Midterm proposal – Horizon clock

Introduction

I have been taking into consideration what other things I use to keep time besides the clock and the dominant HOUR : MINUTE : SECOND pattern which have been a constant since as far as I can remember. I wanted to stray away from the sense of being precise, a rather lazy and non-invasive way of letting you know what part of the day it is. After having recently moved from a (almost) windowless basement apartment to a third floor of a brightly illuminated window blessed building, I have come to appreciate the quiet and magnificent horizon which covers encapsulates New York.

The colors in the sky and on it’s edges give me a sense of whether I should get into a certain mood, do a certain activity, or start preparing myself mentally for the next stage of the day. I particularly find sunsets here enjoyable. Note: New York is particularly well known for it’s amazing sunsets. There’s even a New Yorker article about it here.

The Idea

In any case: The horizon. The horizon and it’s transient nature led towards working with light to portray a somewhat similar effect. I want a device that indicates with LEDs what time of the day it is using the colors in the horizon. This device is meant to be hung on the wall… Specifically, the lights would be pointed towards the wall, as to give a sensation of a “sky” inside a space. It is meant to be placed somewhere without an abundance of light. It would look something like this:

Ideally, the the user will input the device’s longitude and latitude through some on-board interface in order to determine the time-based lighting patterns. If necessary (if time is abundant?), the device will be able to connect through WiFi to update the location data. These requests would be handled by a NodeJS and express based server through an API, and later processed using the suncalc library in NodeJS to send back to the microcontroller on-board.

Initial Sketches

Notebook sketch 01
Notebook sketch 01
Notebook sketch 02
Notebook sketch 02
Notebook sketch 03
Notebook sketch 03 – Describes the light emerging above the device

Shape

I have still not settled for the shape of the clock. Though It definitely will be either circular, as a ring, or somewhat linear. Kind of like the sketch I show above and the 3D shape (using Blender) I show below. Somewhat similar to the edge of a horizon, with the light emanating towards the surface above it.

Shape made in Blender view 01
Horizon Shape made in Blender view 01
Shape made in Blender view 02
Horizon shape made in Blender view 02
Ring shape made in Blender
Ring shape made in Blender

Initial Tests with lights

You can see a video with my first tests below. They are an attempt to explore different possibilities of illumination and patters using LEDs. You can find a more detailed post explaining the technical details in the second sketch for this class, found here.

Thank you for reading.