut our cherry wood panels in such a way that their teeth would lock together.

 

From conceptual to physical

Pondering the conceptual is something that we all do and enjoy, but there is nothing quite like getting one's hands dirty and making something. During this project, a main focus of mine was taking our ideas and turn them into something physical. With bundles of cables, odds and ends and Arduino, we tinkered to no end to make this happen.

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Spring 2013

 

With Mason Catt