Fibonacci Clock

Posted: May 13, 2015

Philippe Chretien created his Fibonacci Clock for "nerds with style." And, more importantly, nerds with the smarts to perform complex mathematical equations in their head whenever they want to use the Fibonacci Clock to tell time. Well, reasonably complex mathematical equations. OK, addition and multiplication.

The Fibonacci Clock depicts the first 5 terms in the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, and 5. Each number is represented by a square whose side length corresponds to its value (i.e., the 1s are the smallest squares, and 5 is the largest). Squares alight according to the hours and minutes in red, green, blue, or white. Red squares indicate hour values, green squares minute values, and blue squares both hour and minute values simultaneously. Squares go white when they're serving as placeholders, and don't apply to the current time.

To read the Fibonacci Clock, total up both the red and blue squares' Fibonacci numbers to determine the hour. To read the minutes, total the same using the green and blue squares, and then--then!--multiply that result by 5. Because minutes are displayed in 5-minute increments from 0 to 12, an additional step/layer of mathematical merriment is necessary.

As you may have guessed, the Fibonacci Clock allows for multiple ways of displaying the same time. Chretien had some fun with this by programming the clock to select random combinations from all the different ways a number can be displayed so you'll never know which of the 16 possible ways of alighting 6:30 Fibonacci will use.

For those who just want a light without the calculating, the mode button on the back of the clock will turn it into a "modern version of the lava lamp." And if that's still not good enough for you Chretien is keeping his design open-source. The Fibonacci clock is driven by an Atmega328 micro-controller running Arduino, so feel free to change the code running it.

The Fibonacci Clock will be available for pledging on Kickstarter through June 5, 2015.

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