Just under a year ago, Japanese designer Ken Kawamoto took the Internet by storm when he unveiled his unique, weather-displaying Tempescope device at a trade show. It was just a prototype at the time, but the concept was so intriguing that it didn’t matter — his creation was a hit before it was even finished, and it spread like wildfire on the web. Now, roughly a year later, he’s finally worked out all the kinks and has brought Tempescope to Indiegogo to raise money for production.
If you missed the news when it first broke, here’s the deal. Tempescope is a tabletop gizmo that displays weather forecasts and current conditions by actually recreating them inside a sealed enclosure. If the forecast says it’s going to rain, it will rain inside the box. If it’s going to be cloudy or foggy, the enclosure will be filled with mist. The idea is that with the help of this realistic, always-on weather display, you won’t have to fire up an app to see what the weather’s going to be like tomorrow; you can just glance over at your Tempescope and instantly know what to expect.
Here’s how it works. Tempescope consists of a water pump, mist diffuser, a set of colored LEDs, and an Arduino microcontroller inside a clear acrylic box. By syncing wirelessly with a computer or mobile phone, the device can hook up to the Internet and grab hourly weather forecast data. The app then takes this data and plugs it into to the system’s various output devices. The LEDs will shift from red to blue to reflect the temperature, whereas the diffuser will fill the box with mist to match the level of cloud cover outside. If it happens to be raining, the pump will pull water from the lower reservoir and drip it down from the Tempescope’s ceiling. It can even recreate lightning during a storm.
To bring this creation out of the lab and into your living room, Kawamoto is hoping to raise $398,000 through his crowdfunding campaign. That’s a fairly high goal, but so far it looks like he’ll have no trouble reaching it. The campaign has already raised $125K and hasn’t even been live for a full day yet.
If you back the project now during the early stages, you can lock down a Tempescope for a pledge of just $200. If all goes according to plan, Kawamoto expects to begin shipping as early as April 2016.