The last couple of weeks I have spent a lot of time working on Stripe. Designing an interactive product means overcoming many technical hurdles: getting the electronic components to work together, writing software, tweaking the mechanical design. All this hard work is starting to pay of, as today I have something to show you: the Stripe prototype!
The day in LEDs
Stripe is a totally novel way of approaching the design of a clock. Early in the morning it starts with one lit white LED. At the end of the day, the face of the clock is filled with 32 white LEDs. The time scale is up to you: you can have Stripe start when you get up and end when you go to sleep for an overview of the day or set it to just show your working hours for a higher resolution. Where a traditional clock just tells you the time, Stripe shows you the relative meaning of time.
Stripe is connected to the internet via Wi-Fi and can synchronize with your cloud-based online calendar to show today’s events. The events show up as colored blocks on the strip, just like you would see them in your digital calendar.
Behind the milled beech faceplate is a LED strip with 32 RGB LEDs that can be set to any color. The main electronics board is a Carambola: a tiny Linux board that can connect to Wi-Fi. The prototype’s housing is handmade from foamcore. On the picture above you can still see the USB flash drive sticking out, which is for development purposes only.
In this prototype, a nifty combination of shell scripts, Python scripts and a C program grab today’s Google Calendar events every 15 minutes and project them on the LED strip. The network settings and timezone are configurable via a web interfaces (LuCI).
What I’ve shown you today is the prototype for Stripe. We’re in the middle of the design process, so many things are bound to change. I will be experimenting with different types of wood for the faceplate, design a custom housing and electronics and keep working on CalDAV support (for Google Calendar, iCloud, Yahoo Calendar) and the web interface. Lots of work to do, but when the basics are done I will be launching a crowdfunding campaign to fund a first production run. Exciting times ahead!