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Friday, September 13, 2013

Ideal for surfers, sailors and anyone else needing to make quick calculations of wind, this unique device is designed to plug into the headphone jack of an iPhone/selected Android phones and carries out quick measurements of wind speed.

Thanks guys from digital-meters.com for sending us this great product!

By the use of an accompanying App (available as a free download) the Vaavud smartphone wind meter is capable of measuring wind speed in various different measurements including m/s and km/s. The device is a cup anemometer and will spin in the presence of wind; the phone being used for measurement is then able to pick up on this rotation and convert the reading into a numerical figure and display the reading in realtime on a bargraph as well.

The precision of the windmeter is very impressive and is usually at ±4% or 0.2m/s. The unit has been calibrated in a professional wind tunnel in Denmark in order to ensure measurement accuracy.

The meter is currently compatible with iPhone 4, 4s and 5, iPad 2, 3, 4 and mini and is also compatible with Android-powered Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S2. More compatible devices are set to be added in the future.

Vaavud started out as a Kickstarter Project and successfully reached its £20,000 ($31,022) pledge goal with over 900 backers. The appeal has proven to be much broader than to the kite surfers, wind surfers and sailors Vaavud originally targeted.

Vaavud Wind Meter Key Features

- Durable, high quality mini cup anemometer

- Reacts easily to changes in wind speed

- Gain an accurate measurement using your phone

- Compatible with various device

- Uses App to display data in real time (complete with bargraph)

- Actual, mean and MAX wind speed measurements

- Easy to activate/deactivate. Simply tilt your phone vertically to measure, then tilt down to stop

Vaavud Wind Meter Review

Well who’d have thought your smartphone could be used to measure windspeed? These devices might be able to do everything from simulate lightsabers to direct us into the nearest pond via the use of a sat nav, but until now accurate measurement of wind speed have been all but impossible using a common smartphone.

That’s where Vaavud’s innovation, the smartphone wind meter, comes into play. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and Android devices, this tiny device is designed to plug directly into your phone/tablet’s headphone jack and works closely with a unique app to track measurements of wind over a time period.

Note: Vaavud lists that this device is currently compatible with the iphone 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, 3, 4 and mini and Samsung Galaxy S2, S3 and S4. It also states that new devices are added constantly and to visit vaavud.com/support to learn more about newly compatible devices. For the record I tried the device on my Sony Xperia S and found it incompatible at the moment, so it’s certainly worth checking before you buy one of these devices.

There’s no doubt that it’s certainly an intuitive piece of kit. Opening up the box for the first time reveals that this device is as simple as it gets – all that’s included is a cup anemometer device which plugs into the smartphone/tablet of your choice, a carrying case and a special connector made for use with the Samsung Galaxy S2.

The actual anemometer part of this kit, which is a cup anemometer, is fashioned from red plastic. What surprised me greatly is the actual quality of the plastic the unit is built with; while it would probably be easier for the company to produce devices that are made of cheaper, nastier and more brittle plastic, this unit is encased in thick, sturdy plastic that gives the smartphone wind meter an extremely robust feel. I even accidentally dropped it on my desk at one point and it still works perfectly fine, so that’s good news.

The unit works by utilising two magnets in the devices’ rotor. These generate a magnetic field that a smartphone can pick up and it process this data in order to translate the information into wind speed data. This device has been calibrated in a wind tunnel at the University of Denmark, so it should be pretty accurate in use.

In order to actually gain measurements the Vaavud smartphone wind meter requires the user to download an App from their applicable store. Once this is done all it takes is literally plugging the unit into your headphone jack; if your phone is compatible you’re then ready to start taking readings using this device.

The App itself is a very simplistic affair. It’s very nicely presented though and although some options aren’t immediately apparent, a bit of tinkering with the app lets you adjust such things as the reading type between different parameters such as km/s and m/s.

The main part of the app also includes a bargraph representation and numerical values that show the detected level of wind over a time period. The actual value of the reading is displayed and the app can also showcase average (mean) and MAX readings at the same time. It’s also possible to scroll quickly back through the graph to plot changes in the system.

What I think this particular section is lacking in is the ability to export the captured data. It’s handy to see it on a phone, but an option to export this information into PC would be greatly appreciated for logging purposes.

When I tested the device outside I found it easy to start gaining readings. The device is made for use facing the wind direction, so you’ll have to figure out which way the wind is blowing towards you in order to gain accurate measurements. In practice I found this to be surprisingly accurate; it’s not as accurate as using a professional-grade anemometer, but it’s certainly extremely impressive for what it is.

An extremely useful function of the app is the ability to switch off measurement mode simply by titling your phone down. It’s designed to work only when the phone is in a vertical position, so moving away from this position deactivates the capture mode of the device.

Response time on the device is almost instant. There’s no particularly noticeable delay once windpseed picks up and even slight revolutions of the anemometer produce a reading.

For a basic device used with a smartphone, the Vaavud wind meter is highly impressive. It’s simple, easy to use and a great tool for use by anyone needing to clarify outdoor wind direction and speed such as surfers, kite fliers or other people who rely on wind.

The VAAVUD wind meter is currently available on Vaavud.com and digital-meters.com

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