Wonderful design case performed at CIID Summer School 2011 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Participants were asked to work on physical computing design concepts in a class given by Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino.
In this 48hr assignment, Arduino had to be used in a concept around ‘time’. Participants Gijs Huisman, Michael-Owen Liston and Giorgio Uboldi came up with the idea to design a very simple physical interface that would tell time in a rather unusual way. The lay-out and the material used would have to attract the user to interact with the design.Their design concept was called ‘Knock Clock’, which pretty much explains it right away
The inside of Knock Clock is built up with an Arduino Uno, a piezo element (which detects the knocking), a light sensor (which puts Knock Clock in alarm modus) and a servo-motor with a hand-made ‘hammer’ to knock the inside of the Knock Clock. The exterior was hand-made out of rest wood, found by the designers.
See the video below to illustrate how it works:
I think it shows a wonderful authentic way of interacting with a clock that feels natural, but also completely different of what we’re used to. I can see this work for blind people and I am sure there are similar products around that probably ‘talk’. The nice thing about knock-clock is that it gives that church-bell feeling of that you have to wait until the last bell to know what time it really is. This asks for a little patience, but enriches the experience as time (waiting) becomes part of the experience of knowing what time it is.