Usually when it’s raining the only sound you hear from an umbrella is the reassuring pit-pat noise of water hitting nylon. But that’s a bit boring, isn’t it? How about if your canopy played you 8-bit sounds as well as keeping you dry? Two Berlin hackers, Alice Zappe and Julia Lager, have done just that by creating an 8-bit musical umbrella for Music Hack Day in Amsterdam.
Inside the umbrella they fitted 12 piezoelectric sensors connected to an Arduino microcontroller, which notes when each sensor is struck by a raindrop. As the raindrops strike the different sensors, they generate different bleepy sounds to create a lo-fi 8-bit symphony, like a Game Boy going nuts. So while you’re sheltering from the rain you can have an impromptu chiptune rave all by yourself.
Rather than just keeping it 8-bit, they’ve decided to expand the musical horizons of the umbrella and are working on a new version that will include the sounds of a piano, guitar, drums, and bells. Let’s hope they make them available to the public—then we can all be, ahem, singin’ in the rain.