Thursday, 19 March 2009

What was/is the weatherbot? Part 1

A few people have, quite sensibly, inquired into what exactly was the weatherbot, so here, in a series of glib and inaccurate simplistic generalisations is what we thought we’d do, what we ended up doing, and what we might like to try I the future:

We thought we’d make a system that would move around a large map drawn on the floor, identify locations on that map, check the state of the weather in the real world location correlating to the map location, and display the state of the weather on an LED array, by means of symbols (probably a lot like the BBC weather symbols). The weather state for the marked locations was to be maintained from data drawn from web sources automatically- RSS feeds being the obvious choice.

We thought this would be good for a few reasons-

  • It’s probably doable with little low power micro controller boards like arduinos, and we fancy playing with them.

  • It wizzes around and looks cool, so enthusing kids etc.

  • It potentially gets web data so builds on the Backstage Mashup thing.

  • It gives us a lot of base elements to build on in the future.

  • We get a big map of the whole UK, giving a message of inclusiveness.

  • We can let kids drive the robot, which get’s them involved (this later turned out to be not so good an idea.

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