Sunrise Alarm LED Clock

The ability to understand and control LED matrices is an important skill for anyone who hopes to be well versed in electronics. The understanding of shift registers and row scanning techniques necessary for such feats will prove useful in countless other fields, and will allow you to do many other things past simple LED matrix manipulation. In need of such skills, I turned to internet searches to find a tutorial on how to do such things. While I found plenty of resources, I found that simply building a basic 8x8 led matrix and displaying some simple animations across it was somewhat useless; what would I ever use this for? I wanted to use my knowledge to build something useful, and so I immediately though of building a clock using an LED display and a real-time-clock (RTC). Then, wanting to distinguish my project from the thousands of other DIY clocks on the internet, I decided to add a sunrise alarm to it. For those of you who may be unaware, a sunrise alarm clock uses a light that gradually gets brighter to wake you up, emulating the sunrise in a way much more natural than a piercing alarm. At the time you set the alarm for, an LED array will gradually get brighter over the course of 15 minutes, and provided it is angled properly, you should be wide awake by the time it reaches its full brightness.”