[ZinoAward] Best misapplied technology: the remanence clock

I’m pretty damn sure the people who invented that clock didn’t think of it as the most efficient bug-swatting device out there.

First thing first: What Is It?

This clock is based on the same principle as movies: your eyes retain any image image for a few micro-seconds, so any frequency above a certain threshold appears as movement, even though it’s a collection of stills. In theaters, the frequency is 24 images per second, and on TV, depending on where you live, it ranges from 25 to 30-ish.

This clock is made of something that resembles a windshield wiper, and with the same type of motion, only it makes roughly 20 round trips per second. At the top of the wiper, a line of lights is set. To write a message seemingly on nothing, the lights turn on when they reach a certain position, corresponding to the columns in a matrix (see diagram). Since it takes less than 1/20th of a second to make a swipe, the message seems to be written in thin air.

By now, most geeks out there are like “yea ok, cool thing, but it’s nothing new”. True. Where it becomes a genuinely interesting item is in the behavior of bugs at night: they are drawn to bright lights. And it is a LED white ramp, which means it’s very bright indeed… and when the bug reaches the place where the light should be there’s nothing except a wiper that moves really fast. Blam!

So far, my clock has swatted a bunch of mosquitos (I haven’t been bitten in a month), flies, and even a wasp.

It smells nothing, doesn’t get hot or cold, is completely silent, and deadly efficient.

So this wonderful invention gets the ZinoAward of the best misapplied technology hands down!


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