This Thermometer Lets You Actually Feel The Temp Outside

After decades of wearing the wrong coat, never again, I say!

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]

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13 Comments

  • guest

    If you are in Minnesota in the winter i doubt you need one of these, or even a window to know it is freakin cold as hell out

  • Cam

    Infinitely easier, cheaper, and less prone to technical glitches is a freaking window or a door. Open it. Voila. Weather. Seriously?

  • Matthew Stasoff

    Wow some people are very negative here. Nonetheless, I like the idea. It would be cool to have it beside my bed, so when I wake up in the morning, I could just feel it and KNOW how hot or cold it was.

  • Kashif Pasta

    This is a design blog! Of course not everything is going to be practical. As far as design goes this is really interesting, even if just for exploring different sensory methods for receiving information. Takes what we do for granted-- the unnatural transformation of how temperature feels into yet another number for us to read-- and turns it back into what it actually is: something you feel.

  • Philomen

    I like the design, but this has to have another purpose. I don't see the practical application of this to figure out the weather. 

  • Chuck

    Foolish. It won't work the way you think it might. Gauging the temperature of the air based on the temperature of some metal box won't work. They have very different specific heats, which your body will interpret differently. One can interpret air temperature from years of associative learning, when's the last time you felt your coffee cup and knew whether or not your coffee was 210º or 100º?

  • phuong

    ...perceived temperature. “Due to the ‘cold’ nature of metal, the temperature is adjusted to match human perceptions of hot and cold,”i think he covered this already.

  • Kerry Gingrich

    This might be as unnecessary and useless bit of stuff I've seen in ages. Who in God's name really needs this? If you're over 12 and don't know the difference between the weather channel stating it's 20F or 55F outside, you may as well just give up. 

  • Steven Jones

    A friend bought the full-featured model and came home to find his bathroom destroyed by a tiny hurricane.