Abstract

Do you have loved ones overseas? Are you getting ready to travel? Regardless, it’s important to know the weather conditions around the world. Searching for individual cities around the world is often unnecessarily time-consuming and boring. Look no further because the Info-Globe will provide you with global information in no time. This interactive news map provides users with an easy way to see weather conditions in major cities across the globe. Just hover your hand over the major city you wish to see, and the Serial console will print out the current temperature in that city.

How We Did It

The schematic for the circuit is showed above. To put the photoresistors around the globe, we pulled the photoresistors off the breadboard and threaded them through a hole drilled in the globe. Wire extensions were soldered onto the ends of the photoresistors in order to still connect them to the circuit. The breadboard sat inside the globe, and seven thin wires were threaded through the base of the globe support to connect to the Arduino Uno outside of the globe.

Obstacles

The project started out such that it would print news headlines to an attached LCD screen. However, a number of major obstacles regarding website security, website API, and shield pin confliction caused us to make some pivots in our project planning. Initially, we had planned to use RSS feeds from an online news source to pull the major headlines of each country. However, we found that using the TextFinder library would require us to know the exact length of text that we want; since news headlines vary widely in length, this wouldn’t work. As a result, we decided to use JSON instead of XML. Before long, however, we found that to pull data from an https website would require us to set up separate servers and such to bypass the security. If we wanted to complete the project in time, we needed to use an http website. The TA’s suggested that we use Yahoo Weather instead, and we agreed-- a news globe was another idea that we had when brainstorming. This was working out perfectly-- the weather was printing to the Serial console and the hardware functioned properly. Once we began to write to the LCD screen though, the LCD screen flashed foreign symbols. Though we researched and read that the LCD and WiFi shields didn’t have conflicting pins, the WiFi shield seemed to be somehow messing with the LCD’s ability to print. So we took off the LCD screen and continued to fix up the code. Between Saturday and Sunday the weekend before the project was due, though, naturally, we ran into one last major issue: Yahoo decided to stop offering the news API. As a result, we were not able to demonstrate the fully functioning project during demo day.

Future

The concept of users getting global information simply by hovering their hand has a lot of potential for expansion, and can make life much easier for many people, especially frequent travellers. With more time, we could set up the external server to get news data. We could even add more photoresistors and larger-memory Arduinos to collect data from more cities/countries. If we wanted the globe to be able to be used in darker settings or settings with uneven distribution of light, we could even change the user interaction. We could set up lights along the globe so that hover detection is better. Or instead of using photoresistors, we could use temperature sensors to detect changes in warmth.

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