From out in left field: Sometimes a gadget comes along that seemingly has no real purpose other than just to serve as the product of one's creativity. The Sequino is just such a contraption. Technically it's an Arduino-powered clock, but only if you don't mind being four minutes late to everything in your life.
Surely you are aware of the recent fad that uses sequins to change the color or design of fabric. Called “flip sequins,” the material changes color when rubbed one direction and changes back when rubbed in reverse. It has been used on clothes, pillows, toys, and other products, and now it has been used to make a digital clock.
The Sequino, as it has been dubbed, uses a motorized stylus powered by an Arduino Nano R3 to stroke the flip-sequin fabric on a cylinder to spell out the time. It sounds like a 1980s-era printer and is just as slow. It is so slow that the maker had to speed up the demo video (above) by a factor of three to prevent viewers' eyes from bleeding as they watch the thing spell out the time over the course of four minutes.
Four minutes just to check the time is far from practical, but one could say that about anything made with flip sequins. It’s pure gimmickry at its highest level, which is probably why such products are a hit mainly with the 10- to 13-year-old demographic.
That said, the Sequino is a clever and unexpected implementation of the fabric and the Arduino platform. The creator Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi deserves kudos for engineering a way to demonstrate the silliness of the fad with an equally ridiculous device.
He is not selling the clock, but he did share the design, materials, and pitfalls encountered while creating it. For those with too much time on their hands (pun intended) and the will to reengineer it, it would make for an interesting DIY project.