Storm Glass Lamp: Raspberry Pi Simulates a Storm

Several people have used the versatile single board computer, the Raspberry Pi or RBPi, as many types of educational devices. In fact, the original purpose of conceiving the RBPi was to use it as an educational instrument to further computer programming among children in schools. It has been serving this purpose excellently, and has managed to go even farther. For instance, the RBPi inspired someone to make a weather-simulation lamp for recreating the weather at any place in the world.

The RBPi within the Storm Glass lamp uses the API Weather Underground for accessing current and future predicted weather at any place in the world. At first glance, one may be rather skeptic about the project, especially when the current weather can be gleaned simply by looking out of the window. However, perception soon dawns when explained that the project is actually able to predict weather—observing tomorrow’s weather today. Alternately, it is possible to keep track of the weather in a distant location, say, a prospective holiday destination.

The designer created the cap and base for the lamp by 3-D printing them. The glass sitting in between the two actually belongs to that fancy mineral water bottle readily available in the supermarkets, which people casually overlook and are forever unable to justify buying. The base also holds the RBPi, a microphone, a speaker, and other varied components such as a NeoPixel LED Ring and a Speaker Bonnet from Adafruit.

The Storm Glass lamp uses two important arrangements. One of them is the rain maker and the other the cloud generator. The rain maker uses a tiny centrifugal pump working at 5 VDC to pump water via glass tubing into the lid, from where the rain falls. An ultrasonic diffusor/humidifier, also working at 5 VDC, forms the cloud generator. Only the electronics parts of the diffusor, which create the ultrasonic signal, are necessary, and the rest can be discarded. All the equipment goes in together into one spectacular lamp.

By installing Alexa Voice Service within the Storm Glass lamp, and setting it up to use the Weather Underground API to receive data related to weather conditions in a specified place, these conditions are easily recreated within the lamp, functioning as a home automation device.

When taken outdoors, and placed on a nightstand, the Storm Glass can actually recreated he weather conditions outside. It gives a weather forecast for the day by checking the weather periodically online. For instance, if the prediction for the day is rainy, expect some rain to fall within the Storm Glass Lamp. If the predicted says partly cloudy, you will see clouds forming inside, with some sunshine interspersed.

An RBPiZW powers the project, as it needs both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. Apart from the Speaker Bonnet, mini water pump, and the ultrasonic diffuser, there is a NeoPixel 12-LED ring, a 2.5 A micro USB power supply, 8 GB micro SD Card, two TIP 120 transistors and two 2K2 resistors. Additionally, you will also need tubing for moving water, lots of hot glue, and the 3-D printed parts to hold all the above together. All the parts operate at 5 VDC, so there is no additional converter, and the RBPIZW controls everything.