The desktop Tempescope mimics storms and lightning by flashing, dripping, and fogging.

To check tomorrow’s weather, you could open an app or turn on the local news. For something less boring, you could also consult a Tempescope, a caged atmosphere that simulates looming clouds, thunderstorms, and pouring rain.

Tokyo-based software engineer Ken Kawamoto dreamed up this strange artifact a couple years ago after visiting the Mariana Islands and thinking “how great it would be if he could just take the skies home with him,” according to a new Indiegogo campaign. His first prototype was crafted from shampoo bottles. With the help an LED, an ultrasonic diffuser, and water and air pumps, it could whip up sunrises and tiny storms on his bookshelf.

Soon after, Kawamoto and friends released open-source plans for hobbyists who wished to make their own Tempescopes. The schematics are thorough, but require significant cash and electronics skill. So now they’re taking it to the next level with an ambitious crowd-funding effort ($398,000!), hoping to ship simple-to-build, $199 kits all over the world by next spring. Here’s more from their campaign:

Introducing the tempescope… [a] physical display that reproduces various weather conditions according to the weather forecast. It’s like having a window that lets you look outside at tomorrow’s sky.

It can produce conditions like rain… clouds… lightning… and of course sunshine....

With a tempescope, you don't have to open an app to find out if it’s going to rain today—just take a glance as you leave the house!

The device syncs with your phone to model weather in your ‘hood or, if you have friends and family around the globe, the weather where they live. You can also set it to drip water or fill up with fog at your whim, as you zone out and pretend you’re a storm-making god. The current iteration mimics purple lightning, but not thunder, snow, or the almighty firenado—though Kawamoto and company promise to look into such things in a “few years.”

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of the Eiffel Tower with the words "Made for Sharing" projected on it
    Life

    How France Tries to Keep English Out of Public Life

    France has a long history of using official institutions to protect the French language from outside influence. Still, English keeps working its way in.

  2. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  3. Maps

    The Map That Made Los Angeles Make Sense

    For generations in Southern California, the Thomas Guide led drivers through the streets of Los Angeles. Now apps do that. Did something get lost along the way?

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. an illustration depicting a map of the Rio Grande river
    Maps

    Between Texas and Mexico, a Restless Border Defies the Map

    In El Paso, we call it the Rio Grande; our neighbors in Juárez know it as Río Bravo. It’s supposed to be a national border, but the river had its own ideas.

×