At first I was worried that the light from a NeoPixel wouldn’t pass through the Pearloid Dot, so I purchased one to play with -- it works perfectly and looks soooooo coooooool!
All of which leads us to the part where I'm interested in hearing your thoughts. The potentiometers can be rotated through a 300 degree sweep, which means the pointer won’t be able to point to three of the pixels -- say the three shown in blue below:
Now, we could simply decide to not drill these three holes through the front panel, but that would be wasting three LEDs, and as far as I'm concerned you can’t have too many LEDs. Also, who is to say that we might not replace these potentiometers with ones that have a larger (or smaller) sweep capability in the future? Quite apart from anything else, we can use these three LEDs as part of the self-destruct sequence should anyone be foolish enough to press the "Moderately-Sized Red Button" in the bottom panel. Even in their un-used condition, we can still light them up with some default color (any suggestions?).
Now consider the rest of the LEDs. I'm trying to decide how we should use these to reflect the current state of the potentiometer. Remember that these are individually-controllable tri-state LEDs, each of which can be assigned any color and set to any level of brightness (from fully off to fully on). Purely for the sake of argument, let's start by assuming that we shall employ only two colors: green = good and red = not-so-good. In this case, it seems to me that we have two main choices as illustrated below:
Suppose we are considering "Overall Mood," for example. At one extreme we might have something like "Generally Cheerful" -- at the other we might have "Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid" (this is illustrated on the left-hand dial). Alternatively, we could say that the center position is the one we would prefer, with different negative options on either side (this is illustrated on the right-hand dial). The advantage of the first option is that it's conceptually and visually simple; the advantage of the second option is that it offers more conceptual and visual interest.
Of course, we aren't limited to only two colors -- we could go from green to yellow or orange to red -- in which case the original approach of ranging from one extreme to another might be best as we have only a limited number of pixels.
The next thing to consider is that we could leave all of the pixels fully on with their designated colors, and simply use the white line on the knob to indicate the current state setting; this is illustrated in the left-hand portion of the image below:
Alternatively, the default state of the red and green pixels could be set to be on, but at a lower intensity. As one rotates the knob clockwise, the pixels could be brought up to full brightness; this is illustrated in the right-hand portion of the image above.
And we aren’t limited to having only static (on, off, dim, bright) values -- we can easily set individual LEDs to flashing (or "breathing"), for example. The bottom line is that the world is our lobster (or crustacean of your choice). We can do anything we want with these LEDs, limited only by our imaginations. Furthermore, we aren’t locked into any particular scheme; we can try multiple scenarios and select the one that is the most mentally stimulating and visually appealing.
The point is that "two heads are better than one," as they say. I have some ideas of my own, but I bet that you do too, and it may well be that your ideas blow mine out of the water. So what do you say? How do you think these rotary LED displays should work? Which of the above base schemes do you prefer (good-to-bad, or bad-to-good-to-bad)? Should we display just two main colors (green and red, or orange and red, or...) or multiple colors? Should we simply specify the brightness of the LEDs as static quantities, or should we have some of them flashing or breathing? Any suggestions will be very gratefully received.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting