I describe using a digital oscilloscope and a custom C program to creatively display a “Happy Birthday” message. This unique project combined engineering skills with personalization, transforming a technical tool into a special birthday surprise. It’s a fun blend of technology and celebration, showcasing an inventive use of everyday engineering equipment for a heartfelt gesture​

So, the other day, my buddy A from our uni crew popped up with a request: it was his girlfriend’s birthday, and he hoped we could film short videos to celebrate. I mean, we’re talking about a bond that spans decades here; of course, we’d come through. But here’s the catch: simply mouthing a “Happy Birthday” on video? Way too mainstream for my mischief-loving self.

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Being a software/firmware engineer, it’s kinda standard to have a digital oscilloscope lying around. Lightbulb moment: why not pen a neat little C program on an MCU to generate a signal, which when fed to the oscilloscope, spells out a message? Displaying “Happy Birthday” on the oscilloscope screen – sounds rad, right?

With the idea nailed, the rest was a cakewalk. I started with two DACs capable of producing signals, corresponding to the X-Y mode of the oscilloscope. I mapped out a char array for A-Z, and, for a personal touch, my all-time favorite emoticon “>///<”. Toss in a couple of handy functions like resize() and reposition(), loop through each char to produce the signal, and voila! Birthday message, engineer style. Hell Yeah >///< 🎉



How to use it

Change sentence you want on TEXT1, TEXT2

#define WORD_CNT    (10)
#define TEXT1       ("YEAH>///<")
#define TEXT2       ("HELL")