Update about the project - 02/01/16 :
Following the feedbacks I received after the presentation of my final project, I tried to figure how I could improve it rather than completing changing it and finding another idea, which I was first tempted to do. I wanted to created an every-day-object and for this reason, I found the clock to be interesting. My instructors told be I would be better if I tried to give to my object a real purpose, and preferably something related to the internet of things.
So I thought of weather forecasts.
I would find it really nice to have a wall clock that not only is a nice design object, by which is also useful in a way that it gives you information that you don’t have to search yourself on the Internet for. So this is how I would like to improve my clock :
It still works with LEDs to mark the hours, but instead of written hours, I would use simply segments of a circle placed at each hour’s spot. The minutes are marked by circle that spins mechanically, on which there is a indicator, that could be also a LED. This could be tricky because if I won’t be able to use wires so I will have to figure a way to power the LEDs wirelessly. So for the moment I consider this detail an option.
In the center of the clock, are displayed the date, and weather forecasts, which include :
- the weather it self represented either by Sun, Cloud, Rain or Snow
- the temperature
- the speed of the wind
Each forecasts are given for a particular day and time of day : morning, afternoon, evening
or « now » for real time.
- you can change the date with the - and + buttons
- you can change the time of the day with a selector switch
All these information are gathered using a weather API feed, like the Google API for example. In order to have a nice and clean visual aspect, I would like to use LED screen displays for the date, temperatures and wind. The surface of the clock would be made of a very thin wood panel in order to let the light from the LEDs pass through. The wind, temp., and weather symbols would be engraved in the wood and lit by LEDs as well.
I will call it "The Weather Clock"
Update about the project - 29/01/16 :
After I presentend my project to the instructors, they advised me to think of a way to give it a real purpose and improve it so that it becomes a smart devices, rather than a simple LED clock. An interesting suggestion from them was also to think a mechanical function that could be added. I have to keep in mind that the purpose of that final project is to use as much as we can every skill et technique that we will be learning during the Fab Academy. I began with a really simple idea at first because I did not want to be too complicated for a first digital fabrication project, but I am realizing now that I should not be afraid of being more ambitious and inventive !
During the first week of the Fab Academy, we were also asked to present our final project idea, detailing it as much as we could. The aim was to have a first idea, realistic and not too complex, that could afterwards be improved and modified throughout the classes, so that, in the end, it uses as much techniques learned during the assignments as possible.
My idea so far, is to build a design LED wooden clock, which particularity would be that the hours are represented by the actual words that match with each our (One, Two, etc.) and the minutes are represented by a circle. As the time goes by, the word representing the current hour is lit, and the circle representing the minutes fills itself following the current time as well. If it is 1:30 for example, le word One is lit, and the circle is 50% full. This circle could be made of 60 different LED’s, one for each minute. The clock is equipped with a bluetooth chip to make it easy to set the our and change the colors of the LED’s using a specific program.
An additional feature could be to also represent the second using a smaller circle with could be placed in the center of the clock.
I would like the LEDs to be RGB ones so that the color can change depending on different factors (not decided yet) or simply depending on the users’ mood. Here’s are (ugly) sketches of what could the LED clock look like :
This idea is actually an improvement of a simple mechanical clock that I’ve already build using medium density fiber and a laser cutter. For the mechanism, I used a quartz movement that I bout for a few euros on the internet. During a trip in New Zealand, I saw a clock a bit similar trough the window of a shop and I thought « hey I should try to make my own clock when I get back home! ». And that’s what I did.
Here’s the result (here the hands are missing but you get the picture) :
So for for the front of the LED clock, I’m thinking on using exactly the same design, except that the hours would be in english and I would add an outer circle to represent the minutes and remove the central hole initially used for the hands mechanism.
To go further, here’s a 2D simulation of what I had in mind as far as the design is concerned.
Materials I’m planning to use :
- MDF structure
- Maybe PMMA to create a screen between surface et LEDs
- Maybe alluminum for the outer circular edge of the clock
- RGB LEDs for display of hours and minutes
Possible additional features :
- LEDs can be turned off without de-activating the clock
- Color of the LEDs can be changed using a switch rather than using a bluetooth connection. Could be a thumbwheel
- A chronometer or timing device mode could be available