Clockety Uses Phone Flash For Projection Clock

[Gaurav Taneja] was showing off his projection clock add-on for iPhone called Clockety at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The concept is pretty neat, a clip-on clock which uses the iPhone flash LED as the light source. It may sound a little gimmicky until you see the functionality of the accompanying app which is shown off in the video after the break. Once clipped onto the phone, you lay it face down on your night stand and a gentle tap on the furniture will turn the projection on or off. This is a killer feature when you’re staying some place without an illuminated bedside clock.

Here you can see that the device is extremely simple, just a real-time-clock on a tiny PCB, a passthrough LCD, and the mouting pieces to hold the lens at the appropriate focal length. [Gaurav] has done a good job of pricing for the simplicity, with the Indiegogo pre-order price of $19.

At this point you use an SR44 cell to power the clock and LCD, with buttons to set minutes and hours. The optics have been designed with standard bedside table height and room ceiling height in mind, with a fine adjustment on the lens assembly for focus.

We really hope that this one succeeds because we have some ideas for the next revision. There should be a pass-through adapter that would allow you to charge the phone while driving the projector LCD. Adding power, moving to a dot-matrix LCD, and rolling in Bluetooth for v2 could allow you to push more data to the projected image. Or is that just overkill? Sometimes we get carried away.

100 thoughts on “Clockety Uses Phone Flash For Projection Clock

    1. He is using a regular watch type LCD. A watch has a reflector behind the LCD so you can see the black digits, he is replacing the reflector with a light, then using a lens stack to set the focus.

    2. I’ve seen videos of people removing the backlight and opaque layers from an old TFT monitor and then putting it on an old overhead projector to make a cheap high-res beamer. So, simply modifying a regular display is one way to go about it.

        1. I bought one of those dirt cheap USB picture keyframe things for like $5. You load it up with pictures and when you turn it on they scroll through on the little 2 inch screen. Remove a few screws to open the case and the back reflector was a separate sheet that was removed in a second. I then used an LED torch and played with a couple of magnifying glass lenses to project the image onto the wall. So sometimes it really can be easy!

  1. Just ridiculous:
    – power consumption of phone waiting the wake event
    – constraint to let the phone facing back on the table
    Simply make an stand alone version. (Already done, too bad)

      1. Sure. V2 will project notifications on ceiling just like smart watches do today via bluetooth. With support for BOTH iOS and Android. That’s what middle school kids come up with these days. Apple Watch was designed by a middle school kid too. Didn’t you know?

    1. Really just a matter of the market I would suppose. The coding for an Android version that listens for a knock should be straight-forward. And then it’s just a matter of modelling the outter case with the correct size clips and flash LED location.

  2. If going overboard with new ideas:
    use a small prism as a beam splitter: one beam goes through to the ceiling (as it’s going now), the other one goes to a photodiode which powers the system. Extra – send current time by controlling the frequency of the flash LED, which can be noticed on photodiode output.

    1. i like that time setting function much better.. the whole idea of having to set the time on something that uses the light source of another device that keeps time is somewhat ridiculous to me..

  3. I’m guessing this is most useful when you can have your phone plugged in (like on your nightstand). Those flash LEDs tend to eat up battery if used for extended periods of time.

    1. Apple monkeys, they’ll grab anything shiny.

      Wonder what running the flash led, you know, the thing that is made to be pulsed briefly on occasion, for hours on end, does to the led life.

      1. RTFA….

        Tap/Knock sensitivity is user adjustable. Hypersensitive mode lets you turn Clockety on by simply knocking on your nightstand.

        Automatic turn off feature lets you configure a delay after which Clockety turns off by itself.

  4. it would be easier to just add in the $0.29 LED and make it separate from the phone so I dont have to remove the dang thing every morning. honestly it would be better as 2X larger and have a wal wart powering it so that it doesn not need charging, does not need to be attached or removed, etc… Add in a real USB plug and make it charge the phone as well.

      1. Can you turn projection on them via physical knock/tap or via an Alarm? Are they portable? Can you travel with them around without plugging into a wall outlet?

        This solves all of those problems.

          1. And before you get excited, that’s just one sample portable unit that happens to exist. There are MANY out there. Just search for ‘portable projector clock’ and you’ll see the various types available with different features like the clap detection, knock, whistle etc. Some designed for adjustable angles, some designed to project onto ceiling, some designed to project onto walls etc.

          2. What you are showing here DO NOT turn on clap or knock. Go fool someone else. Also V2 will project notifications on ceiling just like smart watches do today via bluetooth. With support for BOTH iOS and Android.

      1. I have a patent pending device for turning the smartphone LED into a laser saber. But I’ll sit on it until next year to ride piles of cash on the next big wave of all things SW coming up.

        1. Sure sit on it. But these guys are not sitting on their idea. V2 will project notifications on ceiling just like smart watches do today via bluetooth. With support for BOTH iOS and Android. That’s what the patent is about.

          1. Dude you’ve spammed the thread so many times with this BS. You really think no one realises who you are?

            What’s the number of the pending patent application?

      2. Mmm so using the phone LED instead of something like an LED torch for example suddenly makes it patentable? Seems like a stretch. Aside from that, there’s lots of ‘prior art’ online with people holding transparent sheets with images in front of the iphone LED to project images onto walls and such like.

      1. There are already smart watches and phones that project notifications using an LED. There are also phones that already have pico projectors in them that can project full color videos like the Samsung Beam.

        How can you patent it when it’s been around for years? And why would anyone want the hassle of clipping yours on and running your flaky app?

  5. What i love about the idea is that this is portable and you can tap or knock on your furniture to turn the projection on!

    Also, this is a full fledged clock so that comes in real handy. As far as battery life is concerned; you cannot beat one year battery life and the user replaceable battery.

    It will not drain your phone’s battery because it turns on via accelerometer (tap/knock on furniture) or via an Alarm.

    Love it!

    1. It’s portable and tells you the time. As long as its connected to your phone. The phone that can already tell you the time.

      If the phone could stream data to the LCD like animations and alerts then I’d say it’s a quirky toy that would be fun for a few hours. When it’s just a clock chip with an LCD missing it’s rear reflector.. come on! What a joke.

      And when the phone is listening to knocks, it’s wasting your battery. The battery that only just gets you through the day as it is.

      The only good thing to come out of this project is that hopefully someone in China will see this and replicate it with much better features and make it into the quirky fun toy that I mention above.

    2. Portable? How often do you change the bed you sleep in? I wouldn’t have the patience every night to run the app, clip this thing on, make sure its in the right position on the ceiling. You can get a clock that plugs into the wall and projects the time onto your ceiling or wall when you bang the big button on top or clap your hands.

    1. I know, when I read that there is an app to control it I thought it was using a bluetooth connection to extend the phone’s display, and that the internal display of it was a low resolution monochrome matrix of some sort so you could project things other than time… then I watched the video and was somewhat disappointed that it’s basically a watch with the back removed so you can shine a light through…meh…

    1. This is V1 of the product. V2 is going to project notifications from your phone onto your ceiling via bluetooth. I talked to the founder at the booth. And they plan to support BOTH iPhones and Android phones.

      They have patent pending on that! Yes really….

          1. It can be difficult listening to critical feedback, especially when you’ve clearly put a lot of effort into promoting your product Mr Gaurav Tanner Taneja.

            But hopefully with the 80+ comments here, you’ll be able to go back to the drawing board and come up with something a bit better for your next KS/indiegogo project.

            To be honest, I’m not even sure if it’s worth making the version 2 you talked about. Clockety only works in a very dark room, why would you want to project notifications to your ceiling while you’re sleeping?

            Tiny portable projectors already exist, as do phones with built in pico projectors which can project video clips from your phone onto a wall/ceiling.

            Clockety is a fun little hack/diy project that you started and home and honestly it should have stayed there. I keep trying to think of any way that you could make this into a product that people would actually want to use but I simply cannot! Everything Clockety already does and you say will do in the future can already be done much better by other devices on the market.

            Sorry bro but I hope you can stop wasting your money at least.

  6. Instead of fixed mounts for various models of iPhone, it needs two independently positionable grippers with rubber pads to grip the sides of any phone, in any kind of a case.

    One product for all = significant cost savings. If they want unique attachments for specific phones, make separate bases onto which a single clock module mounts. Then the single device mounts can be cheap, all plastic, one piece.

    Another method would be two elastic straps, crossed. Put one around the phone lengthwise and the other, shorter strap around the narrow way. Push the clock up/down – left/right to set over the flash LED. No adjustment, fits all but the smallest low end phones (which don’t have flashes anyway) and the giant tablets and phablets, which either don’t have rear cameras, don’t have flashes, or nobody is going to lay face down on a hotel table.

    Shoot. I’ve probably ensured this pointless device will get to market.

  7. There are a number of DIY projectors that use a LCD panel, a high powered backlight, and some lenses. Maybe a smaller version could be made that just clips over the front of the phone or whatever and turns it into a low power projector?

    And at night, a single 5mm LED is extremely bright as a nightlight if run anywhere near a fraction of its rating. My bedroom clock is a common LCD clock (actually a combination clock/mini photo frame, though the latter doesn’t work very well) hacked to run the backlight LED at about 100uA with the backlight “off”. Its built in 500mAh lithium ion battery easily lasts months on a charge.

  8. You can skip all that patents crap and simply have a lens that projects the LCD from the phone onto a surface. LCD and backlight are already built-in on a phone, so just need a clip on len and no need for electronics. China can roll this out and you can pick it up in a dollar store.

    1. Yes. All that’s needed here is a bit of optics to project the screen to the ceiling. Motion sensor (or microphone) in phone can listen for table tap. No electronics needed. Having a separate clock is…well, I don’t want to be rude.

  9. Sorry man but just face it, Clockety is a flop. The kickstarter campaign flopped, the indiegogo campaign is looking to go the same way.

    You don’t need more marketing, more tech conferences and more spending. You need a better idea.

    As a product for people to buy and use, it’s just rediculous. You really think people are gonna screw around clipping this thing on every night and running the app? Oh and P.S you can’t use your case anymore AND you have to keep your phone upside down AND it’s going to eat through your battery while it listens for knocks.

    Your main reasoning for why people should use Clockety instead of one of the many existing projector clocks is that it’s portable. Guess what buddy, most people sleep in the same damn bed every night.

    There are projector clocks that can run on batteries or plug into the wall. They don’t need you to mess around with your phone every night, they just work. They also have alarms, voice options, clap and knock detection. You’re reinventing something that already exists… but you’re making it worse.

    You really think if you go around spamming positive comments it will drown out all the negatives? Get over it and move onto something better.

    It’s a fun little DIY project to do at home. Go to the dollar store and pickup a couple of magnifying lenses and a digital watch and throw one together for a laugh. But that’s it.

    1. I would disagree with the above comment. I don’t see a single projection clock in the market that pairs via bluetooth and projects notifications from your phone. I have seen ones that pair to just play audio and that’s about it.

      I think that’s what these guys are going after. That would bring much more value. As far as clipping to the phone is concerned; i think if it’s paired via bluetooth; it would eliminate the need for clipping over the phone.

      As far as your comment of sleeping in the same damn bed every night; not everyone lives in the suburbia ! There are business travelers who will see a value in something that is portable.

      Stop making swiping statements at someone’s idea when all that you are doing is sitting in front of a computer and they are making all the effort to bring a new idea to market.

      1. I never said other projector clocks on the market have support for Bluetooth notifications. Clockety doesn’t have that functionality either, it’s just a “version 2” dream that Gaurav spammed the comments with after another HaD user mentioned it would be cool to have Bluetooth.

        Personally I don’t even see the point in having it project notifications. If you were expecting a text message at midnight you’d listen for your phone to vibrate or beep. Chances are you don’t care and won’t be checking it until you wake up anyway.

        As a business traveler, the last thing I’d want to do after a long day is clip Clockety onto my phone, setup the app and of course adjust the focus because the bedside table and ceiling height will change at each hotel.

        This is not a ‘new idea’. There are hundreds of products that exist and do the exact same thing.

        -Project the time
        -Clap recognition
        -Whistle recognition
        -Tap recognition

        The only difference with Clockety is:

        -You need a supported phone
        -Each night you have to fuss around with attaching clockety and placing it in a good position
        -Each night you have to set the app up
        -You need to keep your phone on charge because the app will eat up juice listening for knocks.

        He tried to ‘bring the idea to market’ last year, it failed. Guess what, nobody wants it. Stop wasting money on marketing and make something better.

        If it output words like ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Maybe’, ‘For sure’ like a Magic 8-ball and you could crack them out for $1-$2 then maybe you’d be able to sell them as kids stocking fillers that would be used for a couple of days but that’s about it.

    2. Maybe you did not read what Jerry says?

      January 15, 2015 at 8:00 pm
      This is ‘Hackaday’, not complain-a-day….grab your Android or Windows phone and get hacking.

      Guess what buddy? Keep your eyes peeled for V2 and then make all negative comments you want; because there won’t be any other product in the market that will come close to the functionality that will be offered in V2.

      True entrepreneurs never give up. They take these these kind of comments with a grain of salt and improve upon existing ideas. They don’t just sit in front of the computer making declarations that an idea was a hit or miss!

          1. Well the Kickstarter 6 months ago failed and the recent indiegogo looks to be going the same way.

            The only people commenting positive feedback about the product are brand new accounts who’ve never commented on hackaday before. One of which has already been established to be Gaurav Taneja using a fake name.

            So yeah, I feel like I have a pretty good idea on this one.

      1. Actually, true entrepreneurs know exactly when to give up. I would go so far as to say that it’s the defining factor between people who succeed and people who fail. Everyone has a limited amount of time and resources, and the ones who don’t sink everything they have into dead ends are the ones who make it.

  10. Why not fetch any of the 1000 free bedside/night stand apps for your device?
    The gets dim and displays all of your notifications. And hey, some are even telling you the time.

    Like. For free. And portable. And what’s also nice: Suitable for people with glasses. I wouldn’t be able to read those digits displayed at my wall.

  11. These comments are awesome, I hate to think of the amount of money wasted going to CES for this, the fact that Tanner is so defensive speaks volumes on how this is a product with NO market, how many of these are you going to have to sell to make up your current losses.

    As for the patent, you really think that will stop china?, they’ll be on ebay in a couple of months for next to nothing, you clearly have a lot of passion, why not direct that into a new project and chalk this one up to experience.

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