Smart displays for homes aren’t a new idea — people have tried to make them with traditional displays, ones built into mirrors, screens that use E Ink, and more. But none of them are quite like the Weather Poster, a Kickstarter project from designer Oli Woods and his company, Typified. The project looks to merge traditional art (in this case, a screen-printed poster) with modern technology to create a smart display that’s more limited in function, but far nicer-looking and less obtrusive than just hanging a screen on your wall.
As the name implies, the Weather Poster does only one thing: it shows you the upcoming weather forecast for the day. It’s not a particularly detailed forecast — just a single icon of whether to expect rain, clouds, or sun at 8AM, 12PM, 4PM, and 8PM for that day — but the Weather Poster wins out by looking like the sort of thing you might actually want to hang in your home. The simplicity is part of the charm, at least for me — I can easily imagine hanging one in my apartment hallway as both interior design and a helpful guide for whether I should wear a coat.
Woods is doing some clever work on the technical side, too: as mentioned before, the screen is a traditional paper poster, which uses heat sensitive ink to “light up” the relevant icons using forecast data pulled from the internet. It’s a neat mix of analog and digital technology, even if you can just get that same forecast from your phone.
Of course, this is a Kickstarter project, and that means that there are caveats. First off is the price — the Weather Poster is available at an early bird price for $134, which is pretty expensive for a fairly limited forecast device like this (even if it does double as a nice poster). The poster is also the first product from a small, new company that has yet to ship anything, and the July 2019 date seems somewhat ambitious.
Lastly, the Weather Poster only gets free forecast data for two years: after that, you’ll have to pay $7.50 a year for the forecast information. It’s not a huge cost, but it does leave the concern that if Typified goes out of business you’ll be stuck with a fancy-looking poster that doesn’t do much at all.
Still, it does seem like a neat idea, and assuming it does work out, I’d be interested to see where else Typified takes its smart poster concept in the future — imagine a subway time poster that tells you when your train is coming, or some sort of paper-based smart clock.