With Covid-19 restrictions easing as our state reached its vaccination targets, our family eagerly the checked the numbers every day, hoping for fewer infections and greater vaccinations. Obviously the only thing I could think of was automating this process as a much needed distraction.

I deferred to old mate Kris from half a world away, given his expertise in hardware tinkering that brings alive his escape room business. He quickly realised I didn’t have the patience craft one myself with circuit boards and seven-segment displays, so he angrily gifted me this shiny new toy!

LED smart display showing a medical plus symbol with the numbers +489 LaMetric Time—an expensive, but fun tinkering tool that you definitely don’t need but will love


At first glance it’s a smart-display with a configurable time and date formats, weather and even a radio app.

But it’s the marketplace that brings it to life. It’s rich with different apps that integrate with a variety of different services. It can show how your Dogecoin investment is doing, how many likes your pet’s instagram page is getting, or the number of visitors to your website only your mum reads.


And if that’s not enough you can customise it with IFTTT.

You can customise the icon that’s displayed, which can even be animated.

Coding Time

But obviously for me, this was still not enough. Which was great because the device can actually poll a URL and display things based on the response. Given my initial use case would involve scraping data off a public website, a simple cloud function made the best sense. Plus it gave me an excuse to tinker around with Netlify Functions given how simple they were advertised to be.

And damn it did not disappoint, a URL that simply responded with "Hello World!" when you accessed it looked like this:

import { Handler } from "@netlify/functions";

export const handler: Handler = async () => {
    return {
        statusCode: 200,
        body: "Hello World!",

You cloud see the number of times the URL was accessed, and even spit out some console.logs() for debugging.

Logging view of the Netlify function

The response the device expected in order to display information was simple. There were three types of data you could present.

An icon with text

    "frames": [
            "text": "648",
            "icon": 30127

A progress bar

    "frames": [
            "goalData": {
                "start": 0,
                "current": 71.5,
                "end": 100,
                "unit": "%"
            "icon": 46992

Or a graph

    "frames": [
            "index": 0,
            "chartData": [866, 943, 866, 814, 668, 623, 608, 594, 587, 648]

You could add multiple items into the frames array and have them display sequentially.

Day by day I hacked away at it in my down time and eventually… this was the result…

The Result

Smart display showing a syringe icon with the number 1 with a percentage of 90.3 Percent of applicable populus vaccinated with first dose

Smart display showing a syringe icon with the number 2 with a percentage of 73.5 Percent of applicable populus vaccinated with second dose

Smart display showing a red medical symbol next to the text +479 Infections that day

Smart display showing a circular arrow going counter-clockwise and the text 581 Infections previous day

Smart display showing a graph trending down Graph of infections

But wait there’s more!

The LaMetric documentation revealed how much more things I could do with the device, from notifications alerts to triggering actions via buttons, and even playing audio. But for now I think I’ve got what I want now that our state has reopened we’re expecting the COVID cases to spike so it’s the hospitalisations and deaths that we’ll be monitoring in order to make our own call when it’s safe to do certain things again.

I’ve seen it range from AUD$150 to AUD$500! But it does make for an insane gift, an office trinket or as shopfront display!

There are some interesting alternatives out there too worth looking into

👋 Stay safe and happy hacking everyone!