Vaavud smartphone wind meter contains no electronics
By Ben Coxworth
March 21, 2013
While the average person may not care too much about the current wind speed, it’s very important to the likes of windsurfers, kitesurfers, and sailors. Although official monitoring stations do provide readings, those stations aren’t always particularly close to the locations where these people do their respective things. That’s why Copenhagen-based Vaavud has created its smartphone-paired wind meter, of the same name. Interestingly, the plug-in device itself contains no electronics.
The Vaavud plugs into the phone’s headphone jack, but that’s simply to hold it in place – it will work even if unplugged and held near the phone.
Instead of circuits or batteries, the device contains two small magnets. As the wind catches the device’s two cups and causes it to spin, the phone’s magnetic field detector detects the rotation of the magnets. The Vaavud app then utilizes algorithms ordinarily used for sound processing, to convert the speed of those rotations into a wind speed reading.
Users can then upload their readings to the Vaavud website, where they will be displayed on a map of the region, along with readings submitted by other users.
The setup has been tested and calibrated in the wind tunnel at The Technical University of Denmark. Because not all phones’ magnetic field detectors are exactly the same, however, it won’t necessarily work with any make or model. It does work with iPhones 4, 4S and 5, and with the Samsung Galaxy SII and SIII. According to the designers, the Galaxy compatibility means that it should work with any newer Android phone, but they still need to conduct more tests.
Vaavud (the company) is in the process of raising production funds on Kickstarter. A pledge of £20 (about US$30) will get you a wind meter of your own, when and if they’re ready to spin. Prospective buyers might also want to check out the Shaka smartphone wind meter – although its estimated retail price is $59.
More information is available in the Vaavud pitch video below.
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