Inventing the Temper-O-Meter, an IoT Marvel
Justin Sinichko, Former Hardware Developer
We made a giant mechanical weather chart straight out of Harry Potter and dubbed it “Ye Olde Future Temper-O-Meter”
We recently invented a one-of-a-kind installation that moves, illuminates, and constantly updates to show the predicted weather forecast for the next 15 hours at our different office locations (and more!). We call it “Ye Olde Future Temper-O-Meter," and it seriously rocks.
TL;DR; Here is a video showing how it works and how we made it:
From the beginning, we knew it was going to be a little bit Harry Potter, a little bit steampunk, and a little bit of what the boss would allow.
We envisioned a giant installation that could be mounted to the front of an old DJ booth leftover from our office’s past life as a… nightclub. We used a 5m LED strip to plot data and to control the position of those LEDs and then 3D-printed six custom gantries, stepper mounts, and screw-tension idler pulleys.
We wanted to control the position as well as the color of the LED strip, so we exposed an easy-to-interact with API. With it, we can do things like create light gradients, marching ants, breathing pixels, rainbows, and constrain those effects to left/right positions on the installation. This enables the installation to maintain light-effect fidelity even while the installation is physically changing shape. For example, we can display temperature gradients and overlay blue pixels marching left whenever precipitation is predicted for a certain time period.
Finally, we punched up the aesthetic with time-inspired pipes, signage, and a mobile app to interact with the chart. A smaller sign with a red arrow below the installation indicates if the current display is forecasting weather for one of the locations where Viget has an office.
It was a team effort raising the installation to its final resting place. Thankfully a few of us enjoy climbing the canyon and have plenty of rope handy at our desks for such occasions.