Our caveman ancestors would be proud of this one, a French Engineer has finally brought the good ol' sundial into the digital age!
People have been using sundials since time immemorial but noone has expected it to be upgraded into the 21st century. French Engineer, Mojoptix did exactly that though and he has created a 3D-printed sundial that displays the time by casting '80s-style digital numbers into its own shadow.
It's based on a very simple principle that treats the sun as a backlight to a series of analogue pixels in the triangular part of the sundial (called the Gnomom) that are calibrated to precise angles. As the earth spins on its axis and the position of the sun shifts in the sky, it shines through the holes that correspond to the readout for that time. For example, when it is 10am, you'll see 10am projected as a digital readout.
Checkout the Sundial below by Mojoptix:
There are a few issues with it though. It doesn't work at night for some reason and is only accurate between the hours of 10am and 4pm. It also only tells the time in 20 minute intervals, so don't rely on it to get you to a job interview on time.
Having said that it's incredibly eco-friendly and uses pure sunlight only to tell you the time. It served our ancestors well over 3600 years ago and I think this is a pretty good upgrade!
If you want one for yourself, you can get one here from Etsy, alternately, you can make your own if you have a 3D printer as they have open sourced the plans. Check out out the tutorial video below too to see it in action!
I think this is a really cool gadget and it's about time someone brought the humble sundial into the 21st century!
H/T: Science Alert