The Author Clock Is a Word Clock With a Difference — It Pulls Entire Sentences From Literature

Not your average word clock, this connected ePaper display pulls down entire quotes from classic books to tell you the time.

A crowdfunding campaign to meld telling the time with classic literature is entering its final days having absolutely smashed its goal: the Author Clock, "a novel way to tell time."

"Author Clock transforms checking the time into a whimsical event, transporting you into key moments in literature and writing history," Jose Cardona, of project creator Mechanical Design Labs, explains. "Containing thousands of quotes from a diverse range of authors, Author Clock is a creative and inspiring way to tell time. If you love a good book and great story, this is the clock for you."

The Author Clock is a word clock with a difference, pulling entire quotes from classic literature. (📹: Mechanical Design Labs)

Word clocks are nothing new, but the Author Clock is something very different. A traditional word clock has the number spelled out as words, with the relevant numbers being lit from behind by LEDs; the Author Clock has an ePaper screen, and uses an entire sentence pulled from its database of literature.

The database includes 2,000 quotes, with the display updating every single minute. The quotes span a corpus six centuries wide, but they all have one thing in common: A reference to a time, such as "seventeen minutes to nine" or "half past eight," which is picked out in bold for convenience.

2,000 quotes is a lot, but at one a minute there's the risk of repetition. To keep things fresh, Mechanical Design Labs has given the Author Clock Wi-Fi connectivity for regular updates — and is requesting users submit any time-based quotations they have seen. There's also "Vague Mode," which makes things a little fuzzier — "about 3," "nearly 7," and so forth — on selected days.

The company has designed two Author Clocks. The smallest unit, unsurprisingly called the Small Author Clock, is designed for desk use and boasts a three-week battery life; the Large Author Clock is designed for wall mounting, though can also stand on any flat surface, and has a two-month battery life. Both cahrge via USB Type-C.

The campaign opened a month ago with a modest $20,000 goal; as it enters its final days, it has raised more than $1 million from nearly 7,000 backers. Many physical rewards have sold out, but a small number are still available starting at $119 for the Small and $229 for the Large Author Clocks. Delivery is expected to take place in April next year, and the company has pledged to plant a tree for every unit sold — to eliminate the environmental impact of its wooden housing.

More information is available on the project's Kickstarter campaign page.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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