Clock Is Not Readable By Humans

Not every build needs to be immediately useful or revolutionary. Plenty of builds are just for fun, for education, or even purposefully useless but still challenging. This clock, for example, might fit into all three categories. It’s a clock that displays time through a QR code, making it completely inscrutable unless you have a device which likely has its own readable clock on it already.

The QR Code clock comes to us from [Aaron] and is based on the now-ubiquitous ESP32 WiFi chip. The ESP32 is connected to a 64×64 LED matrix which is updated every second with a code for the current time. With single-second resolution that means that even with a method for reading a QR code by hand, like you sometimes can with barcodes, there’s no way to read it without a smartphone since it changes so rapidly.

Of course [Aaron] recognizes the flaw in his design in his video in which he notes tongue-in-cheek that with this clock you would never have to look at a smartphone again, since the clock is right there on the wall. We appreciate the humor and also that [Aaron] has made all of his source code available in case you would like to use this as an example project for using QR codes for more useful purposes. For now, though, we’ll just forward you along to some other useless machines.

Thanks to [willmore] for the tip!

28 thoughts on “Clock Is Not Readable By Humans

  1. Shining and changing thing right in front of you, very disturbing.
    The effect would be much better with e-ink (or mechanical) and update once a minute of once in 5 minutes.

  2. He says: “you don’t need to look at your smartphone ever again” Uh…..wait, your looking at your smart phone to read the QR code. So what your saying is I want to know the time and now I need to implement extra steps to do that. Thats progression?

      1. He really needs a defuser and a grid to make this really work. Even in his video he had to take a step back to scan the clock because his phone couldn’t make out the code due to the gaps between the pixels. I get the joke is to make the clock hard to read, but the added step of getting in just the right position might just ruin it.

  3. Better check the source code to make sure it’s not a secret plot to get people to the point they can read the clock, then use it to distribute free samples of Snow Crash.

  4. So, if it updated only once a minute, might it be possible for a human to learn to read it? We learn all sorts of bizarre languages, and is this not just one more? Has anyone out there learned to read QR codes?

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