What does a smart snow globe do?

It tells you if tomorrow's going to be a snow day!

Is it snowing tonight? Will you have the day off from school or work tomorrow? Put this snow globe next to your bed when you go to sleep to find out. Then when you wake up in the morning (or middle of the night) you can give the snow globe a shake and it will light up in a specific color to tell you whether you can stay home from work or not. If it's a snow day you can roll over and go right back to sleep without having to check your radio/phone/etc.

The snow globe checks the internet for a specific status message and changes color based on tomorrow's status. But you don't want a bright list flashing next to your bed all night, so the snow globe only lights up when you shake it (that's what snow globes are for)!

Where I live in Washington, DC, the federal government has a website advising employees when federal offices are closed due to weather. Many local schools and businesses follow this status as well. The snow globe checks this website to determine tomorrow's status.

The snow globe will light up using the same status colors as the federal government website:

Green = open for business

Yellow = delayed start (you get two extra hours to sleep in)

Red = closed (stay in bed as long as you want!)

Blue = snow globe is working but has received no status information from the internet

Read on to see how to make one.

NOTE: I'm a complete beginner at using Arduino - I only learned in the last month or so. And I'm new to electronics projects too and only a novice programmer too. So I can testify that this is a pretty easy project to do.

Step 1: Gather The Supplies

Since it was a few weeks after Christmas, I went to a local store and picked up a snow globe for $2.  You might have an old one sitting around.  I bought a snow globe that has a translucent stopper in the bottom to keep the liquid in, making it easy to shine a light up through it.  If your snow globe doesn't have a translucent stopper, you could drill a hole in the bottom and seal it with translucent hot glue, but this runs the risk of making your snow globe leak, so be careful!

For electronics I used Adafruit's Flora platform, which worked great.  It's nice and compact and makes the wiring very simple.

Overall supplies list:

1. Snow globe
2. Adafruit Flora platform
3. Adafruit Flora Accelerometer
4. Adafruit Smart NeoPixel RGB LED
5. Stainless steel conductive thread (or you can use wire and solder it)
6. Rubber cement
7. tape or glue
8. toothpick for applying the rubber cement
9. Dremel or other small rotary grinding tool
10. USB-mini cable for programming Flora
11. PC for programming and checking the internet for snow-day status
<p>I'm waiting for my products to be delivered and i was looking over the Arduino program and i tried varifying it and a lot of errors came up. I was wondering if when i connect the flora if the errors will be corrected?</p>
Hi Brookegb,<br>It doesn't have any errors on compile for me. Have you already followed Adafruit's directions for modifying your Arduino IDE to be Flora-compatible? It requires a couple changes and that might be the reason you're getting errors. Adafruit's got a guide to getting started w/ Flora that has info on how to change your IDE: http://learn.adafruit.com/getting-started-with-flora/ide-florafication The easiest solution overall is to just download their version of the Arduino and install that over the top of your current installation. I think that was what I did.<br><br>The program I posted also uses Adafruit's neopixel library for Arduino, and the IDE will probably give you an error if you try to access a library you don't have installed. You can get it here: https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_NeoPixel<br><br>Let me know if that doesn't help.
<p>I installed all the drivers and did a few of the tutorials. Even after confirming that it was not the Arduino platform or the flora there were still errors. </p>
<p>Hi Brookegb,</p><p>You're right, I just tried downloading the code from the instructables site and I got a bunch of weird java errors I haven't see before when i tried to open it in the arduino IDE. But then I downloaded a second copy and that one worked fine. So you might try downloading it again. I also looked at the actual text in the version that was giving me errors and it looked intact. So if you keep getting errors, you might try opening the .ino file in a text editor and copying the entire contents and pasting it into a new sketch in the arduino IDE. </p><p>Sorry this happened - let me know if either of those solutions fix it. If not, PM me the errors and I'll see if I can figure anything out.</p><p>Thanks!</p>
<p>This is AMAZING!</p><p>Now patent it and sell it! I would buy one of these! Use the sort of snow globe that has a hollow for a picture so we can all personalize it.</p><p>Right now I get such alerts on internet and by phone. The school sends out alerts at 5 a.m. !!! It is the most annoying B.S. ever that even when a big storm is about to hit and we all know it, they still only tell us at 5 am! If I had this I would turn off the cell phone the night before!!! I want too sleep in!!!</p>
Short, clear, and concise. I see endless possibilities for expansion, thanks for sharing !!!
<p>Snow Globes: They're not just for batting practice anymore!</p><p>Great Instructable! If I wasn't retired I might try making one.</p>
<p>I love this &amp; the kids are going to like it even more! I'm going to have my husband make one for me soon!!!</p>
<p>I can report that as of 5 minutes ago DC reported that it's having a snow day tomorrow and the smart snow globe changed color from green to red as expected! This project is now officially road tested!</p>
<p>Very cool idea! What about a little magnetic stirrer set up so it will actually snow when ever there is a snow day?</p>
How clever and practical! Thanks for such an awesome idea and ible
<p>Thank you - I appreciate the support. It's fun to learn and trying to explain it clearly to someone else is the best way to learn.</p>
<p>What a great idea. Thanks for sharing.</p>
<p>Thanks - it was a fun project to help me learn about using multicolor LEDs and an accelerometer.</p>
<p>So happy there's a useful snowglobe in the world now! Great project. :D</p>
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

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