Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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m-Escher-ing time

an impossible clock made possible
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The three dimensional, three-sided clock face appears as if looking into the corner of an open box. Along the sides, snakes a continuous track made up of shelves and ramps. Steel balls roll on the track and act as counters for hours, ten minutes, minutes, ten seconds and seconds. The balls enter and exit the track via doorways.

Every second, a ball rolls onto the track and stops by the others displaying the seconds. When the tenth ball arrives, the first ball follows the track to the ten seconds display, and the other nine exit through a doorway. When there are six balls in the ten seconds display, the first continues to the queue of minute balls and the others exit. This continues through to an hour display.

All exiting balls are returned to the entrance doorway by gravity. Since one side’s horizontal track is another’s vertical, the balls must be held and moved on the track by magnets (linear or on a belt), hidden in the track. Thus, the balls tell time while seemingly rolling on impossible planes.

FarmerJohn, Dec 20 2002

Escher-like drawing http://www.geocitie...ohnnie/mescher.html
the time is now 4:26:43 [FarmerJohn, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Escher's "Staircase" http://www.cosmic-l...t/htm/staircase.htm
UB's salamanders [FarmerJohn, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Ball Bearing Clock http://www.dansdata.com/timemachine.htm
Existing ball-rolling timepiece (not as cool as this idea) [neutrinos_shadow, Jun 04 2007]

[link]






       best yet - love it. however there really ought to be people lolling out of the windows and sitting on the stairs holding their heads in despair.
po, Dec 20 2002
  

       Just don't let Bowie get in there. He'd pick up three balls, start spinning them about in his hand and mess the whole thing up.
sild, Dec 20 2002
  

       "I'm walking in Escher's world again. Rise up, you nimble-minded men." (+)
Pharaoh Mobius, Dec 20 2002
  

       My morning must be looking up, another amazingly beautiful clock to marvel at and a labyrinth annotation.
Isis, Dec 20 2002
  

       Allright who fishboned this? Least you could do is give a reason. +   

       i like this, a clock that looks like an escher drawing, with marbles that cling underneath with magnets. we had a steel ball clock about 20 years ago. it was funny, my sister had a slumber party once, and the noise that one am made (when all the balls rolled down and rattled) scared all the girls.   

       escher rocks!   

       croisant
-wess, Dec 20 2002
  

       Looking closely, if the ramp levels were spaced out a little more so that the entire spiral actually runs downhill, the only part of this clock that actually needs magnet assist is the right side, where the marbles roll on a side-plane.   

       It'd be real fun watching the rollover from 12:59:59 to 1:00.
RayfordSteele, Dec 20 2002
  

       Very fine. The collison of Escher and FJ was inevitable, but never did I think it would be this satisfying.
Ludwig, Dec 20 2002
  

       [farmer] I swear you have hung your picture up the wrong way. I have to look at it in the manner of a :)
po, Dec 20 2002
  

       You sort of have to wobble your noggin to take it all in.
FarmerJohn, Dec 20 2002
  

       truly wobbled. :)
po, Dec 20 2002
  

       Fantastic idea. Great illustration too. Now can you figure a way to make the third plane work too? (A third plane of reference)
energy guy, Jan 05 2005
  

       I couldn't get my head around it until I did the [po] trick. I'm waiting for the magical day when [FJ] finds out that his neighbour is an insane horologist with too much time on his hands.
wagster, Jul 19 2005
  

       I sit in awe. [+]
pertinax, Jun 03 2007
  
      
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