It is 2016 and we are about to have flying cars soon, it would about the time to start turning old non-smart objects to smart ones. How would one make a wall clock smarter, say by an epsilon?
For long I have played with the idea on turning the most mundane objects into something completely different – so when I saw ¢ 50 Ikea RUSCH wall clock, made from semi-transparent plastic I knew it would be an opportunity to add some oddball functionality there. Ikea tuning it is, lets start putting the steroids in.
A wall clock – what possibly could it need?
Going back one step, an essential question is: what is a clock anyways? Thinking way too deep, it can be seen as a visual entropy change demonstrator object that has totally missing zero point calibration (when exactly was time zero?). Also the speed these units run vary a to some extent thus requiring manual re-calibration as time passes.
So, maybe adding a time reference isn’t such a bad idea – just to see how good mechanism we have at hand. And at the same time we get to see if the idea of using light to display time in semi-analog way would be useful: During day and especially at night, wouldn’t it be great to have a light-based clock? Would it be easier to read at the time when cognitive capabilities are limited – as in: no symbols to be read – and furthermore, would it look cool?
I have internet connected micro controller that can fetch me NTP time, and a light strip. Starting by just getting time from network, and showing it with three light-based hands + four stationary dots to nail down the four quadrants of clock face. Resulting clock below:
Yes, this idea works. Also the Ikea clock is much more accurate than I expected. Now, one downside is that the LED pixel strip I chose is a bit too bright for use during night, as even with lowest brightness values it just provides a too much light.
<To be continued in part 2: More functionality in!>