Mimicking weather conditions with lights
May 12, 2020
We were very happy with our old office in Rotterdam South. There was only one little problem.. there weren’t any windows with a view of the outside world. We missed being able to look outside and see what the weather was like. We fixed that 💪
Where is the sun?
Our office is located in the middle of a large building, with a view on the interior of the building. This means that sunlight barely reaches our office. Sitting inside all day makes us unaware of what is going on outside.
We noticed that we really missed looking outside and especially to see what the current weather was. Therefore we wanted to mimic the weather conditions in our office and recreate the outside feeling.
Then there was light!
We looked at the existing technologies in our office that could show us what the current weather conditions were, without asking Google. We came to the realization that we could use the Philips Hue RGB lamps to mimic the weather conditions.
How do we know what the current weather is? By using a weather API that can tell us the weather condition, we change the Philips Hue lights to the corresponding condition. The weather conditions that were interesting to us were rainy, sunny and overcast. Because the weather changes all the time, we chose to run it on a Raspberry Pi. To change the color of the Philips Hue lights, the Raspberry Pi can communicate directly with the lamps via the Philips Hue Hub.
The result is that we can now interpret the weather based on the RGB lights in our office. As a side effect of the changing lights the office feels more dynamic, giving it a more outside-like feeling. We made a quick video to show what the different colors of the lights mean.
In the future we would like to use other technologies to improve the experience. For example, using a camera to stream video of what is going on outside in conjunction with the lights. However, technology cannot fully replace hearing soft rain ticking on a window and feeling warm sunlight on your face. So maybe we will just move to a better office in the future! 😊