Tag Archives: clock

Pop-UP Clock… now in colour!

The Pop-Up Clock described in a recent post “Pop-Up Clock and Flipper Clock – Magnetic Digit Elements” is a work-in-progress proof of concept as I develop a full 4-digit clock (complete with flashing colon).

So far, the design displays the time on this single digit display in a sequential manner: two digits for the hour, then a dash (“-“) followed by two digits for the minutes.

Wishing to increase the illumination of the display and the contrast of the segments between ON and OFF (or IN and OUT) states, I made some changes. I added a strip of addressable WS2812 LEDs around the periphery of the display and blacked-out the rear of each segment so that little light passes into the HDPE when it is extended (OUT).  When retracted (IN), light from the LEDs shines into the elements and illuminates them.  In the software I reversed the direction of the segments so that when it is ON, it is retracted (IN).  Here’s a video that shows the effect.

This test shows considerable light bleed from the LED strip, and this shall be rectified when there is a fully enclosed baffle between the front plate and servo mount plate… In addition, I shall also increase the contrast of the segments with a better light seal.

As with many of my clocks, the accurate time is obtained from an NTP request to the US National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) atomic clock server, using an ESP8266 WeMost D1 Mini WiFi module.  WiFi channel access parameters, local time relative to GMT, daylight savings active, and duration between display updates (minutes) are entered on its web server and subsequently stored in EEPROM when the unit is powered on for the first time, or if it fails to connect to the local WiFi channel.

Oh yes, and just for Lise, the display its blue!


Pop-Up Clock and Flipper Clock – Magnetic Digit Elements

Season’s Greetings

It’s been a while since my last post, while I have been working on two new proof-of-concepts for some new clock displays. Both of these displays employ magnetic coupling – attraction and repulsion – to animate elements (segments / flippers) of a numeric display that will be incorporated into a clock.

The first is a single 7-segment digit for a new POP-UP CLOCK.

Pop-UP Clock: Single 7-segment Digit

And the second, for The FLIPPING TIME CLOCK -is a 3×3 flipper array for a digit that displays numbers 0-9 as “pips” on a domino.

Flipper Clock Digit: Showing 3×3 array of flippers used to display the numbers 0-9 like pips on a domino

Interested in reading how these elements work????

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Elemental Clock

Simply put, the Elemental Clock uses three fundamental shapes – the square, triangle and circle – to display the current time in hours, minutes and seconds.

Elemental Clock

Elemental Clock: measuring 50cm x 16cm, displaying hours (square), minutes (triangle) and seconds (circle)

The design breaks apart the displayed elements of the common clock face, and repackages the “hands” into separate, distinct, and yet connected, representations of the measurement of time.

Elemental Clock

Elemental Clock:  under the watchful eye of the seconds circle, minutes traverse the three sides of the triangle, while the hours advance as each facet of the triangle is illuminated.

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Time Flows: time at its most fluid

“Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.”

….. Yasunari Kawabata, from the novel Beauty and Sadness (Utsukushisa to kanashimi to), 1964

Inspired by these beautiful and profound words, comes my prototype of “Time Flows“, a clock that displays the current time through the controlled movement of water.

Time Flows: showing fluid digit transitions starting from “1” to “2”, “2” to “3”, “3” to “4” and finally “4” to “5”. Turn off your sound so that you do not hear the whine of the air-pump… a problem yet to solve.


Time Flows

Time Flows: liquid 7-segment display showing the number 0

Indeed, the water in Time Flows does move both slowly and rapidly, and remains at rest – stagnant even – between updates. The quotation is quite apropos!

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LIFETIME Clock: The Game of Life with a new seed!

Introducing the LIFETIME Clock…

A clock that not only keeps precise time, but seeds and plays the Conway’s Game of Life with the current time.


LifeTime Clock: showing current time and the world of Conway’s Game of Life. Now sporting its new two-part enclosure machined from HDPE (High-Density PolyEthelene). Changes include a seconds “progress bar” at the bottom of the screen and a larger font used for the hours and minutes.

For the LIFETIME Clock, TIME becomes the seed for LIFE. 

Profound, huh!

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LightWriter Cricket

Hard on the heels of the LightWriter Clock project, comes my latest creation – LightWriter Cricket. This little critter writes the time with light onto a phosphorescent screen, and like the LightWriter, the displayed time just fades away until it is rewritten at the next minute. And, mirroring the ephemeral perception of time, each specific moment quickly fades into the past.

Here, LightWriter Cricket is seen writing out the time 14:13. Notice how quickly the display fades away such that the hours are almost totally invisible by the time the minutes are written.

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