2011 Reboot

Having played with this blog a bit in 2010 and had some fun, it's time to chronicle a proper project. I have an idea and have ordered parts before I've even written a line of code. That's not quite the Arduino way.

I have shields for pretty much every hardware feature I need for this project. Normally you would snap the shields together, write code to run the basic functions and then maybe dream about what the hardware would look like without shields. I know I'm getting ahead of myself here but I'm hoping to do a little prototyping of the hardware package while I write code. The ultimate will be to design a PCB for a bespoke build. Then go into production 'cause everybody will want one! :)


Reason for Being
A major event occurs in your life or the life of someone close to you. A birth, a death, marriage?This event is pivotal and you always want to be reminded of it. Why not have a clock that shows you the time with respect to that event? For me, I want a life clock with its epoch at 3:46pm on 15th September 2008 Australian Eastern Standard Time. At that time two life-changing events occurred for me almost simultaneously: my son Matthew was born, and shortly thereafter he died.

The finished product should be somewhat like a USB memory stick with a bright OLED screen, potentially on a pivot. The screen will swivel/tilt to allow it to be read when plugged in to horizontal or vertical ports on a PC case or notebook. The USB plug allows initial programming but for a non-technical owner would be for power only. A GPS receiver and real-time clock (RTC) chip will take care of acquiring and maintaining correct time. Battery power and solar self-charging would be great options.

Mode of Operation
The LifeClock would be "armed" when first programmed, then given to its new owner. On next power-up it will be "fired" and that moment will be the epoch for that life clock. You could have your best man power it on when the celebrant says "man and wife" for example. The LifeClock will now attempt to get a fix on what the date and time is and it must stay powered on until it does so. But the GPS takes a while to ramp up and may not get a signal at all where it was first fired. So the RTC chip will measure elapsed time only until the GPS achieves a lock. Once the GPS gets valid satellite data, the life clock "detonates". It records the date, time and location of its first firing and forever more will be locked to that event. With its epoch set, the life clock will always tell you how much time has elapsed (seconds, weeks, millennia?) since that time and how far you are from that place. Of course people like me will want their LifeClock to be pre-programmed. This is a simple step during programming.

So there's a plan. The next post I'll get into code.

That is all.