Hearing what the weather will be like

The alternative weather report

The Rainminder door mat is an Internet-of-things installation for people’s front halls. When users walk on it on a rainy day, every step sounds like a step in a puddle. That way, the door mat reminds them to take their umbrellas on their way out. On a sunny day, however, the mat remains silent.By focusing on sensual input and output as well as a playful approach, the Rainminder concept is a universal design solution that works irrespective of age – for children and adults alike.

Stepping into a “virtual” puddleAs soon as somebody steps on the sensor mat, the sensor’s resistance changes and a signal is sent to a connected Arduino board. The board interprets the data and concludes that the mat was stepped on. It then calls up the current weather forecast for the current location via openweathermap.org‘s API.
Whenever the weather forecast announces rain for the day, the connected loudspeakers play a randomized sound that sounds like stepping in a water puddle. To the user, this conveys the feeling of walking through puddles on a rainy day. The effect is all the more realistic because the sensor data of several mat regions is analyzed so that a sound accompanies every step on the mat. Moreover, the intensity of the step influences the sound’s characteristics.

In-house sensor development

The installation's first prototype was based on wooden panels equipped with pressure sensors that transmit changes in the resistance to a connected Arduino Yún Board. In following iterations, we replaced the bulky wooden panels with Velostat-based pressure sensors. The advantage of these sensors is the material's flexibility and the low installation height.

Sensual and multi-modal communication of informationAs a further development step, we are envisaging a multi-modal variant of the Rainminder that combines two senses: hearing and smelling. In addition to the puddle sounds that the door mat plays when it rains outside, it also emits the smell of rain that we create using a special fragrance (Geosmin).


Dr. Peter Klein, Henrik Rieß (PM), Martin Ecker, Martina Uhlig



Wilhelm-Bleyle-Straße 10
71636 Ludwigsburg