Gorgeous Specimen is the Final Word in Clocks

At this point, it’s safe to say that word clocks aren’t quite as exciting as they once were. We’ve seen versions that boil the concept down to what amounts to a parts bin build, which for better or for worse, takes a lot of the magic out of it. You just get an array of LEDs, put some letters in front of it, write some code, and you’re done.

But then [Mark Sidell] sent in his build, and we remembered why we collectively fell in love with these clocks in the first place. It wasn’t the end result that captivated us, although the final clock is indeed gorgeous, but the story of its painstaking design and construction. The documentation created for this project is unquestionably some of the best we’ve seen in a very long time, and whether or not you have any desire to build a word clock of your own, you won’t regret sitting down and reading through it.

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An ESP32 Controls This Cylindrical OLED Display

YouTuber maker.moekoe built this ESP32-controlled “circular” display using eight OLED screens.

The vast majority of displays have a rectangular 16:9 aspect ratio, or 4:3 for older TVs and monitors. But we’re starting to see more unusual aspect ratios and even screen shapes become more common. Some newer smartphones have ultra-widescreen aspect ratios and round displays are the norm for smartwatches. A square may be the most efficient form, because it doesn’t waste any rows or columns in the matrix, but people like more unique shapes. YouTuber maker.moekoe took that idea to the extreme when they built this ESP32-controlled cylindrical screen.

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Researchers Proclaim Breakthrough in Full-Color Low-Power ‘Electronic Paper’ Displays

Taking an existing design and flipping it on its head, this new display type offers extremely low power draw yet high-quality colors.

A team from the Chalmers University of Technology claims to have made a breakthrough in sunlight-readable full-color displays, developing an ePaper display capable of “brilliant colors” — at a very low power draw.

“For reflective screens to compete with the energy-intensive digital screens that we use today, images and colors must be reproduced with the same high quality. That will be the real breakthrough,” explains Marika Gugole, doctoral student at the Chalmers University of Technology. “Our research now shows how the technology can be optimized, making it attractive for commercial use.”

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Control Your Displays with the Arduino_GFX Library

The Arduino_GFX library is a versatile option that works with a wide range of displays and Arduino-compatible boards.

Adding a display to your microcontroller project is a great way to show logged data, a device’s status, and much more. There are a lot of affordable displays on the market that connect to development boards, including those made by Arduino. Those displays most often connect through an SPI, I2C, or parallel data connection. But microcontrollers don’t have plug-and-play display drivers like a computer; you have to program the microcontroller with exactly what bits and bytes to send to the display to draw the desired pixels. That isn’t a trivial undertaking, but libraries can help. The Arduino_GFX library is a versatile option that works with a wide range of displays and Arduino-compatible boards.

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This Insect-Sized Robot Has the Same Agility as a Cheetah

UC Berkeley engineers developed a robot that can traverse complex terrain and quickly avoid obstacles.

Most insects and spiders climb walls and walk on ceilings through sticky footpads, allowing them to stick on surfaces. UC Berkeley engineers used the same electrostatic adhesive concept to develop an insect-sized robot with similar swerving and pivoting capabilities as a cheetah. As a result, the robot can travel through a maze while avoiding sudden obstacles.

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Befinitiv’s Digital Film Cartridge Adds a RaspberryPi to an Old Film Camera — with Great Results

Using a 3D-printed housing, a Raspberry Pi Camera Module, Raspberry Pi Zero, and LiPo battery, befinitiv has given an old camera a rebirth.

Pseudonymous maker “befinitiv” has shown off a Raspberry Pi-powered upgrade for film cameras, turning them into digital cameras capable of stills, video, and even live-streaming — albeit with considerably different zoom from their stock designs.

“This was state of the art 50 years ago,” befinitiv explains of a Cosina Hi-Lite film camera. “Back then, of course, you shot your films or photos on these films, and this was rather expensive back in the day — but today it’s even more expensive and a bit cumbersome.

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This OpenSCAD Script Helps You Design Hot-Swappable Keyboards

If you want to design your own hot-swappable mechanical keyboard, this OpenSCAD script can help.

Mechanical keyboards are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They are more pleasant to type on and may even help to prevent repetitive stress injury (RSI), which is a problem that affects many office workers. Cheap keyboards have membrane switches, which are mushy and force you to push a key hard to ensure a key press is registered. Mechanical keyboards, on the other hand, have mechanical key switches that have a clean and consistent “break” point. Some keyboards even let you swap out the key switches to customize the feel. If you want to design your own hot-swappable mechanical keyboard, this OpenSCAD script can help.

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