Cunning chronograph combines concentric NeoPixel rings - Embedded.com

Cunning chronograph combines concentric NeoPixel rings

My chum Duane Benson just sent me an incredible clock based on a 60-element NeoPixel ring from Adafruit, the whole thing being powered by a custom circuit board he's created (see also my column Outrageously cool WS2812-NeoPixel-based clock).

Now, I need another hobby project like I need a hole in the head, but I'm a weak man, and Duane's creation looks so amazingly tasty that I simply couldn’t help myself. I've decided to create my own version of this clock, but mine is going to boast three concentric NeoPixel rings — a 12-element ring in the center; a 24-element ring in the middle, and a 60-element ring on the outside. I'm currently planning on mounting these behind a circle of translucent white glass, with everything being mounted inside an ebony-black triangular case with rounded corners.

My chum, Ivan Cowie, who has an office in the next bay, has decided to build his own version of the clock. We're going to compete against each other trying to outdo each other with regard to the sophistication of our lighting effects along with any additional features we decide to implement. (We've agreed to employ Arduino pins 4, 7, and 8 to drive the 60-, 24-, and 12-element rings, respectively; that way, we can easily run each other's code on our own creations.)

In order to get the jump on the Nefarious Cowie, I've decided to augment my clock with an amazing sound effects card called the WAV Trigger, which was created by Senior Disney Imagineer, Jamie Robertson (see also One Sound FX Card To Rule Them All ).

I've also decided to equip my clock with a super-sufficiency of sensors, such as this 9-DOF Module from Adafruit, where “DOF” stands for “degrees of freedom.” This little scamp boasts a 3-axis accelerometer that can tell you which direction is down towards the Earth (by measuring gravity) or how fast the board is accelerating in 3D space; a 3-axis magnetometer that can sense where the strongest magnetic force is coming from (generally used to detect magnetic north); and a 3-axis gyroscope that can be used to measure spin and twist.

Using data from this sensor, it will be possible to place the clock on any of its triangular faces, and for the display to automatically adjust to accommodate the selected orientation. Furthermore, I can use this sensor to detect if someone picks the clock up and how gentle or rough they are being, and I can use my sound effects card to say things like “Oi! Be careful!” or “Hey! Have you washed your hands?”

Obviously, I'll also want to use an ambient light sensor to dim the display at night and to brighten it if the ambient light becomes too excessive. Can you think of any other sensors and use-models I should consider?

6 thoughts on “Cunning chronograph combines concentric NeoPixel rings

  1. “Add a compass: Then, if you put it on its back, it becomes a compass.nOr how about the date, use the 24 element for the year being 2001-2024, the 60 element for the day, and the 12 element for the month. Use a proximity sensor (ultra-sonic) to detect if

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  2. “Oooh — I like that — put it on it's back and it becomes a compass — I'm going to do this and not tell the Cringing Cowie about it — then surprise him when he's least expecting it!!!”

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  3. “I think there may be a future version that includes a number of additional rings showing things like phases of the moon — but for this first one Ivan and I have agreed to stick with the original three 60, 24, and 12 rings”

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  4. “That would still give enough to provide the date, but it would be rather hard to decipher. Maybe you can let it speak :)nnI'd love to build one, but I don't have the time or the resources at the moment. :(“

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  5. “I know what you mean about resources — as an engineer turned writer I can say with feeling that some months are better than others (LOL) — but the flip side of this is that building these projects always ends up with me learning a bunch of stuff — plus

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