Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wi-Fi Umbrella Forcasts the Weather

I have not posted much here lately. I am still hoping to look at some economic issues in more depth soon, including but not limited to some homework questions and left wing economic theories.

But for now:
Yanko Design, Form Follows Function:
A model for appropriate embedded technology, the Forecast umbrella provides information about the likelihood of rain so that users can make a simple, informed decision about whether to take their umbrella with them as they leave their home. Using existing WiFi technology to wirelessly pull information from the internet, Forecast's lighted umbrella handle glows more intensely with the increased chance of precipitation offering a clear and unobtrusive signal to the user.

I love this idea although I doubt I would use it. And it still requires weather forcasters to get it right! With the ability to locate the position of the umbrella at all times could prove valuable by having more precision on the chance of precipitation in that gerneral location.

Many other devices are predicted to be on the internet also in the future. As in refrigerators that know when it is time to get more milk or eggs and even order them possibly.

Now this got me to thinking. If it was handy for an umbrella to get information about the weather (although limited in information content) then what information could it provide back to a central computer?

The first bit of information could be whether it is being moved (ready for use) and whether it is open or not. This would give the central computer a basis for what expectations are based on locations that would be determined by the cell towers. The second piece of information would be precipitation/humidity. With the two maps you now have a good idea of what the expectations are and what the actual weather is in real time. It would be easy to "see" the weather. And then the last step would be to feed this information back to a web site or even back to the umbrella handle.

It could be said that why bother with umbrellas when it could be just as easily put sensors around town. But the sensors are only needed to be deployed when it rains and this would show density of how decisions are made on an individual basis. In essence it would be a group decision making process.

Original location: materious