Digital Sundial

Very clever. Depending on the angle of the sun it either cuts off the light (zero) or lets it though (one).

You can get on on eBay here for $13.99.



Not so clever - rather nice to look at.
If you know the exact longitude where you are (to horizontally arrange the “thing” looking to the true local noon) and you know the exact latitude where you are (to vertically position the “thing’s” arm perpendicularly to the noon sun)… you should know the true local time without any gadget.

Like any sundial, this gadget will not take care of the Equation of Time, about ±15 time minutes throughout the year, to determine the true North or South.

Therefore, it just translates an approximate analog time to an approximate digital time.

In short, a toy.

Not at all, they are, right now, using this device to replace the failed timing device that caused the EU’s GNSS system to go down.

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It’s the cleverness of the internal structure that produces numbers that’s the point here. Sort of thing that is more or less impossible without 3D printing.

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…and if there is no sun, they fall back on a high-precision hourglass.