MIT Hackers Bring Their Own Ahmed Clock to School

Maker News
MIT Hackers Bring Their Own Ahmed Clock to School
Photos: José Gómez-Márquez

In the wake of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest, the internet exploded with support for the Irving, Texas, teen.

The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed climbed to the top of trending tags Wednesday. Highlights included President Obama inviting Ahmed to bring his clock to the White House, and similarly supportive messages from Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, the Make: community, and people from every corner of the globe.

And today, hackers at MIT showed solidarity with Ahmed by erecting a huge seven-segment display with an #IStandWithAhmed sign in one of the main entrances of the university.

José Gómez-Márquez, an MIT medical device researcher who will be speaking at MakerCon next week, snapped photos of the giant clock as he passed through the hall, known as Lobby 7 at MIT, just before 10 a.m. By the time he backtracked at around 12:40 p.m., the clock was being taken down.

Gómez-Márquez says, “This is normal… [These hacks] go up in the middle of the night and MIT eventually takes them down.” The university employees who removed the clock said that the reason for doing so was concern over the device falling down. “Given that it was [near] a high traffic area,” says Gómez-Márquez, “that was their discretion.”


He was happy to see that those who removed the clock didn’t destroy the build. In fact, Gómez-Márquez says that it was removed “with the care of an archeologist.” As the clock was being brought down, Gómez-Márquez observed an Arduino Mega, lots of wires, and what he believes to be string LEDs to form the numbers.


UPDATE: Joseph Vella, the Facilities Team Director, is making sure the clock gets reunited with the hacker.

An in at MIT

MIT students and hackers are not the only people showing their support of Ahmed. MIT Astrophysicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein recently spoke with Ahmed on MSNBC, telling him, “You are my ideal student. A creative, independent thinker like you is the kind of person who should be becoming a physicist.” She invites him to come to MIT and tour their Center for Theoretical Physics. Watch their conversation below:

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Sophia is the managing editor of the Make: blog. When she’s not greasing editorial gears, she likes to run, ride, climb, and lift things, and make lo-tech goods like zines, desserts, and altered clothing. @sophiuhcamille

View more articles by Sophia Smith


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