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Making a Mobile Weather Station from Your Umbrella


The umbrella prototype. A sensor measures raindrops hitting the umbrellas canvas, and transmits that data to a smartphone. Image credit: Rolf Hut / Delft University of Technology.

In the future, your umbrella will not only keep you dry from rain, but also help scientists measure rainfall. It would be possible if a sensor is installed for measurement of raindrops hitting the umbrellas canvas and then the data will be transmitted to a Smartphone.

Dr. Rolf Hut, from Netherlands’s Delft University of Technology has invented a prototype umbrella installed with a gauge which can be used for detection and measurement of raindrops hitting the canvas.

In Dr. Hut’s prototype umbrella, a piezo sensor is equipped under the canvas for measuring the vibrations caused by falling raindrops. And the sensor is wired with a mobile-phone Bluetooth earpiece, which can transmit the information collected into an app. The Smartphone then links all its data to a laptop through the cell network.

According to the experiments Dr. Hut made in his lab and back yard during a light shower, he have got some encouraging results, which have a reasonable correlation with a proper rain gauge he is using.

As Dr. Hut said, it was surprising to see that there are not so many rain gauges now than in previous years owing to high cost to maintain them. For those who were engaged in operational water management or major in the hydrology, it is not easy for them to be accessible to the data they used to. Actually, in the world, all the rain gauges were able to offer the real-time data in the area smaller than a soccer field.

It is hoped that the smart umbrellas would help solve this problem in the future. It could provide real-time information to scientists so as to enhance their capability in predicting urban flooding and taking necessary measures when the situation become serious.

Source: BBC