Thermometers are superb at measuring temperature but lousy at describing it. A bulb of mercury tells me it’s 55 degrees—but what’s 55 degrees? When was the last time I walked into a room and said, "This place feels exactly 55 degrees."
The Cryoscope Haptic Weathervane, created by Robb Godshaw of Syyn Labs, conveys the temperature by allowing you to experience it. Syncing with Wi-Fi to online weather reports, you can touch this aluminum cube to actually feel the outside temperature rather than simply reading about it through numbers or whimsical sunshine icons. "I sought to develop a device that conveyed the forecast in a manner which left nothing to the imagination," Godshaw tells us. "It provides a thorough and instantaneous understanding of what awaits the user outside."
Technically, the 4-inch milled aluminum cube is stuffed with quite a bit of hardware, including an Arduino that controls a Peltier element and a heat sink, which work in tandem to pump heat appropriately. After the first weather sync, it’s just a few minutes before the device comes to temperature.
But the best trick of the Cryoscope isn’t its ability to hit a perfect temperature, but its ability to hit the perfect perceived temperature. "Due to the ‘cold’ nature of metal, the temperature is adjusted to match human perceptions of hot and cold," writes Godshaw. For the cube to feel neutral on human skin, it’s set to an 85°F baseline. From there, the cube adjusts its temperature by the number of degrees the outside differs from 73°F room temperature. In other words, if it’s 60°F outside, the cube will technically cool to 72°F.
So the imperfect temperature ends up feeling perfect.
Currently, Godshaw is open to commercializing the proof of concept, but that hasn’t stopped him from considering improvements to the simplistic temperature-only design to include all aspects of weather. "A version of the device that could communicate precipitation or wind would be beneficial," writes Godshaw. "The addition of water would present numerous technical challenges. An Internet commenter suggested that a lightning feature should be added, where it gives the user a small shock. I do not plan to implement that feature."
And if I might add, the water mixed with lightning sounds especially dangerous.
[Hat Tip: Core77]