Leila and Emma got in touch to tell us they’ve made themselves a stylish homemade clock! Using an Adafruit M0 Trinket, a quad 7-segment display and various other components they hacked all the CircuitPython code together in Mu! Read on to learn more…

I first met Leila and Emma in 2015, when Trans*Code was first welcomed to PyCon UK. On subsequent meetings it has always been a great pleasure to hear of their homemade electronics projects and how they’ve thought up ever more creative and interesting ways to use MicroPython or CircuitPython in their work. They have been great supporters of Mu since the very earliest releases, so “thank you” both for your encouragement, feedback and support.

When the call went out for user-contributed projects for this blog, it didn’t take long for them to submit the first contribution, and what a fun project it is!

Their own digital alarm clock broke, and none of the replacements fitted their requirements, so rather than buy a new one they used it as an opportunity to learn and make their own.

What I love about this project is that it took several attempts to get it right. In the end they came up with a device that worked with a much simpler design than their original solution (that didn’t work at all!). This is a common occurrence: it takes time to work out how to solve a problem and you’re likely to encounter unforeseen problems along the way. Only after “playing around” and experimenting for a bit will a simple, elegant and (most importantly) working solution emerge.

Another aspect of the project that I really like is its Wabi-Sabi-ness. I’m a big fan of Wabi Sabi (while the linked-to Wikipedia article is interesting, I recommend this wonderful little book for those who want to learn more). Wabi-Sabi is the beauty found in impermanent, incomplete and unconventional objects. The development of, and solution for this project is a wonderful example of such beauty.

Finally, the code they created in Mu has a really cool feature to handle button presses to change modes (their clock not only tells the time, but will display the date and year!). This is another important aspect of the project: Leila and Emma are in control of their digital device and, if they feel so inclined, are free to change how it works or fix any bugs. They can hack it!

You can read Leila’s full write-up of the project, including source code and circuit designs at her blog.

Great work Leila and Emma! :-)