The Flowing Pixels Of Time Wait For No Man

The hourglass dramatically depicts the flow of time; gravity pulling grains of sand inevitably downward. So it is with the Bits of Time project by [Frank Andre]. The pixels drop, stopping only when the battery dies. Or, when your eggs are ready. (Pssst, it’s also on

Look, Ma! No GIF!

The project starts with a couple of [Frank’s] PixBlocks. A processor is added to one PixBlock to serve as the controller for both after they are connected via the serial bus. A tilt switch, with a debouncing circuit, is connected to an IO pin. This tells the processor the orientation of the box and therefore which way the pixels should flow.

Two  switches set the duration of the timer in 15 second increments. A third starts the timer. When the box is rotated the pixels start flowing in the opposite direction. With code available on GitHub the system can be programmed for other effects such as changing colors, flickering, or even text display.

You’ll agree this is a bit less intimidating than the MacGyver-ish kitchen timer we covered last year.

14 thoughts on “The Flowing Pixels Of Time Wait For No Man

  1. Well that’s thinking outside of the orthogonal box!

    I like this, I might make one with an ATmega and some of those display drivers MAX7221 and perhaps 8 blocks. Nice project for a simple single sided PCB.

  2. Amazing! How an idea so simple (turn the LED matrixes 45deg, and turn two of them into a sandglass) turns into something that looks absolutely gorgeous is totally genious. Want one!

  3. Yeah, did anyone check the license?

    1) This software, as a whole or in parts, as well as any work derived from this software must only be executed on original fab4U hardware or used to control original fab4U hardware which has the fab4U logo on it.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.