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LED Wall Sconces Conceal Hidden Weather Forecast

 |  |  |  |  |  |  March 18, 2013

At first, you might think what you’re looking at is just a cool illuminated wall sculpture. Well it is that, but it’s actually more. It’s actually a weather forecaster with a tangible user interface.


This interactive LED art was assembled by Instructables contributor and Parsons design student Adiel Fernandez. He built the wall unit using a set of three sconces found at CB2, rigged with a digitally-addressable LED scrip, cut into pieces that he placed into the sconces. His original concept was to simply rig the sconce with flickering LEDs to make them look like candles without the inconvenience of actual candles and flame, but ultimately ended up with a much more interactive pieces.

The wall sculpture is controlled by a small acrylic cube with icons on each side. Inside the cube is a gyroscope, accelerometer, XBee radio and lithium-polymer battery. Rotating the cube to face an icon upwards will switch the LEDs between 6 modes, described in the words of its creator as follows:

  • Power:  “The cube is normally off to save power and will not recognize any commands or orientation. By having the power icon facing up and shaking the cube, the cube is now awake, will pulse the inner light that shines through the icons, and will recognize which side is facing up to allow other modes to be accessed. By spinning the cube while its on and the power side is up, a fun rainbow display is turned on and off.”
  • Flame: “When the cube is on and the flame side is facing up, the lights in the sconces will glow and flicker like real candle flames (a little difficult to see in the video). By rotating the cube clockwise, the number of candles lit are incremented and likewise, rotating it counter clockwise decreases the number of lights lit.”
  • High Temperature: “Having this side face up while the cube is on will display the high temperature of the day in red light. The lights will display the first digit of the temperature on the left side by lighting up the number of lights equivalent to that digit. The lights then pause then display the second digit of the temperature on the right side. For example, if the temp. is 47 degrees (like in the video), the lights will show 4 lights on the left, pause, then display 7 lights on the right.”
  • Low Temperature: “Similar to the low temp side, this side will show the low temperature of the day in a cool cyan hue.”
  • Precipitation (snow/rain): “This will display the percent chance of precipitation similar to how the other temperatures are displayed in blue. Its a little difficult to tell the difference between the cyan and blue in the video but easier in person.”
  • Travel (plane around the world): “For a bit of whimsy, I decided to make the bottom of the cube display the temperature of some fantasy destination set by the user in green light. In this case it’s set to Honolulu, Hawaii, hopefully making it easier to bare the cold winter with hopes of a future vacation.”

Here’s a look at the controller cube in action:

And here’s a brief demo of the wall as it lights up:

At this point, the temperature data is hard-coded into the system, but Adiel plans to get it wired up to an internet data source soon. There aren’t too many more details on the build available, but you can see what there is over on Instructables.