This tutorial will take you through the steps of building a smart umbrella stand.
This is one of our favorite raspberry pi projects. It uses a RaspberryPi Model B with the GrovePi expansion board from Dexter Industries along with their Ultrasonic sensor, Buzzer, and LED module. We’ll be using a custom Raspbian disk image for this project, running on the latest “jessie” build.
The goal of this tutorial is to demonstrate a working prototype and show you the steps needed to test and revise this design in order to refine and deploy a solution that’s right for you.
Recipe for this project
Computer: Lenovo T420 Windows 10
SD Card: Sandisk DHCD 8GB
Microprocessor: Raspberry Pi Model B Revision 2.0 (512MB)
VGA Adapter: Generic HDMI Input to VGA Adapter Converter For PC
Power Supply: Generic Powered USB 2 4-port HUB
Cables: USB Type-A / Micro-B; and USB Type-A / Type-B
Keyboard: Generic USB Keyboard
Mouse: Generic USB Mouse
WiFi Router: Generic WiFi Router
SD Formatter v4
Dexter Industries Modified “jessie”
Win32 Disk Imager 0.9
From idea to development
There are many steps in the development of a project from concept to deployment.
STEP I – Concept
It seems like I’m always running late in the morning and I never have time to check the weather. I rush out the door and never know if I’ll need an umbrella. So one of my raspberry pi projects I have been planning is to make a smart umbrella stand that will check the weather for me and notify me if it is going to rain.
STEP II – Design
Using a weather station API developer key, a python script will poll the weather station in my town and return a query result for the % chance of rain. If that result is outside my threshold of tolerance than a LED light will blink on the umbrella stand and give me an audio notification when I pass by, if I need to grab the umbrella before leaving the house.
STEP III – Prototype
This prototype uses the GrovePi expansion board from Dexter Industries to manage the RaspberryPi GPIO pins. I like using this expansion board because of it’s plug & play design and the modified Raspbian disk image from Dexter Industries that has a whole host of troubleshooting tools, which come in handy during the testing phase.
4) When the RaspberryPi boots the program should load.
5) Go test your creation on your favorite lamp.
Figure 3. RapberryPi and GrovePi GPIO Expansion board (combined)
STEP IV – Testing
I’ve hooked the project to my umbrella stand in the front hall for a practical test.
This project was one of the more interesting raspberry pi projects. It got into a level of connectivity and feedback that I want in an ordinarily dumb device. In this fast-paced world we can’t catch everything but if we have a smart umbrella stand, that will certainly help us stay dry.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please send me any modifications you’ve made to this project.