As technology continues to advance at an astounding rate, the everyday objects we have grown more than accustomed to continue to be reinvented right before our very eyes.
From garments to accessories and even infrastructure within our homes, emerging technology offers us new ways to empower our lives, especially when it comes to the weather. The future is coming into focus and it's bigger and brighter than we imagined.
As millions flock to retailers for Black Friday deals, keep these futuristic weather gadgets in mind. They can help keep you and your loved ones informed and prepared for everyday weather events.
Wearables Can Make Receiving Weather Information Easier
A wave of wearable technology is beginning to enter the market, pushing the envelope with innovation to meet the needs of a wider audience.
The smartwatch field is widely contested, with such mobile leaders as the Moto 360, Samsung Galaxy Gear 5 and Sony SmartWatch 3 already throwing their hat into the ring. In 2015, Apple's highly anticipated debut into wearables will arrive with the Apple Watch.
Other wearable gadgets include fitness wristbands, such as Fitbits, and computerized glasses including Google Glass. However, no article of clothing seems to be off limits, with smart socks, hats and shirts also being developed.
Weather information is one of the most popular and essential forms of mobile content, which is why weather applications are commonly preinstalled on many mobile devices. Through the innovations and partnerships of handset manufactures and weather companies, such as AccuWeather, relevant and accurate weather information will continue to be delivered in unprecedented ways across a wide array of products.
Smartwatches, which are still largely tethered to smartphones because of their small screen size and more limited processing power, can offer a new avenue to receive timely and relevant weather information such as severe weather alerts.
"Having a watch on makes receiving and accessing information easier. You're elevating information that's important and immediate," said Ezra Nanes, senior director of Digital Media Product at AccuWeather. "We're learning about what kind of information people want to consume and presenting you with the right information at the right time is really important."
Nanes added that since wearables offer a new user experience, it's something developers continue to learn about to try to find the optimal user experience and find what is valuable to people.
Weather is extremely personal, so offering contextually relevant and fully-integrated weather information whenever and wherever people need it can improve their lives dramatically.
Wi-Fi Connected Sprinklers Can Conserve Water Based on Forecasts
Smarter technology is even changing how residents water their lawns and gardens.
Several companies have developed smart sprinkler systems that can automate your watering schedule based on the weather forecast and help conserve valuable water.
California-based ETWater recently partnered with AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions to utilize AccuWeather's localized weather data for its ‘hyper-local' smart irrigation and planning systems.
The system is a free web tool that will help individuals and businesses save water and money by creating optimized usage plans that minimizes wasteful water usage. This vital product can be used to address ongoing extreme drought conditions by allowing anyone to conserve water by calculating the minimum amount of water necessary to maintain the health and beauty of landscapes.
"The ability to pinpoint specific locations with latitude and longitude coordinates and to relate this back to historical and forecast information about the weather has proven to be a powerful differentiator for us," Lee M. Williams, senior vice president of product at ETwater, said in a release.
Smartwatches and smart sprinklers are just two examples of an ever-growing list of ways technology and weather can intersect. As more devices become internet-enabled, including smart cars, smart homes and our connected home appliances, there is no shortage of ways that we can get immediate access to weather information and use it to improve the decisions we make throughout the day.
Coming Soon: Invisible Umbrella Uses Air to Deflect Raindrops
A research and development team in Nanjing, China, has developed a prototype for an "Air Umbrella" that uses airflow as an invisible shield from the rain. The wand-like device will incorporate a lithium-ion battery that will power a motor, which powers the device's jet airflow.
The umbrella is expected to cover more than 3 feet in diameter and can cover more space if it's a lighter rain versus a heavier rain according to the team's Kickstarter page. The team expects that when two people are more than two shoulders apart, the umbrella will not blow rain onto another individual.
Support from the public has been enormous, as the team has received more than $100,000 from 825 backers through Kickstarter, after initially looking for only $10,000.
There are three versions of the umbrella being constructed: Umbrella A, a mini version meant to fit in bags, Umbrella B, the standard size and Umbrella C, a scalable version. Versions B and C will hold 30 minutes of battery life, while version A will have 15 minutes. However, the researchers said the battery will last longer under lighter rains as the umbrella automatically conserves power.
Only Umbrella B has undergone testing so far, but early results have proved successful. All tests were done under heavy rains, the group said on its Kickstarter page.
Currently the group's primary objective is to continue to work on the umbrella's appearance as well as the power display function and mobile power supply function. The team has worked on the design with the help of students Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
If all improvements to the device are completed smoothly, the group hopes that by next September the improved products will be shipped from the factory and into the hands of customers anywhere in the world by December 2015.