Weather information and forecasts are very important for everyday life all around the globe, allowing people to plan ahead their activities. Temperature and precipitation are extremely important to agriculture as well.
Additionally, this project would serve as a great hands-on tool for basic "practical meteorology" education.
The project would consist on three separate parts:
1. Develop inexpensive peripheral and software for basic weather observations (temperature, humidity and barometric pressure.)
The peripheral hardware would be based on a extremely cheap MCU (Micro Controller Unit) with a software based USB-stack to minimize the cost.
The MCU would interface with several sensor chips. There are relatively cheap thermometer and hygrometer chips available, and modestly prized barometers (air pressure) are also appearing on the market.
Plans for instrument casing, possibly incorporating a Stevenson screen, to shield instrument against precipitation and direct heat radiation from outside sources.
2. OLPC laptop driver development for the aforementioned peripheral hardware. This would facilitate the software development, since low-level hardware access will be invisible for the user-level software developers.
3. The software to log the weather observations and display them in a simple to read manner (graphs and/or meteograms). Simple trend-based weather forecasting model could be also made available. When Internet connection is available, weather forecast data could be downloaded from the Internet.
First version of USB pheripheral developed. Waiting for a OLPC development laptop to verify functionaly and write the kernel driver for OLPC.