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Cryoscope gives users a feel for tomorrow's weather

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February 5, 2012

The Cryoscope brings a haptic element to tomorrow's forecast by letting users feel tomorro...

The Cryoscope brings a haptic element to tomorrow's forecast by letting users feel tomorrow's expected air temperature

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Given that touch is generally the best way to determine how hot or cold something is - as long as it's not too hot or cold - Rob Godshaw has come up with a device that could provide a more immediately understandable representation of tomorrow's weather than the traditional abstract number coupled with simplified symbols seen on the nightly news. His invention is an aluminum cube called the Cryoscope that adds some haptic feedback to the daily weather forecast by letting users physically feel tomorrow's temperature - at least in their fingertips.

Godshaw, an Industrial design student at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and Associate Engineer at Syyn Labs, constructed the Cryoscope by encasing a thermoelectric Peltier element, heat sink and cooling fan inside an aluminum cube. The cube is connected via cable to an external power supply and Arduino controller that allows it to pull the forecasted temperature off the Internet, with users providing their location via a Web app.

Once it receives the forecasted temperature, heat is pumped in or out of the Cryscope until the surface reflects tomorrow's expected air temperature. The device takes into account humidity, wind chill and the properties of the aluminum material, with a neutral air temperature of 73°F (23°C) translating to a surface temperature of 85°F (29°C), which the skin perceives as neutral.

The Cryoscope's components

The aluminum shell contact surface has a temperature range of 0 to 100°F (-18 to 38°C) and there's also an LED on the underside of the device to give a visual representation of the device's current temperature - red for hot, blue for cold.

The Cryoscope is just a concept at this stage and there's no indication that Godshaw has any intentions to take it beyond that. But given the simplicity of its construction, you could probably whip one up yourself if you had half a mind to.

Below is a video from Godshaw describing his Cryoscope.

Source: Robb Me Blind via CNET

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
6 Comments

OK Great idea but I can't see the point of keeping that block at a certain temperature just in case someone happens to touch it... LCD displays are much more energy-efficient...

(Haven't seen [or used] one of those rainbow ribbon cables for years!)

agulesin
6th February, 2012 @ 04:22 am PST

The only problem with this device is that there's a difference between how air and metal feel, even if they're both the same temperature. Look at it this way: If it's 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside, that would feel fairly pleasant. But if you jump into a pool of water that's 70 degrees, it's going to feel a bit chilly. It has to do with how different materials transfer heat to or away from the skin.

Chuck Anziulewicz
6th February, 2012 @ 06:30 am PST

Yes, It should be USB. How much power does it draw? And, Chuck, I agree with you. Personally, I would not want one. As a source of potential amusement, I can just picture someone, not knowing how to turn it off, walking into the emergency room with one stuck to his tongue!

Bruce Williams
6th February, 2012 @ 09:51 am PST

... waste of power, and no doubt, costs double to cool or heat the room in which this hot or cold device sits... sheesh.

How about a light bulb that shows if its going to be sunny or cloudy tomorrow? Or a fog machine set to spew if its foggy or smoggy tomorrow?

Duh.

Matt Rings
6th February, 2012 @ 12:21 pm PST

No, this has educational value and gives us an idea what a particular temperature feels like. We simply live our lives reading temperatures, this has educational value.

Dawar Saify
7th February, 2012 @ 05:30 am PST

But does it get wet?

PatrikD
7th February, 2012 @ 11:37 am PST
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