Raspberry Pi Pico W Powers Unique Unicorn Timepiece

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Charles, Hugokernel)

The Raspberry Pi Pico comes in many form factors. Some boards use just the RP2040 SoC, others, such as Pimoroni's Galactic Unicorn embeds an entire Raspberry Pi Pico W into a larger PCB. The Galactic Unicorn clock, created by maker Charles (aka Hugokernel) and relies on a Raspberry Pi Pico W for control.

HugoKernel's Unicorn Clock

(Image credit: https://github.com/hugokernel)

We’re already huge fans of the new Pimoroni RGB matrix panels so it’s exciting to see it implemented in such a useful project. According to Charles, the idea for the project is to replace his LaMetric device with this, enabling him to customize it even further with unique features and so much more. Because it’s Pico-based, the sky is the limit—especially with wireless support thrown into the mix.

Charles shared a list of features that it already has and we’re definitely impressed with its flexibility. As expected, you can set the time but you can make it look just the way you like with brightness adjustments, color settings, the ability to set the clock in any position you like, etc. You can also create your own fonts and add character animations.

  • NTP time
  • Brightness adjustments (manually or automatically)
  • Character animation
  • Set the position of the clock
  • Change the background color, the text, each letters
  • You can change the spacing between each letters
  • Create your own font
  • Easily hackable list

To create the project, he’s using a Pimoroni Galactic Unicorn. This is a wide, flat matrix panel that comes with a Pico W attached. The only extra hardware you’ll need is something to power the panel. This can be a battery pack if you want it to be portable or just use a wall charger to keep things simple.

The software for the project was written in MicroPython and is totally open source for anyone who wants to explore the source code or download it for themselves. You can find everything you need to recreate it over at GitHub. According to Charles, there are also plans in the works to make the system compatible with Pimoroni’s Cosmic Unicorn board, as well.

If you want to see this Raspberry Pi project in action, check out the project page over at GitHub and be sure to follow Charles for more updates as well as future projects.

Ash Hill
Contributing Writer

Ash Hill is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.