Tetris Clock Draws Numbers with Falling Blocks

Tetris, the standard game for the original Game Boy, and available on a wide variety of platforms for literally decades, has…

Jeremy S. Cook
5 months ago

Tetris, the standard game for the original Game Boy, and available on a wide variety of platforms for literally decades, has unquestionable appeal. The concept is simple, but mastering the game is not. Nor, evidently, would it be easy to stack these blocks into readable numbers or letters, much less design a device that does this automatically. Hardware extraordinaire Brian Lough, however, has designed an ESP32-based clock that draws each number individually using falling Tetris blocks, and sets the time via the Internet.

It’s a brilliant display, which he shows off and describes how it’s built in some detail in the video below. For this project, Lough is using a 62x32 RGB matrix (which looks pretty incredible for ~$20), along with a TinyPICO ESP32 dev board that’s now in crowdfunding. Components are mated together with an apter board that he sells on Tindie, and while this is apparently optional, it seems like it would be worth it to simplify the clock’s wiring.

If you’d like to build your own, or just check out how it works, and you can find code and wiring info here. While there is an ESP8266 version available, it’s currently crashing, so you’ll definitely want to step up to the ESP32 for the build. Software settings include options for a 12/24 hour format, block drop speed and how numbers are refreshed, and of course WiFi and time zone info to keep everything accurate.

[h/t: Reddit]

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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