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Designing A Clock That Never Repeats Itself

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I wanted to create a clock that would never repeat itself.

The original concept was about creating a matrix of 1 and 0’s. On and off.

If I have a 10 x 10 grid I would have enough ‘switches’ to fulfil the needs of a clock, 24 switches for the hours and 60 for the minutes.

My concept had nothing to do with the visual representation of time, more so, the theoretical representation of time.

The world operates on time, it’s the only finite resource that dictates all things in our perceived universe, yet it’s measured using numbers, which are not real.

I find it bizarre to measure time using a number, a man made indicator which by mathematical law is impossible to randomly generate.

There is no such thing as random, however I can simulate randomness by creating an endless number of outcomes. I programmed a controller logic which governs time across my matrix of switches


How the clock works

Imagine each square can be one of three states, High, Low and Off. These three states are shown using three colours, bright, dark and black (no colour at all). Each square can be controlled individually, and its programming logic is very limited. The only thing the square can do is set the colour of it’s square and it can do this 100 times a second.

Controller logic

The controller logic is the real brains behind this piece. Every few seconds it calls the world GMT clock and synchronises itself, it also works out the clocks geo-location and sends a call out to the global weather API to find the current temperature.

It now knows the exact time and weather based on the clocks location.


The weather is what dictates the colour of the squares. Artists have used the time of day and seasons to govern their colour palette. We do after all perceive the world from the tinted shades of temperature. The warmer the light the more orange and the colder the more blue. The logic takes the temperature and runs it through a algorithm to generate a RGB colour in real-time. A subtle, minute change in temperature will result in a subtle minute change in tone.


Each cycle, which is 1/100th of a second, the logic controller works out the time in 24 hour format. Let’s say for example that the time is 18:43, it splits the time into hours and minutes as a unit of value. 18 and 43.

The clock then rolls the dice, quite literally.

It rolls a dice to work out the row and column of the square it wishes to command. Once selected, it rolls another dice to decide if it will be a minute or an hour square. It then commands the square to remember it’s task and repeats the process equal to the number of hours and minutes. It does this in 1/1000th of a second. If a square has been commanded, it’s removed from the dice completely for this cycle.

At the end of this, the controller tells every square to change to it’s new task, a minute, hour or off indicator.

The result is a infinitely unique clock that never looks the same, yet always tells the time.

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I don’t think, from research and personal experience, the every day human understands the level at which technology is advancing. Sure, we