Morning Songs

Description

Morning Songs is a weather forecaster using mechanically generated bird sounds to depict weather reports.

As a newcomer to Toronto, I was surprised of the erratic weather changes. A bright sunny morning will turn into a mighty rain and back to clear skies again. Since I don't watch TV, nor check my phone for weather forecasts, I needed a passive and calm way of knowing if I had to carry an umbrella or not.


Morning Songs is designed to sit in the user’s room, connect to the WI-FI and gather the information from a public weather API, prioritizing heavy weather as it’s more relevant for preparing for the day. The gathered data will then be translated into bird songs, generating a specific composition for that day's forecast and plays it upon the users wake up time. 


A button placed on the surface of Morning Songs functions as an on demand forecast when pressed.

User experience

Morning songs, is planned to be used as an alarm clock. In a quick morning routine the first effect of the songs is to deliver an audible notification that wakes up the user. The second effect is to passively inform the user of the state of the weather enabling him to prepare accordingly to the weather.

After the setup I would work unattended and remain as a silent object in the room. If another notification is needed later in the day, there is a button that allows to get the report on demand. 

Future Prediction


The casing depicts the solar system with the planets orbiting in gold with a black background inspired by esoteric prediction aesthetics. A single button is placed in Earth's position.  It implicitly tries to highlight the fact that we are now accustomed to use predictions of the future in weather reports, and we process them as facts. In past times this minor daily interaction would have been worthy of a wizard or an oracle.

Mechanism

Internal Mechanism


Morning Songs works by blowing air into a flute, while controlling its pitch with a servomotor.  As a result of the combination of these two controls, the device produces different sounds that are used to create each song.


Drilling holes in the box, to allow the sound to escape, didn't work as well as it was previously assumed. The wood was too thick and it made the flute nearly inaudible. The solution was to create a rhomboid hole next to the flutes window and put a cone redirecting the sound throughout the hole.


Iterations of different kind of materials for the bellow.

Weather Songs & Code


On the left of the weather API information about the next day's forecast.
On the right the information encoded for photon use.


Using a PHP code, allowed the amount of information that was needed to communicate to the Photon to one line, to be reduced. It iterates through the daily information, and generates groups of five while giving them weights. Snow sleet and rain are the most relevant data, so if a group has one of them it will be set as the output of that period.


Drilling holes for sound


Drilling holes in the box, to allow the sound to escape, didn't come to a good result. The wood was too thick and it made the flute nearly inaudible. The solution was to create a rhomboid hole next to the flutes window and put a cone redirecting the sound throughout the hole.

Future Iterations

For future iterations, I plan to add a knob, which would allow the user to set a time for alarm clock activation, gather user data from Google-calendar, and set the alarm prior according to the user’s schedule.

Using Format