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Nickname:?Clive Maxfield???? Articles(444)???? Visits(533028)???? Comments(79)???? Votes(236)???? RSS
There is so much amazingly cool "stuff" to see and do that I'm amazed I find the time to get any real work done. In my blog I will waffle on about the books I'm reading, the projects I'm building, and the weird and wonderful websites I blunder across. Please Email Me if you see anything you think will "tickle my fancy."
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Posted: 05:05:17 PM, 28/04/2015

Sensor-packed capriciously cunning chronograph

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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 Incredibly 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 couldnt 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.



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?


Dang, I just discovered that the Conniving Cowie has been looking at speech recognition shields. Apparently he wants to be able to verbally instruct his clock to change the time and/or effects. We cant let the rascally rascal get away with this sort of behavior. Have you had any experience with speech recognition shields? If so, are there any you would recommend?


Happily, I have another trick up my sleeve. I'm going to augment my capriciously cunning chronograph with a Simblee BLE Module. This will let me control the little beauty from my iPad, and it will also let me connect the clock into the cloud and the Internet, so the display can change color and effects based on the current weather in my area, for example. Ha! Let's see the Cringing Cowie top that!


How about you? Are you interested in taking part in our competition? If so, post a comment below, and I'll detail all of the parts you'll need to establish a base configuration.

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