AFTER DECADES OF WEARING THE WRONG COAT, NEVER AGAIN, I SAY!
Thermometers are superb at measuring temperature but lousy at describing it. A bulb of mercury tells me it’s 55 degrees--but what’s 55 degrees? When was the last time I walked into a room and said,
“This place feels exactly 55 degrees.”
The Cryoscope Haptic Weathervane, created by Robb Godshaw of Syyn Labs, conveys the temperature by allowing you to experience it. Syncing with Wi-Fi to online weather reports, you can touch this aluminum cube to actually feel the outside temperature rather than simply reading about it through numbers or whimsical sunshine icons. Godshaw tells us.
“I sought to develop a device that conveyed the forecast in a manner which left nothing to the imagination. It provides a thorough and instantaneous understanding of what awaits the user outside.”
Technically, the 4-inch milled aluminum cube is stuffed with quite a bit of hardware, including an Arduino that controls a Peltier element and a heat sink, which work in tandem to pump heat appropriately. After the first weather sync, it’s just a few minutes before the device comes to temperature.
But the best trick of the Cryoscope isn’t its ability to hit a perfect temperature, but its ability to hit the perfect perceived temperature. Godshaw writes.
“Due to the ‘cold’ nature of metal, the temperature is adjusted to match human perceptions of hot and cold.”
For the cube to feel neutral on human skin, it’s set to an 85°F baseline. From there, the cube adjusts its temperature by the number of degrees the outside differs from 73°F room temperature. In other words, if it’s 60°F outside, the cube will technically cool to 72°F.
So the imperfect temperature ends up feeling perfect.
Currently, Godshaw is open to commercializing the proof of concept, but that hasn’t stopped him from considering improvements to the simplistic temperature-only design to include all aspects of weather. Godshaw writes.
“A version of the device that could communicate precipitation or wind would be beneficial. The addition of water would present numerous technical challenges. An Internet commenter suggested that a lightning feature should be added, where it gives the user a small shock. I do not plan to implement that feature.”
And if I might add, the water mixed with lightning sounds especially dangerous.
COMMENTARY: I never thought I would say this, but this is the worst design for a household temperature thermometer that I have seen in a long time. Steve Jobs designed the Apple cube idea too, and it didn't work. The ability to feel the perceived outside temperature by simply touching the cube is a novel idea, but I would like to know the actual temperature displayed on a digital display. How many individuals can tell the difference between 85 and 90 degrees fahrenheit, do you suppose? See my point?
If I want to feel the outside temperature, I go outside. I want to feel just how the temperature feels to the skin of my face. If it's too hot, I will know. I will instantly go into a sweat. The Cryoscope Haptic Weathervane just does not shake my world. I just don't think that this cube gives you the sensitivity of the outside temperature as it would feel on your face. For a blind individual who can't see a temperature reading, this might work wonders, but for normal people, this is not very practical. In my opinion the Cryoscope Haptic Weathervane is a dude.
Courtesy of an article dated February 13, 2012 appearingi n Fast Company Design