The Quite Rubbish Clock

“Quite Rubbish” is the maker’s assessment, not ours. We thought this was fantastic. This is a clock built with the Raspberry Pi. It works, but it’s not readable by humans: instead, you find out the time by scanning the QR code it outputs with your phone.

Stewart Russell knocked this together not because he wanted to know what time it was (just as well, really), but because he was interested in trying to get the Pi to interface with an old surplus Nokia LCD display via SPI. If you want to have a go at something similar yourself, Stewart has all the code, wiring and parts lists you need at his blog. These little LCD displays are very inexpensive and aren’t hard to find; if Stewart’s QR clock has given you an idea for another LCD project, please let us know in the comments!

(Thanks to Recantha for the spot!)


dan3008 avatar

Mmm, im likeing the idea of this to display debug info, ip address and tempriture

could be useful for a “headless” server/client

Joseph Lee-Mills avatar

Rubish? I love the idea!

yakko TDI avatar

To say that is awesome is an understatement. So much better than the binary light clocks.

RobV avatar

thing is.. the phone you scan it with also had the time anyway

scruss avatar

Well, yeah, that was done on purpose. I wanted this to be a completely pointless use of technology, plus a little workout of bgreat’s SPI code.

yakko TDI avatar

I usually wear a watch but I still pull the cellular out of my pocket to check the time. This adds yet another step in the process. I use fast computers so I have time for this.

RobV avatar

thing is.. the phone you scan it with also had the time anyway.
I like it for other reasons though. Looks like Conways game of Life

davedude0 avatar

Wow… Very good!
I’d quite like an LCD screen like that now… Where can you get a cheap one?

liz avatar

There are links to a few different sellers on the project page itself.

Texy avatar

….you can even purchase a ready made Nokia Pi board. See this thread :

50p goes to the Foundation for every sale ;-)

blatant advertising hat off.


don isenstadt avatar

on wikipedia it says you can have a qr code represent 4296 alphanumeric characters.. which is far more that the noika can display in text mode …

scruss avatar

True enough, Ron – but that 4296 character-containing QR code is a giant 177×177 cell beast which is almost impossible to scan without special equipment. The largest one you can display on this LCD is a Version 7: 45×45 cells, 224 alphanumeric (case-insensitive, btw) characters – still twice the number of 6×6 characters you can display on the screen …

Fran avatar

This is cool!

Tiny little computers should have options for tiny little displays.

How about an interface to those little touch-screen displays that are ubiquitous in the ARM-Cortex embedded world?

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