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OurWeather is a connected open source weather kit that makes learning fun while curating curiosity and confidence in STEM principles.
OurWeather is a connected open source weather kit that makes learning fun while curating curiosity and confidence in STEM principles.
92 backers pledged $16,643 to help bring this project to life.
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OurWeather - Weather Kit for STEM Kids of all ages!

$16,643

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March 29, 2016 update: From one of our favorite backers-

"We have an almost 4 year old daughter and we are starting to introduce technology. We are combining my love of weather and my wife's IT background to explore weather together as a family. We are very excited about the possibilities OurWeather will bring for us to learn."  G.K.

Introduction

Working in technology has instilled in me a desire to expose my children to STEM activities whenever possible. As with most parents and teachers I want to give my children as many opportunities in life as possible. I want their curious spirit to ask questions and want to learn. Seeing science in action, exploring how things go together leads to an inquisitive nature without fear of the unknown. Learning about the weather around us is a great way to expose your child to applicable science.

We are offering this as a full kit (with ALL the parts!) as OurWeather or you can just get the very cool WeatherPlus board (which is a Makers Dream!)  See more on the SwitchDoc Labs Blog.

 The Learning Experience 

OurWeather, a connected weather station, provides many opportunities for learning different aspects of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math). Initially the children can put together different computer boards while learning about the different components on each. Lights on the board will show which part is working. Importantly, all of this may be assembled and disassembled; no soldering required. With the lesson plans included, even parents or teachers with minimal technology background can guide this experience with ease.

OurWeather will sense and record ten different environmental factors. In our focus groups the kids had fun with the different sensors, even before placing the sensors outside. Lessons on graphing and charting will be included.

OLED Display Showing Lots of Info!
OLED Display Showing Lots of Info!

Once fully assembled, there are more advanced lessons to be learned while connecting the project with the internet. This is an easy first-time exposure to software tools such as Scratch or Apple’s Swift Playground.

Kids and STEM 

According to the U.S. Department of Education, all STEM jobs in the U.S. will increase 14% from 2010-2020. Yet data shows that 3 million of those jobs will go unfilled by 2018. The U.S. ranks 25th in mathematics and 17th in science among industrialized nations. It is imperative that we fix this gap and start cultivating a continued joy in STEM in children before they hit high school. 

Research on STEM learning emphasizes the need to “capitalize on early interests, build on what they know, and provide opportunities to engage in the practices of science and mathematics to sustain their interest…students should learn to investigate questions about the world that they come across in daily life in much the same way that scientists and mathematicians do.” (Improving STEM Curriculum and instruction: Engaging Students and Raising Standards, successfulSTEMeducation.org) 

Let’s make careers in STEM exciting and appealing for more children, boys and girls.

OurWeather Donation Program 

Encouraging children to explore science is our end goal. Because of this, if we reach our goal of 100 units we will donate 10 additional units to schools. Three units will be designated for local Spokane, WA elementary schools. The other 7 will be sent to winning schools via a random drawing procedure. Please, support us by purchasing a unit, but, if you are unable to do that, please vote and have your friends vote for their elementary school of choice. Vote for your School here: 

http://info.switchdoc.com/OurWeather_school_donation

OurWeather Web Pages

OurWeather Page
OurWeather Page
OurWeather Administrative Page
OurWeather Administrative Page

What Comes in the OurWeather Kit?

The Full OurWeather Kit
The Full OurWeather Kit

The OurWeather Kit comes with all you see above.   It's a complete Weather System that works out of the box!

The Heart of OurWeather
The Heart of OurWeather

Stretch Goals

We strongly believe that this Kickstarter is going to be successful and we want to lay out our stretch goals at the beginning so all of our backers and fans can see the plans for OurWeather.

Stretch Goal #1 - $16,000

Stretch Goal #1 releases a new set of modules and sensors that allow OurWeather to monitor the local Air Quality. It works by looking at various particle counts and gas types and lets you know what is happening to your Air Quality.

Stretch Goal #2 - $20,000

Stretch Goal #2 will release a set of software libraries that allows your student to program the OurWeather system by using Apple's Swift Playgrounds.   Swift Playgrounds are designed to make programming more approachable and interactive to help students understand programming and get immediate feedback.  You can easily get data like the Temperature and Wind Speed from OurWeather in the Playground as well as graphing data and looking at trends. 

Stretch Goal #3 - $25,000

Stretch Goal #3 will release a set of software libraries that allows your student to program the OurWeather system by using Scratch! Scratch is a language designed to help elementary students learn to program in a very graphical environment. Imagine building your own animated thermometer powered by OurWeather!

Stretch Goal #4 - $30,000

Stretch Goal #4 brings a set of lesson plans for middle school teachers and home school teachers to use OurWeather to teach about weather concepts, graphing data and doing weather forecasting.   A set of 10 lessons that will entertain your students while teaching them important concepts about science and weather.

Stretch Goal #5 - $35,000

Stretch Goal #5 brings a whole new set of abilities for OurWeather.   This OurWeather module adds Solar Power and battery operation for OurWeather.  It adds SunAirPlus which collects all sorts of data you can use for your students to learn about Solar Power.  Now you can be totally off the grid and operate Green.  Of course, the OurWeather system will be watching how much power is being generated by the sun and reporting it back to you for your notebooks and experiments.   Learn how much power you can really generate from the sun on a cloudy day!  Includes lesson plans about what Solar Power is and how to use it to power your devices.

Stretch Goal #6 - $40,000

Stretch Goal #6 brings OurWeather into the Internet of Things (the IOT) by adding software modules that will allow the station to be shown to the world on CWOP, Twitter and even the WeatherUnderground.   Your personal Weather Station or your Schools Weather Station will be available around the world and can even Tweet your local weather to your followers.

Stretch Goal #7 - $45,000 

Stretch Goal #7 is SHOCKING!   Goal #7 brings Lightning Detection and Reporting to the OurWeather system.  You can detect lightning up to 20 miles away and measure how strong the bolts are!   You can even Tweet warnings to your followers telling them to stop Golfing!   Includes lesson plans all about Lightning!

Advanced Usage

OurWeather is designed to be accessable to a wide range of different ages and skill levels.  Out of the box, you can easily see and get weather information from OurWeather by the supplied web page and included OLED display.  Plug it in, and it works.   

For those who wish to dig in a little deeper and build software on Raspberry Pis to read information from OurWeather and use it in their own programs, we provide a REST interface.   Simple to use.   Let's say your OurWeather is located at the address of 192.168.1.134 (OurWeather will tell you what address it is at during startup after you have set it up).  For example:  http://192.168.1.134/OutdoorTemperature  will return:

{"OutdoorTemperature": 22.10, "id": "1", "name": "OurWeather", "connected": true}

Very cool.   Actually, 22.10 is in Celsius so it is a nice temperature.  72F.

All the weather information is available by similar calls.

We provide the source code up on github.com for OurWeather so you can modify it yourself for those who want to dig in even deeper.

Software Updates

OurWeather supports software updates OTA (Over the Air) so you can always go and grab our latest software off of www.SwitchDoc.com by using your OurWeatherAdmin.html web page.   You are never out of date with the latest and greatest!

Technology

OurWeather is based on a special board designed by SwitchDoc Labs called WeatherPlus.

WeatherPlus contains an ESP8266 processor (includes WiFi) and does not require an external computer to run.  If you want to program the WeatherPlus board, we supply all of the source code to allow you to do that.   The software for the board is written using the Arduino IDE with the ESP8266 libraries added.

OurWeather LEDs
OurWeather LEDs

There are lots of LEDs on the OurWeather Board to allow you to know what is going on.   The GPIO0 LED can be controlled by a simple call on the web (for example:  http://192.168.1.134/led?params=0) where the argument is 0 for GPIO0 LED off and 1 to turn it on.   Simple!   The other LEDs show if the board is plugged in and what is going on with the instruments.

However, you can display a lot more using the included OLED display.

Custom OLED Display for OurWeather
Custom OLED Display for OurWeather

You can put big numbers up on the display (and graphs too if you are clever!) and also show a lot of information at the same time.

OurWeather is a very open project that can be used many different ways.  It is not a sealed unit that can not be modified.   We embrace the open source model of software!

Conclusion

OurWeather is a super project for all different levels of children and adults.   You can get as far inside OurWeather as you like.   Stay on the outside of the software or dig in and modify the hardware and software.  It is up to you!

Risks and challenges

The primary risk in this board is that of schedule. This kickstarter can be viewed as a low risk project. We have the prototype hardware in house and working. The production runs will be released in a few weeks.

Our software for the OurWeather board is developed and is in testing. It will be released during the campaign, including the source code!

SwitchDoc Labs has already successfully completed four kickstarters in the last year and all rewards were substantially shipped on time. It's a great record and we don't want to do any less on this kickstarter.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    **WELCOME TO THE TEAM**

    Thank you. You will have helped make OurWeather a reality. Your name will be listed as a contributor on our website, and you’ll have access to our updates as we make a difference to the next generation of scientists!

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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    Personal thank you note from the OurWeather Team. Your name will be listed as a contributor on our website, and you’ll have access to our updates as we make a difference to the next generation of scientists!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    Makers Dream! One WeatherPlus Board with on board computer and full source code and documentation delivered to your door. A perfect base for your your custom Weather Station!

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    Limited 12 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    Makers Dream! Two (2) WeatherPlus Boards with on board computer and full source code and documentation delivered to your door. A perfect base for your your custom Weather Station!

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    Limited 4 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 140 or more About US$ 140

    A full OurWeather Kit at a discounted price for you early bird backers These include a kids “Weather Science is Cool” T-Shirt.

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    Limited 15 backers
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    Pledge US$ 180 or more About US$ 180

    Hackers Dream!

    A full OurWeather Kit plus a second WeatherPlus for your hacking pleasure. All the source code for OurWeather included!

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    Limited 8 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,200 or more About US$ 1,200

    School or Coding Club Ten Pack!

    10 full OurWeather Kits for your school or club!

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    OurWeather Team Teaching

    The OurWeather Team will come to your school and teach a 4 hour class on Weather. Includes 2 OurWeather Kits. Schedule anytime in the next 6 months.

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    Pledge US$ 110 or more About US$ 110

    Super Early Bird Backers!

    A full OurWeather Kit at a discounted price for you early bird backers.

    Plus these include a free Raspberry Pi Zero! First round delivery!

    Plus a 3D Printed Stand for your Weather Station!

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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    Pledge US$ 120 or more About US$ 120

    Early Bird Backers!

    A full OurWeather Kit in all of its full science goodness at a discounted price for you early bird backers. First round delivery!

    Plus a 3D Printed Stand for your Weather Station!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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    Pledge US$ 135 or more About US$ 135

    A full OurWeather Kit at a discounted price for you early bird backers These include a kids “Weather Science is Cool” T-Shirt.

    Plus a 3D Printed Stand for your Weather Station!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 25 backers
    $

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Funding period

- (30 days)