Pop-UP Clock… now in colour!

The Pop-Up Clock described in a recent post “Pop-Up Clock and Flipper Clock – Magnetic Digit Elements” is a work-in-progress proof of concept as I develop a full 4-digit clock (complete with flashing colon).

So far, the design displays the time on this single digit display in a sequential manner: two digits for the hour, then a dash (“-“) followed by two digits for the minutes.

Wishing to increase the illumination of the display and the contrast of the segments between ON and OFF (or IN and OUT) states, I made some changes. I added a strip of addressable WS2812 LEDs around the periphery of the display and blacked-out the rear of each segment so that little light passes into the HDPE when it is extended (OUT).  When retracted (IN), light from the LEDs shines into the elements and illuminates them.  In the software I reversed the direction of the segments so that when it is ON, it is retracted (IN).  Here’s a video that shows the effect.

This test shows considerable light bleed from the LED strip, and this shall be rectified when there is a fully enclosed baffle between the front plate and servo mount plate… In addition, I shall also increase the contrast of the segments with a better light seal.

As with many of my clocks, the accurate time is obtained from an NTP request to the US National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) atomic clock server, using an ESP8266 WeMost D1 Mini WiFi module.  WiFi channel access parameters, local time relative to GMT, daylight savings active, and duration between display updates (minutes) are entered on its web server and subsequently stored in EEPROM when the unit is powered on for the first time, or if it fails to connect to the local WiFi channel.

Oh yes, and just for Lise, the display its blue!


Pop-Up Clock and Flipper Clock – Magnetic Digit Elements

Season’s Greetings

It’s been a while since my last post, while I have been working on two new proof-of-concepts for some new clock displays. Both of these displays employ magnetic coupling – attraction and repulsion – to animate elements (segments / flippers) of a numeric display that will be incorporated into a clock.

The first is a single 7-segment digit for a new POP-UP CLOCK.

Pop-UP Clock: Single 7-segment Digit

And the second, for The FLIPPING TIME CLOCK -is a 3×3 flipper array for a digit that displays numbers 0-9 as “pips” on a domino.

Flipper Clock Digit: Showing 3×3 array of flippers used to display the numbers 0-9 like pips on a domino

Interested in reading how these elements work????

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TIME LOOP: Software issues and resolution

The TIME LOOP Clock is a small wall hanging clock that not only displays the time accurately, but also provides local times for the rise and setting of both the sun and moon. Good looking and functional too (just like its creator, ahem!)



However, after making several to give as gifts, I noticed a couple of strange problems – an occasional and random flickering of the LED ring, and what appeared to be incorrect real-time clock adjustments arising from erroneous timestamps from the NTP server.

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SPEEDY SIMON – The Memory Game in a Rush

Introducing SPEEDY SIMON, the sequence memory game that never slows down!

Yes… SPEEDY SIMON is what happens when you are stuffed up with a cold, feeling like crap, have a CNC machine, and some time on your hands (excuse the pun!) And no, this is not a clock!

Bright and colourful lights accompanied by musical notes for each button and melodies for game action make this a fun and fast game for solo or group play.

Speedy SImon

Speedy Simon: 120mm diameter enclosure sporting large illuminated buttons and a reset button

Based on the software that I wrote for the “SIMPLER SIMON” game, this memory sequence game takes no prisoners. The game play is fast and furious – each successful round increments the memory sequence by one and speeds up the display sequence.

You’ve got to be fast and alert to master this little puppy!  (it’s the cold medication, officer)

Speedy SImon

Speedy Simon: caught in the act between games (both yellow and blue buttons are illuminated)

Built into a 4 layer HDPE enclosure, SPEEDY SIMON sports 5 large illuminated buttons with an additional restart button in its centre. An Arduino Nano holds the software for game play while a a small switching regulator provides a stable 5V supply from any 6 – 9V DC “wall-wart”.

And like all good games, this is quick to learn, yet , hard to master!


TIME LOOP Clock: accuracy with celestial connections

Introducing the TIME LOOP Clock
Accurate local time with celestial connections

The TIME LOOP Clock provides automatic to-the-second time accuracy with a dynamic display that adjusts hues and brightness based on the real-time position of both the sun and moon.


TIME LOOP Clock: showing 1:45:44 PM in daylight hues


TIME LOOP Clock: beautifully coloured time display that dynamically adjusts based on the position of the sun and moon

Time Loop

Time Loop: moon rise and moon set

Time Loop

Time Loop: sunrise and sun set

Time Loop

Time Loop: time mode


TIME LOOP Clock: showing 10:13 PM in its night time hues. Note that the moon was not in the sky so the hues reflect this.


TIME LOOP Clock: showing 8:25 AM with its daytime hues. The brightness of the display is based on the current time relative to solar noon

The TIME LOOP Clock is a 182mm (7.2″) diameter wall-mounted clock that sports a ring of LEDs used to tell the time. Based on conventional analogue clock faces, hours are displayed as single fixed points of light, minutes fill or empty around the ring while a second ‘hand’ gently pulses and traverses the ring. The hues of the display automatically adjust based on the position of the sun and moon. During daylight hours, the brightness of the display adjusts based on the current time relative to solar noon while nighttime hues are chosen based on moon rise and moon set times.

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AURORA WAVE: Interactive light display

Introducing AURORA WAVE, another member of the interactive light display devices for the elderly and people with cognitive challenges. AURORA WAVE is a movement-activated light device that creates a wide range of beautifully animated and soothing light patterns that appear to emanate from its core.


AURORA WAVE: (left) shown alongside the CORONA WAVE product

AURORA WAVE: (left) shown alongside the CORONA WAVE product

AURORA WAVE: (right) shown with CORONA WAVE

AURORA WAVE (left) shown alongside the CORONA WAVE product

AURORA WAVE: (left) shown cycling through one of the 9 animated light patterns

Here are some comments from a practitioner using the AURORA WAVE with residents of a long-term care facility:

“Wow!  What a powerful glow from all the LEDs.  The glow reflects off the wall mirrors and provides enough light for the whole room.  I used the AURORA WAVE with three of my residents in the Snoezelen room.  These are some of my most challenging residents.  The residents have severe dementia and very low activity tolerance and/or participation.  They did not comprehend touching the surface.  Some have severe contractures in their arms or fingers.  We watched the AURORA WAVE cycle through the various modes on its own and I would bring it closer to their line of vision and change it myself.  I did hand-over-hand action for some.  The AURORA WAVE gives off heat in the middle which was a nice side effect as it helps in arthritic relief.”

Larger than its brother, CORONA WAVE, the AURORA WAVE is 144mm (5.7″) in diameter and creates its light patterns and animations using nearly 100 RGB (red, green, blue) LEDs arranged in 5 consecutive rings.

The AURORA WAVE incorporates a novel infra-red sensor underneath its top surface to allow the user to control the pattern animation speed and brightness without requiring any physical touch. In addition, without user interaction, the brightness of the display is slowly reduced and the animation advanced to the next light pattern. This automatic mode is particularly effective for clients who enjoy the stimulation of the light patterns but are not able to control or interact with the device.

Currently the AURORA WAVE is being trialed with residents of a long-term care facility to test its effectiveness and utility.

Please standby for more information…

SHAPE SHIFTER – A shapely game for the elderly

Introducing “SHAPE SHIFTER”, a tactile and visually stimulating shapes and colours game

SHAPE SHIFTER sports large shaped illuminated tactile buttons and a big illuminated display. The bright and vibrant colours and playful melodies make this an engaging game for all ages.

Shape Shifter

Shape Shifter

Aimed primarily at the elderly and people with cognitive challenges, the current version of the SHAPE SHIFTER sports five games – “Follow Me” (simple and blink), “Memory Pairs”, and “Memory Sequence” (slow and speedy). Similar to the SIMPLER SIMON, the games are accompanied by musical tones and melodies.

The games of the SHAPE SHIFTER are selected upon start-up by pressing one of the shaped buttons. The details of each game are as follows:

  1. TRIANGLE: “Follow Me (simple)” game encourages the player to press the randomly illuminated button. In this  simplest version of the game, the button to be pressed remains illuminated until pressed
  2. CROSS: “Follow Me (flash)” is a slightly more challenging variant of the game as it just flashes the colour that is to be pressed.
  3. CIRCLE: “Memory Pairs” game shows a sequence of two random buttons, that encourages the user to press the correct buttons in the same sequence.
  4. PLUS: “Memory Sequence (slow)” game encourages the player to replay a random sequence of illuminated buttons. After each successful replay, the sequence is repeated slowly and lengthened by one. This game repeats the sequence slowly allowing plenty of time for the user to see and hear each button of the sequence.
  5. SQUARE: “Memory Sequence (fast)” game is for more advanced Memory Sequence game players, as the speed of the sequence increases with the length of the sequence.

For each of the games, play is accompanied with button tones and action melodies that include initial start-up; game selection, level start, level completion, and player error.

The game to be played is selected after the power-up routine by pressing on one of the five shaped illuminated buttons.

Game play encourages the player to stay engaged through multiple modes of feedback. Successful completion of each game level is accompanied by a rousing melody and the length of the number of rounds in the level is incremented. In addition, the tone of each button is also raised one semitone to indicate that the player is playing a progressively harder round. Successful completion of 10 rounds advances the player to the next SHAPE SHIFTER game.

More images to come…