| Special to The Ledger
Google had only been around a few years when a game using the search engine started going around the Internet: Using Google, type in two words. The person who got the least matches won the round.
I’d get ’em every time! The winning combo: digital sundial.
Yes! I mean, seriously. That pairing was like a zebra unicorn in the real world. Who even HEARD of such …
…I just typed “digital sundial” into Google. The phrase produced 2,490,000 matches. As it turns out, digital sundials are for real. And they work using only sunlight. And, of course, a shadow.
The sundial is a little like your garden variety, which has a rod-like arm or triangle-like object centered in a circle of numbers. The shadow cast by the rod moves across the dial, indicating the approximate time of day.
The digital sundial sits on a table. Or the concrete floor of a patio. It sits in direct sunlight, at any rate. It is held in an adjustable base, and looks a little like a television’s remote control. On close examination, the “control” is riddled with tiny holes. Sunlight passes through them, and inside the shadow created by the sundial appear white dots made by the sun, which show the time with digits.
There are no moving parts. Well, one, if you count the Earth’s rotation.
If the sundial sounds complex, it is. So much so, that it has to be made by a 3D printer. Depending on the speed of the printer, the sundial could take about 36 hours to print.
Once it’s up and running – whatever “running” means – it keeps track of time in intervals of 20 minutes: 1:00 will become 1:20, and then 1:40 and then 2:00. About twice a year, it will need an adjustment to bring it closer to actual time.
On the plus side, it will be a looooooooong time before the light source needs to be replaced.
The digital sundial has been with us for a long time, actually. Information about it was posted about five years ago. There are many websites selling them, but the original one seems to be this one: www.mojoptix.com.
That website also has a 15-minute video on the creation of the digital sundial. Use this link to reach it: www.tinyurl.com/DigiSundial.
The digital sundial can be purchased from this website, part of the Mojoptix site mentioned earlier: www.tinyurl.com/BuyDigiSundial. It’s about $40. Prices on other websites can range wildly.
So have a great time with that one. All you’ll need is a sunny day.
Lonnie Brown can be reached at [email protected]