Hacked 8-bit music umbrella rocks out as it rains

This is not your grandmother’s umbrella.

(Credit: Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET)

Pop quiz. You have 12 piezo sensors, Arduino Uno, two speakers, lots of wire, and plenty of duct tape. There is an umbrella nearby. What do you make? How about a musical umbrella that translates raindrops into song?

Two creative Germans, Alice Zappe and Julia Lager, built an umbrella that detects raindrops and interprets them as 8-bit music. This could turn a regular walk down the street into a personalized retro gaming adventure.

The project was designed for Music Hack Day in Amsterdam, a weekend full of music-related hacking projects.

The prototype umbrella is quaintly named “It’s raining bits.” I’m adding a mental “hallelujah” onto the end.

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According to a Wiki description of “It’s raining bits,” the most challenging part of the project was locating a watering can in Amsterdam.

Piezo sensors on the underside of the umbrella detect when a raindrop falls and then generate beeping 8-bit tones. Give it a full rain storm and you get some frantic musical tinkling that would sound right at home in an early Mario game.

The creators may have tested the umbrella prototype using a watering can, but they note it also works just fine with beer. Keep that in mind the next time your have a keg and an 8-bit music-playing umbrella together in the same place.

Take a peek under the hood.

(Credit: Alice Zappe)

(Via BBC News)

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