Design & Emotion Blog

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Knock, knock…. what time is it? – “Knock Clock”

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 🙂

Knock Clock

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:

Knock Clock from Giorgio Uboldi /// TRUO on Vimeo.

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.

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