Synchronous Stone (3/31/2010)


Here’s a short summary of a concept that would synchronize the lives of two people.

Two users would each have a small hand held device in the shape of a stone that is network connected and paired with a second identical device.  Embedded within the stone is a temperature sensor and force sensing resistor, which in tandem can determine when someone is holding the device.  When held for prolonged periods, and the device’s sensed temperature passes a threshold, it signals through a network to the other device.  A couple would hold the stone when thinking of the other, synchronizing their thoughts of one another and keeping their individual experiences connected in some way.  Using a pager motor and an LED, the devices communicate to one user when the other is connected.  The LED lightens and dims based on the temperature of the other device, and the pager motor vibrates when a new session begins.

Gear Simulation in Solidworks (2/25/2010)

Test of Simulated Gears in Solidworks from Noah King on Vimeo.

After learning about gearing and simple geared mechanisms today, I thought I would try to simulate this type of physical movement in solidworks. After constructing several gear shapes, it was fairly easy to get them dynamically moving with one another. I’m definitely looking forward to building some complex contraptions using this workflow as a development tool.

The Speed of Innovation (2/24/2010)



Project Overview:

Theme: The scale of time increments

There are approximately 365.242199 days in a year. But that number is changing…constantly. Atomic clocks count 9,192,631,770 cycles per second of the cesium-133 atoms to maintain a precise second. Time operates differently depending on the scale of the time increment. Our perception of time is often bound by measurements of time that we cannot perceive. How can we reinterpret these out-of-scale increments into increments we can understand?


Build a relational clock that corresponds to a time scale that is not normally perceivable to humans. How can we visualize an imperceivable increment in relation to a perceivable increment?

Our group was comprised of: Alex Vessels, Patricia Adler, and Digital Noah.


Initial Ideas:

We began exploring ideas visualizing destruction in the world. One developed concept was to print lots of iconic symbols of natural resources on a long roll of paper, and then pass the paper through a hand-cranked shredder. As we thought together about developing this idea, it occurred to us to make the speed of the shredder accelerate to represent the acceleration of resource depletion.

As we focused more and more on the concept of time acceleration, the direction of our project changed all together.


Selected Concept: Acceleration of Time

The very notion of time being flexible is quite amazing. We treat time as a constant, when in reality it is quite abstract and mutable. This is particularly clear when you focus on the in-between times, rather than on the time increments themselves: What if you measured time by the intervals in between significant events? Depending on your scope, time could be perceived as accelerating, decelerating or stable. If you consider the creation of matter and the universe, then time is decelerating as many initial significant changes took place quite rapidly and now matter shifts slowly over billions of years. Meanwhile, if you look at the evolution of intelligence, time is is accelerating, as fewer and fewer years separate the changes of highly intelligent life forms.

For the scope of our project, we focused directly on the intervals of time between significant inventions in human society.

Kurzweil’s Work:

The concept of time acceleration and deceleration has been explored in great detail by many scientist and thinkers, one of whom is Ray Kurzweil. In his book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, he writes extensively about the history of the universe and shows how it is both accelerating and decelerating. To read more of Kurzweil’s writing, follow this link.


Wikipedia Content:

Looking for data to read through and analyze, we stumbled on this wikipedia page. We scrubbed through the data, extracted much of it into a spreadsheet, and then wrote a Processing sketch to visualize this data.


Our Visualization:


Click here for the Interactive Processing Sketch.

Suicide Clock (2/10/2010)

In the Time class last week, we had a great discussion about the concept of creep. It is when a material changes over time as the result of stress. The stress could be moisture, gravity, tension, temperature change, etc.

Thinking about this concept, I saw a trend that creep tends to happen very slowly over time. And it tends to be a hindrance, rather than an addition to any design or construction. So I began thinking about what creep could look like at a very fast rate and how to build the concept of creep into a design, rather than try to work around it. Thus the suicide clock was born.

Suicide Clock - Version 1, wired to breadboard

Suicide Clock - Version 1, wired to breadboard

Suicide Clock Close-Up

Suicide Clock Close-Up

Suicide Clock Ultra-Close-Up of Circuit

Suicide Clock Ultra-Close-Up of Circuit

The concept of this clock is that it does not measure time in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, etc. Rather it measures the time between each one of it’s death/resuscitation cycles. When switched on, a circuit is connected which sends power to a solenoid. When the solenoid fires, it disconnects the circuit and causes the the machine’s electrical death. But once it dies, gravity forces the circuit to connect again, and the solenoid fires once more. This cycle happens over and over, keeping time.

Suicide Clock in Action from Noah King on Vimeo.

Suicide Clock Ultra Close Up from Noah King on Vimeo.

Digestive Clock (2/03/2010)

With the intent of designing a time keeping device that is based off of a human life cycle, the concept for a clock which mimics the body’s digestive process was conceived.


For most people, the timing of our meals and our trips to the bathroom are fairly regular and a framework for measuring the passing of time. Not only is this approach novel and unique, but it would likely encourage people to be more connected to their body, more aware of the food they are putting into themselves, and more aware of the extremely important cycle of flushing waste from our systems.

The initial concept emerged as a alternative type of hour glass. Rather than sand falling from one conical section to another, instead food and liquids would pass from virtual mouth to virtual anus. The details of the form were developed in a series of sketches in which the human digestive system was incrementally abstracted.


Combining inspiration from the steampunk aesthetic found in the below lamp by Frank Buchwald and the classical chemistry set shown below, a developed form was created.

Frank Buchwald_steamp punk lamp

chemistry set

Developed Concept Sketch

Developed Concept Sketch

To visualize the idea, Processing was employed to program an animation of particles moving through the clock and measuring the cycles of a day. The below sketch indicates the intended design of a simple processing test in which a single particle would move along a curving path.

Illustration of intended Processing sketch

Illustration of intended Processing sketch

Unfortunately, the needed curving movement was much more difficult to program than originally estimated due to the complex math involved to capture the curvature of the path. Several equations were investigated in Grapher, seen below, to begin to flesh out this program, but much more resource will be needed to implement the idea as an animation.

Grapher equations for curved paths

Grapher equations for curved paths

At this point in time, the concept has been visualized to communicate the form and styling of the piece.


It is still under debate whether a user would “feed” the clock throughout the day to match their own eating schedule, or whether the clock would recycle the liquid and solid elements, much like a fountain. The daily cycle would include several feedings, several liquid waste expulsions, and one single solid waste expulsion. The concept of sleep would be of importance as well, as it’s function within digestion is thought to be critical.

Consistent with the overarching message and spirited tone of the book, “Everybody Poops,” this clock is intended to be universally appealing and engaging to all human beings.

Thinking about Einstein’s theory of General Relativity in relationship to Time. (1/27/2010)

The earth is in constant motion as it orbits the sun and the sun orbits the galaxy, and so on and so on. Because I am moving with the earth, I cannot detect that it is moving. If I were in a vacuum or in a free-fall, any movement I were to create, such as dropping a ball, would be perceived in an identical fashion as if I were to create the same movement while on Earth, in my co-orbit with the Earth. The perception of movement is therefor relative to the speed you are traveling.

It is theorized that time slows down the faster than you move. If you were to move at the speed of light, time travel could be possible.

If you were to spin any object at a consistent number of revolutions per time frame, and measure its speed at any point, you would find that the speed at a point closer to the center of the object would be slower than a point further from the center. This makes perfect sense, as the circumference of a circle increases as the radius increases. Being further from the center implies a larger radius, which implies a larger circumference. With an identical number of revolutions, a larger circumference point must move faster to rotate at the same rate as a smaller circumference point.

Therefor, if an object is at a higher altitude on the earth, it is moving faster than an object at a lower altitude. Therefor, at higher altitudes a person or other time measuring instrument would be moving faster and time would slow down. The degree to which this is happening could be measured by determining the change in radius, which would be the distance from the Earth’s center to a point at sea level, plus or minus any altitude.