Robot "Repairs" Clock By Pushing Minute Hand

Why replace a broken clock, when you can just get a robot to push the hands for you?

Jeremy Cook
4 months ago

When a clock breaks, the normal choices would be: fix it, replace it, do without, and for Hackster readers, strip for parts. Developer Hendrick, however, seems to have come up with another option: leave it broken, but program a four-axis robot to incrementally move the minute hand. It’s an unconventional choice, but as seen in the video below, who wouldn’t want a clock that functions in such an interesting manner?

The robot, named “Serworm Michael” – presumably in reference to its worm-like movements – features five DYNAMIXEL-XL330-M288-T servos, and a 3D-printed structure. No true gripper is implemented, but it instead uses a sort of pointy worm-beak to manipulate the timepiece.

Movement is handled by an Arduino MKR 1010 WiFi board with a DYNAMIXEL MKR shield, and a Raspberry Pi is responsible for higher level control and command line-based user interface. Programming the robot is accomplished by moving the arm into the correct position, using the command line interface to store movement data.

While it would certainly take some time to program an entire clock revolution, there’s really no limit to the other broken devices that could be “revived” this way. Perhaps a small fan could be turned by Screwworm Michael, or it could hit a snooze button, or even flip a light switch!

More info on the robot itself can be found on GitHub, along with Developer Hendrick’s website (in German).

Jeremy Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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