Researchers Want To Collect Rain Data Through Your Umbrella

A Dutch professor has unveiled a prototype of a "smart umbrella" that uses a sensor and Bluetooth to transmit data to a computer. Unlike expensive rain gauges, hundreds of these "mobile weather stations" could provide valuable measurements much more cheaply.

What's the Latest Development?


Delft University of Technology civil engineering professor Rolf Hut has come up with an ingenious and affordable way to measure rainfall: He attached a sensor and Bluetooth earpiece to the underside of a simple umbrella. When rain strikes the open umbrella, the sensor sends data to a smartphone app, which then transmits it to a computer. Hut recently demonstrated a prototype at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna.

What's the Big Idea?

Due largely to the cost of maintenance, the number of scientific rain gauges is dwindling, says NASA official Chris Kidd, who also presented at the general assembly. Although satellites and radar can measure rainfall using sophisticated technology, the best way to verify those findings is by using ground-level data. Hut's invention is just one of several creative approaches to the problem of collecting this information. Another far more low-tech solution, says Kidd, involves "paying farmers for the data, and to make sure the rain gauge keeps operating. [They] also get paid for the quality of the data. In this way, they are invested in the gauge."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at BBC News

Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Understand your own mind and goals via bullet journaling

Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.

Videos
  • Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
  • The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future.
  • One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
Keep reading Show less