Masa | An IoT enabled clock with a vintage twist

An IoT-enabled clock that uses Lixie technology (LED-based Nixie) to display time, weather, and/or other information.

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Masa is the Malaysian word for time and also in many other Sanskrit-based languages. We thought that would be a good name for this project as Masa is a project that brings together modern electronic components to achieve a beautiful vintage look.

Masa is a type of electronic clock that combines the vintage aesthetic of traditional Nixie tubes with modern LED technology and advanced features. Nixie tubes are vacuum tubes that contain a wire mesh anode and multiple cathodes shaped like the numerals 0 through 9. Masa is designed to replicate the vintage aesthetic of traditional Nixie clocks while using modern LED technology. In addition to displaying the time, Masa will have the flexibility to display additional panels such as weather, tickers, and other illustrations. It also has internet connectivity, allowing it to retrieve data from the internet as well as several on board environmental sensors.

A smart energy efficient retro clock  

Masa is intended to be a fully customisable clock that can be used to display more than just time. Some of the ideas we have brainstormed are, weather, stocks and even linking it to your smartphone as a notifier (each "display" could show a different App - e.g. WhatsApp, News, etc.). We wanted to create something that isn't just a screen but also preserves some of the convinience and clarity that they provide. Especially as something to have in your room, looking at it day in, day out, you'd want it to be easy on the eyes as well as adapt to your enviroment.  Perhaps even by using the sensors and some help from the guys over at Edge Impulse, it could nudge us towards better living. 

Before diving further, I have to thank JLCPCB for sponsoring this project. They have been a crucial part of the process by enabling me rapid prototype without compromising quality. All of the PCBAs related to this project were prototyped and assembled by them.  I highly recommend them for the high quality, cost, and time-efficient, if you intend to design and build any boards of your own.

Now back to the project, here are some of the key features;

  • LEDs that have full brightness & colour control.
  • Environmental Sensor to measure room temperature and humidity.
  • Phototransistor for ambient light measurement.
  • ESP32-S2 to drive and interface with sensors as well as get the latest time from the NTP server over WiFi.
  • Compatible with rapily prototype-able Cricut-based perspex "displays".
  • Powered by USB-C.


  • Microcontroller | ESP32-S2
    • WiFi | 802.11b/g/n
    • FLASH | 4MB
    • Programming | USB over UART 
  • Humidity and Temperature Sensor | SHT20
    • Capacitive type humidity sensor 
    • Band gap temperature sensor
    • Digital processing unit - I2C
  • Light Sensor | TEMT6000X01
    • High photo sensitivity 
    • Adapted to human eye responsivity 
    • Angle of half sensitivity ± 60°
  • Power | USB-C + 3.3V LDO
  • Mechanical

  • 1 × ESP32-S2 Microcontroller
  • 1 × TEMT6000X01 Light Sensor
  • 1 × SHT20 Temperature and Humidity Sensor
  • 1 × WS2812B LED

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