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TECHNOLOGY

Clever clothes pegs check the weather

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The pegs will not open if the digital barometer in the peg holder detects rain.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The frustration of hanging clean washing out to dry, only for it to pour down with rain soon after, may be over, thanks to weather-predicting pegs that tell you if your clothes will get wet.

Designed by Oliver MacCarthy, 22, the pegs were part of his final year project for his product design degree at Brunel University, in west London.

Each peg sits inside a peg holder, which is fitted with a digital barometer that checks pressure in the air every hour and is able to tell whether rain is on its way.

If the holder detects rain, it sends a small electric signal to a metallic plate inside the base of the holder.

Parts of the pegs have a metallic coating, which enables them to communicate with the electrical currents on the plate.

If the peg is removed from the holder and the holder predicts rain, the peg locks itself shut, preventing clothes from being hung out.

However, the pegs would not lock themselves shut if the forecast changed for the worse and they were already on the line, MacCarthy told CNN.

Two symbols on the outside of the holder, one that indicates "clear sky" and another that shows "rain," also help predict what will happen with the weather.

MacCarthy said he came up with the idea because he wanted to incorporate technology into a solution for an everyday problem.

"I wanted to take a fresh look at something that we all use regularly. I thought of clothes pegs because so often I'd hang washing out, only to take it in again five minutes later, absolutely soaked," he said.

"These intelligent clothes pegs are, I hope, a fun solution to an all too common problem. Never again will people have to worry about whether or not to hang their clothes out."

At the moment the weather-predicting pegs are not commercially available but MacCarthy said he hoped they one day would be, and believed there would be huge demand for such a product.

Design director of Brunel's School of Engineering and Design Paul Turnock said: "Oliver has very cleverly taken a well established consumer item and re-designed it to be an intelligent, user-friendly device that could be in our shops in tomorrow's hi-tech world."

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