Many of us rely on our smartphone for weather forecasts. But what if there was a better way to know what was like outdoors without looking at your mobile device?

Instead of pulling out your phone to get your weather fix, you might soon be looking at a smart transparent weather box called the tempescope.

Tempescope with map

How Does It Work?

First seen at the CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies), Japan’s biggest tech show, the tempescope is a device that mimics realistic outdoor conditions. When the forecast calls for rain, you will see clouds and lightning. If it’s clear and sunny, you might not see anything but a light (indicating it’s literally a clear day). Sunset and sunrise are also included as a setting.

An Arduino board controls all the features of the gadget. Using water vapor and ultrasonics, the box recreates the weather in real-time, which looks better than those pixelated icons on your smartphone app. The box itself is a standard rectangular shell, with a minimal design. There is nothing protruding from it.

Is It Accurate?

For accurate readings, the tempescope connects to a weather service via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Essentially, this is how the device knows what to display. Individuals have the option to setup hour-by-hour or daily predictions. Ken Kawamoto, a Google engineer who has a deep fascination for art and weather, created the smart weather tool.

Tempescope with engineer

Do I Need This Device?

Absolutely. The tempescope is a great addition to any modern home or office. The company hopes to launch a Kickstarter funding campaign later this year to boost its mainstream efforts. Individuals who can’t wait can actually build one on their own through the Open Tempescope Project (warning: steep learning curve).

The one built by Kawamoto’s team is probably more polished and reliable, so it is definitely worth the wait.