Taking the cunning chronograph's audio display to a new level - Embedded.com

Taking the cunning chronograph’s audio display to a new level

Last week I was visiting the UK to speak at the alumni reunion at my alma mater — Sheffield Hallam University. Of course, being in the UK gave me the opportunity to visit with my family and friends.

On Friday 13th (unlucky for some), my chum Steve Manley drove up from the south of England. This is growing into a bit of a tradition. A few of us hang out at my brother's house during the day; we meet up with a bigger crowd in the evening to quaff a few beers; and we regroup at 10:00 a.m. the following morning at the café in Millhouses Park to have a traditional English breakfast.

Like yours truly, Steve loves flashing lights. In fact, Steve is one of the competitors in our Cunning Chronograph Competition, so we both brought our latest and greatest incarnations to show off to each other.

Unlike myself, Steve actually created his own cabinet by turning it on his lathe (my enclosure was hand-crafted by my friend Bob, who is a master carpenter). Steve's also been a very busy bee with his 3D printer. In the image below, we see the insides of Steve's clock. In addition to 3D printing the base-plate and face-plate that hold and present the NeoPixel rings (the white disk in the middle of the clock is the back of the base-plate), Steve's also 3D printed holders for the four circuit boards he's using.


(Source: Embedded.com/Max Maxfield)

Steve used to be an aircraft fitter, which explains the neatness of his design. At first I thought he was using tiny cable ties in his wiring harness, but it turned out to be waxed dental floss tied in excruciatingly tiny knots.

The thing that amazes me is the fact that there are always so many different ways to do things. I've noticed this before when comparing digital functions I've created to implementations by other designers, and I certainly noticed it when I came to look at Steve's Chronograph.

In the case of the Audio Mode, for example, we both had the idea of experimenting with the three rings being static (i.e., their information being displayed in the same places); and we both also had the idea of rotating the information on the rings while it was being displayed, including having the rings rotating in different directions; but our actual realizations of how to present the audio spectrum data are very different. This video shows Steve demonstrating his audio modes.

Meanwhile, in the case of his Clock Mode, Steve started with the original color and display schemes created by Duane Benson way back in the mists of time, and then (as seen in this video) he added his own twist to everything. This is especially true when it comes to his Calendar Mode, which would never have struck me in a million years.

Contra wise, Steve was impressed with my audio mode, especially my use of antialiasing, which he can use in a number of his modes. The end result was that we exchanged our code with each other, and we are both looking forward to taking things to the next level. Watch this space for future updates…

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