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This dynamic timepiece has three concentric circular tracks (second, minute and hour rings) trafficked by four steel balls. Three of the balls show the time, and a fourth races counterclockwise around the tracks to then strike one of the others. Like in a Newtons cradle, its momentum is transferred
to the struck ball which continues the journey, leaving the striking ball stationary one step clockwise.
The Newtons Clock lies flat on a table, in a lobby or a mall, and the balls speed and direction are controlled with electromagnets. Tracks also spiral in and out between the circular tracks to cause for example a 60 minute ball to become a 5 hour ball and the old hour ball to travel to the ring for seconds.
At 60 rpm, the primary clock movement is a ball speeding around the outer track, counting off the seconds with a tick, tick, tick as each one hits and exchanges energy with its companion to then take up a new position on the clock face. At intervals, a ball is steered inward to the minute ring to modify its position. The old minute ball returns to the outer ring unless its also time to alter the hour ball on the innermost ring.
It should be fascinating to watch the balls circular sprint and the rapid appearance of new stationary balls in the opposite direction. At each new hour, all the balls would sequentially strike each other, swerving through circular and spiral tracks, in less than a second.
[FarmerJohn, Oct 05 2004]
||But can you wear it on your wrist?
And how big could you make it before Einstein muscles in? Would it work with particles?
||////You need to power it in some way.// Isn't that what the electromagnets are for?// Yes, acceleration, timing and track-switching.