A desk clock made from a 16x16 NeoPixel matrix.
The finished product:
(the colors in this photo aren't great - the background animation is more of a teal color and the time is in white)
The animation plays smoothly, but I've been leaving it turned down to 1 frame per minute so the the motion isn't distracting out of the corner of your eye. The time moves up and down the display twice over the course of a day, too. At first I set a static brightness that looks good during the day or with the room lights on, but that level lights up practically the whole room by itself at night - so the potentiometer controls the brightness of the matrix.
I started by buying a Feather M0 Express from Adafruit when it was brand new, enticed by the then new-ish CircuitPython because I knew a little Python from a college. The feather sat around for almost 6 months while I researched components, read Adafruit's NeoPixel guideguide cover to cover (as it were), and thought about the design of the display. As it turns out, if I had waited to buy the micro controller I could have saved a lot of work by buying an ItsyBitsy M0 Express with a 5V digital output made to control NeoPixels...
(please ignore the spaghetti wiring, this was my first electronics project... for something more aesthetically pleasing, see here)
This is/was my first electronics project. I had done a ton of research in Adafruit's guides trying to decide on something useful to build when inspiration struck during a trip to the pier:
I had seen a few projects online with LED matrices and I thought that trying to emulate the waves and ripples on the surface of the ocean in a grid of LEDs would look really cool, then decided to put the time over the waves to make something for the computer desk at home. I did some research and found Matthias Müller-Fischer's 2008 GCD slides about height field simulation of a water surface, figured out the pseudocode of the main loop (exercise for the reader: find the error on slide 3), and decided to go for it. As of right now, the jury's still out over whether I'll simulate the height field waves or fake it with a series of sine waves and some random sparkles.