The umbrella stand that knows if it's going to rain.
The umbrella stand that knows if it's going to rain. Read more
About this project
Raincheck is an umbrella stand that indicates the weather outside with subtle & pleasant lighting. Handcrafted from walnut wood, Raincheck is a beautiful addition to the home, with a dash of smarts.
Raincheck is connected wirelessly to your home WiFi network, and updates the lights every 15 minutes with the same incredibly accurate weather information that powers the DarkSky app.
One of the core driving goals of this product is changing where we consume information, keeping it lightweight and moving it to the place where it should be consumed. With connectivity to the internet, we can now think of product design with a completely new dimension -- they can, and should be, reinvented from the ground up. Why have a phone tell you that you need your umbrella when the stand can?
How it's Made
Raincheck is the result of countless hours on the drawing board, in the wood studio, in 3D modeling, and in code, to design the most pleasant and intuitive experience. The result is beautifully simple, with immense attention to detail.
The stand itself is handcrafted in New York from hand selected slabs of solid Black Walnut. Black Walnut is a favorite among wood workers and designers. Its dark brown color makes it a top selection when decorating, and the wood grain can have beautiful figure that is often sought after.
Both pieces are finished with Danish oil on the outside to help maintain their natural look and bring out the beauty in the grain. The inside has a coat of polyurethane to offer extra protection from the water. A strong rubber matting is also mounted to the base of the stand to protect the wood, weight the bottom, and give the umbrella a nice padded platform to drop into.
All the electronic components are soldered onto a tiny custom-designed & fabricated PCB board, and make use of the Particle Photon for easy-WiFi access. The end result leaves the smallest electronic footprint, hidden in the bottom of the stand.
The following are images from early, breadboarded prototypes to show the process.
Setting it Up
When your package arrives, download the free Raincheck iOS or Android app, and it will walk you through a quick and easy setup process that involves connecting Raincheck to your WiFi. You'll be up & running in no time!
All 8x10" matte weather photo prints come with a hand-signed "Thank You" from Nick Jonas.
This is a fairly conservative production schedule/timeline, and I will certainly ship early if I can! But for now, it's just in time for June Gloom ;)
Note that since these are handmade, the wood will not always look the same, but there is a high-standard involved in the wood selection. Most pieces will be chosen for a higher amount of heartwood (the inner, darker part of the tree), but there will likely be pieces with lighter tones from the sapwood (the outer, light-colored portion of a tree trunk).
Slight design improvements will be made with the lights between now and delivery, compared to what you see in the video above. A lot of testing is being done to make sure the right amount of light is exposed to your living room.
You need an Android (4.0 and up) or iOS (iOS 8.0 and up) smartphone to initially setup Raincheck.
It Takes a Village
This was the results of a ton of help from so many different disciplines along the way, so I would just like to take a moment to give many thanks to the following, this couldn't have happened with you: David Wisser, Jon Logan, Peter Qu, Jonathan Rowell, Jessica Lowe, Andre Szyszkowski, Margot Cavin, Robert Christ, Matt Delbridge, Caitlin Rosen, Rex Kalehoff, Kyle Hay, Justin Schunick, Zach Dunham & John Dimatos.
I want to give a special shout to my friend Paul Aaron - the original kernel of this idea came from his mind, and this certainly would not have happened without him.
Thank you for all your help & support!
Nick Jonas is a creative technologist at Google. He currently lives and plays in NYC, and is constantly looking for ways to redesign & improve everyday objects.
"Products that integrate technology should be beautiful and simple. My goal is to stay true to this. I have become very involved with marrying technology and natural materials, where the technology truly adds value to what used to be an ordinary object."
Risks and challenges
This is a handmade product, and if I reach my target goal it means a lot of nights and weekends in production, hand-soldering the electronics and milling, cutting, joining, sanding & finishing all the wood.
If the project gets *overfunded*, the challenges will have more to do production on a large scale: PCB fabrication, automated component assembly, 3rd party logistic companies, etc.
In any case, I am well prepared and will keep all backers updated every step of the way as new discoveries, challenges, and improvements arise!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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