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 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.