Rain Activated Light Show In An Umbrella

In a decision we completely agree with, these industrious young women decided that playing in the rain would only be more fun if it included an interactive light show. They wanted the rain itself to cause LEDs in their umbrella to light up. To achieve this, they put piezo sensors on each of the 8 panels of the umbrella. When that panel gets hit, its LEDs light up. You can see in the video after the break that it was quite effective.

Their next step should be to somehow increase the resolution to be similar to this one, while maintaining interactivity with the rain. How would you sense rain drops with more definition though?

[via Adafruit]

Fake Christmas Tree Makes It Fake Snow

Let it snow inside your house this Christmas by building your own snow making tree. [Trey] was inspired by a snowing lamp-post he came across in a story. He looked around the house and came up with all the stuff necessary to make this happen with a Christmas tree. The snow is loose Styrofoam like you’d find in a bean bag chair. At the bottom of the tree there’s an inverted umbrella to collect the snowfall and funnel it into a blower salvaged from an inflatable Halloween yard ornament. The blower shoots the Styrofoam up through a PVC pipe, which also serves as the trunk of the fake tree, and it erupts from the top bringing Christmas cheer to an otherwise quiet room. See for yourself.

Blade Runner Umbrella Saber

Here’s a Blade Runner umbrella build that is done just a little bit too right. It delivers a double-dose of geekery with its lightsaber-gone-rain-protector look but where we think it crosses the line is at the built-in audio system. When you turn it on it plays recordings of popular lines from Blade Runner, something that might not fly in public. But the quality is in a different galaxy compared to the dollar store illuminated umbrella that we looked at last year.

[Erv’¬†Plecter]¬†replaced the central support rod for the umbrella with a clear polycarbonate tube. An optic cable snakes through the hollow tube, illuminated by a Luxeon LED in the handle. The custom PCB and 900 mAh battery are both housed there as well. Take a look at (and listen to) the demo after the break. We’ll need to add this to our future projects list right after that Lightsaber movie replica build.

Continue reading “Blade Runner Umbrella Saber”

Putting On A Show In The Rain

Let’s face it, walking around in the rain sucks. [Matth3w] is trying to add a little whimsy to an unpleasant experience by adding an LED matrix to his umbrella. The array contains 80 LEDs that are individually addressable. This is a mutiplexed array that relies on a MIC2981 source driver for the eight rows (or rings in this case), with the ten columns handled by the Arduino. The effect is quite nice as you can see in the video after the break. Now that he’s proven this works, you might want to etch your own PCB in order to get rid of the Arduino board and prototyping shield, making it easier to waterproof the control circuitry. This would make a nice addition to your illuminated umbrella stock.

Continue reading “Putting On A Show In The Rain”

Raid The Dollar Store For An Illuminated Umbrella

diy-illuminated-umbrella

Here’s a quick and easy illuminated umbrella that [Mikeasaurus] built. How’s this for economical? He found an umbrella that someone left on the bus, and used an LED flashlight and clear poncho from the dollar store for the rest of the parts.

The scavenged LED circuit board is the perfect diameter to fit inside the handle of his umbrella. He removed the middle LED and drilled a hole in the board for the shaft to pass through. Although not well detailed, we gather he managed to shoehorn two CR2032 3v batteries underneath the PCB to power the device. The poncho is wrapped around the shaft to diffuse the light. This is a clever solution as the flexible plastic still allows the telescoping shaft to collapse down to its most compact size.

[Mikasaurus’] umbrella doesn’t make noise or emulate the weather but it is a clever idea. The low difficulty level and availability of parts makes this a great project to do with the young ones who don’t get included in your more intricate hacks.

Spatialized Umbrella

umbrella-1

Reader [Joe Saavedra] sent in his latest project: the spatialized umbrella. The base of each umbrella rib features an LED, speaker, and distance sensor. These are connected to an ATMega168 microcontroller running the Arduino environment. The IR sensor triggers a rain drop sound based on proximity. Shorter distances mean more droplets are played. The sounds are generated using a lookup table and the digital pins. You can see the demo video embedded below.

Using the Arduino environment without the associated board is part of another idea that [Joe] is working on. The MapDuino Project uses the standard Arduino hardware for programming, but then transfers the chip to a more barebones circuit in target project. They based their initial work on the ITP breadboard Arduino. Continue reading “Spatialized Umbrella”