Monday, 02 Jul, 2012 Technology
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Latest Invention: Umbrella that Plays 8-bit Tones When Its Raining

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Two hackers who come from Berlin managed to come up with an umbrella that can generate random sequences of lo-fi 8-bit tones. Their invention was presented at the Music Hack Day festival that took pace in Amsterdam.

The umbrella produces tones after raindrops strike its outside surface. In short here's how it works: when raindrops fall on the umbrella's canopy, they are instantly converted to tones with the help of 12 piezo pickup sensors connected to the underside of the umbrella and which react to vibration.

Then the sensors are fed into an Arduino Uno (an economical and open source micro-controller). The latter is connected to two speakers.

So far there's no information on whether the umbrella will be launched onto the market. It is known, however, that its developers, Alice Zappe and Julia Lager, have plans of creating an improved version of the prototype in which everything will be sewn into the canopy.

It would be interesting to note that the Music Hack Day event for the first time took place in the London offices of U.K. newspaper The Guardian in 2009. Since then it managed to gain popularity in Berlin, Amsterdam, Boston, Stockholm, San Francisco, Barcelona, New York and Montreal.

[via the Music Hack Day website and BBC]

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