1The clever skylight that beams sunlight into any room
Let's be honest—in certain parts of the world, it can get pretty grim in winter. It would be awesome to have a lamp that just spread sunlight and blue skies all year round.
Well, luckily for us, that dream has now become a reality.
The CoeLux skylight beams sunshine into your room, regardless of the weather outside. Essentially just a light, but it's a very clever light. It mimics real sunlight by using a scientific method called Rayleigh scattering, which causes light particles to scatter.
If you install one, you better stay put for a while— at $61,000 The CoeLux doesn't come cheap.
2The real cloud that hovers inside a room
Believe it or not, the image above is NOT manipulated—that's a real cloud hovering inside a room. Artist Berndnaut Smilde merges art and science to create small man-made clouds that exist—albeit for just a moment—indoors.
Smilde starts out simply by using a fog machine to make the clouds, but he also carefully regulates the humidity and temperature of whatever room he's in. Even so, the clouds only exist for a few moments before dissipating. If you're not there at a precise time, then you only get to experience these brief scientific sculptures as photographs. Nevertheless, they are still pretty cool to see!
3The airport climate rooms that forcast where you're going
Imagine being able to step into a room and feel the biting cold of the Arctic or the humidity of New York's subway system. It would certainly help travelers trying to pack for a trip to a climate other than the one in which they live. Those flying out of Stockholm's Arlanda Airport may never have to wonder about the weather again, as the airport has developed a simulator called the Climate Portal.
The airport's press release states that the Climate Portal is a great way to get “a preview of your destination so that you remember to stock up on sunscreen, choose an extra pair of sunglasses or do some last-minute shopping for a really warm sweater.”
Visitors can walk into any one of three rooms: hot, cold, and big. The simulator uses live weather data to best match the conditions of the desired destination. The portal translates that data using wind generators and temperature controls, along with audio-visual cues to recreate everything from cityscapes to arid desserts. Certainly cooler than checking your phone for the same information, isn't it?
4The ordinary house and art installation where rain pours inside
In 2012, people in Sydney, Australia were lucky to have experienced "I Wish You Hadn't Asked" by installation artist James Dive.
The message of "I Wish You Hadn't Asked" is a dour one. The installation is a metaphor for "the moment in a relationship when something is said, or done that can't be taken back; then the rot sets in. Step inside this ordinary house where the rain pours inside its walls, slowly destroying the private world within."
Dive's work has appeared worldwide, from contemporary art shows in Miami to billboards in Iraq. His installations have included a melted ice-cream van ("Hot With The Chance Of A Late Storm"), which was hugely popular at Sydney's Sculpture by the Sea.
5The interactive light that brings a thunderstorm right into your house
There are cloud lamps, and then there's designer Richard Clarkson's interactive light that brings a mini thunderstorm right into your house. Shaped like a little storm cloud, the lamp plays sounds and flashes a Philips LED light to simulate a real thunderstorm. Bluetooth connectivity and a remote control also allow you to play your music through the device, should you wish to give your faux rainstorm a soundtrack (the "lightning" flashes to the beat of the music.)
Unfortunately, the Cloud doesn't come cheap. It'll set you back $3,360 USD (approx. £1,950), although you can get a lamp-only version for $960 (approx. £560).
6An art space that's in a state of perpetual downpour
When you first enter the Rain Room, you can't help but notice the tropical humidity and the sound from hundreds of gallons of water pouring from an artificial ceiling. After your eyes adjust to the darkness, you see a space that's in a state of perpetual downpour, but you don't get wet.
Thanks to eight motion sensors installed above the space, the water pouring from the ceiling avoids you as you move through the room. The designers at rAndom International aren't giving away too many details and argue that it's all part of the magic of this traveling art installation. We agree and encourage you to check out the installation if you can—its next stop is in Los Angeles on November 1, 2015.
7The waterfall swing that allows you to play between raindrops
Everyone loved to swing as a kid, but not too many of us liked to get rained on while doing it.
Enter the Waterfall Swing. Designed for the 2011 World Maker Faire in New York, it has since gone viral on YouTube and Tumblr. The installation was created by Mike O'Toole, Andrew Ratcliff, Ian Charnas and Andrew Witte of Dash 7 Design.
In the video below, two people swing back and forth, narrowly avoiding the “rain” when they pass through the wall of water, which parts to let them through.
273 solenoid valves are used to control the wall of water. A computer with sensors detects where the riders are in the air and at what speed they are going. It may not serve a real purpose, but the Waterfall Swing would definitely make a trip to the park more interesting!
8The device that imitates the weather outside and displays it inside a box
Want a mini rainstorm or foggy day in your apartment? Check out the Tempescope, a unique device that imitates the weather outside and displays it inside a box. It goes beyond telling the user what the weather is—the gadget can be programmed to both display current and future climatic conditions, and is accompanied with an app that connects it to the internet.
A Japanese startup is raising funds through Indiegogo for Tempescope, which is reportedly at the working prototype stage. Barring delays due to production issues or wireless certification, deliveries are expected to begin in April 2016. Pledges for the Tempescope can be made from its Indiegogo campaign page and start at $199 ($249 for a laser-engraved version). VAT and shipping are not included.
9The transparent phone that mimics the weather outside
"Everwhere you go, always take the weather with you." Neil and Tim Finn of Crowded House might have been onto something when they wrote those lyrics in 1992 because the ability to carry the weather in your pocket is finally here.
The Windows Weather Phone is just like any other phone in that it's able to perform a variety of features such as calling, texting, videos, music and others. But it has something a little extra—it can completely mimic weather outside. On a rainy day, the phone appears to be filled with raindrops. On a sunny day, it appears bright. Although not a particularly useful feature, it's enjoyable to experiment with.
The phone uses OLED technology—this allows it to be transparent without sacrificing technological power. The Windows Weather Phone has no buttons—all functions are controlled through the touch screen. It also allows for interaction with the actual weather. For example, you can write or draw a foggy screen, much like how you would on a misty window.
Although the Weather Phone is not yet available to the public, its sleek design and unique features hold the promise of a bright future.
10The giant mirrors that allow sunlight into a dark Norwegian town
Residents of a remote Norwegian village have finally gotten their first glimpse of winter sunlight, thanks to giant remote-controlled mirrors that reflect the sun's rays.
The tiny town of Rjukan is nestled deep in a valley between steep mountains and is characterized by dark, sunless days between September and March. Prior to the mirrors' arrival, residents had to catch a gondola to grab a few rays in the dark winter months. The founder of the town, industrialist Sam Eyde, had a cable car built in 1928 to take residents up the hill and into the sunlight, but came up with the idea for a sun mirror, or "solspeil," in 1913.
A full century later, three 183-square-foot mirrors placed in the mountains surrounding the small town reflect natural sunlight down onto the town square. Funded by a combination of public and private dollars, they're powered by solar and wind energy. They are remotely controlled by computers programmed to follow the sun's course across the sky and reflect it down into part of the town on the valley floor.
While much of Norway may be accustomed to sunless winters, Karin Ro, who runs Rjukan's tourism authority, says the little town about 93 miles west of Oslo can be a tough place to live. "People need sun. If people get it, they will be more healthy, and they will work better," she said.