The Bulbdial Clock

The Bulbdial Clock


Reinventing obsolete devices seems quite popular now, enter the “Bulbdial” concept –

I think we can all agree that sundials pretty much suck. They only have an hour hand, they don’t work at night or indoors, their accuracy changes with the seasons, and if you happen to live in the Southern hemisphere they run backwards. And yet, we all would love to be able to tell the time by looking at shadows, right?
The Bulbdial Clock has no hands — just one pole in the center of the clock, and three light sources of varying heights which revolve around the pole casting shadows. In the model illustrated above, the light sources are each attached to a ring which rotates around the pole. The innermost ring rotates once per minute, casting a “second hand” shadow. The middle ring rotates once per hour, and casts the “minute hand” shadow. And the outer ring rotates once every 12 hours, casting the “little hand” shadow.

It appears this design would necessitate indoor usage. Seems quite do-able with microccontroller + LEDs. – Bulbdial on Ironic Sans

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16 thoughts on “The Bulbdial Clock

  1. trialex says:

    That is freakin awesome

  2. Volkemon says:

    Very cool clock. I understand it, but never though of it!

    I imagine a polarized reflective background would help it in high ambient light conditions. I am ignorant as to how to construct such, however. Working on it.

    Now that the MAKE comment community can *hopefully* let Bre go and be the greatest he can :), may I put another thorn back beneath the saddle? “related” posts…that drag it out so long you forgot the genesis of your comment. Maybe little ‘click on them windows’ in a 4:1 area ratio (like the right hand 1/3 of my screen now…) One can see the related previous content, and click at will if it floats yer boat. But if it is ‘old hat’, it is not screens and screens of page down to the next yummy MAKE post……or the ever popular comments button.

    Just putting it on the table.

  3. Brian says:

    As long as we’re going with the theme of rings, why not make the rings out of track? Run some trains around with a spotlight car, and (soldering time!) throw in a speed controller that will keep proper time.

  4. JennaSys says:

    If you took this same concept, flipped it over and used a translucent face, I wonder if a backlit version would work as well. It would cast the shadows for the hands from the back, and just be blank when it wasn’t turned on. Then again, part of the appeal of this clock is seeing the mechanism that makes it work. Looks kind of Dali like in its design. I realize this is just a concept rendering, but what keeps one light from wiping out the shadow of another?

  5. Collin Cunningham says:

    re: “related:”s
    I understand where your coming from, and am currently experimenting with the format – see:

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