Saturday, November 06, 2010

Order confirmation

I ordered something at This certainly is the most unusual order confirmation message I've ever received. ;-)


Friday, November 05, 2010

Night and Day Globe

Due to a delayed flight I spent yesterday the afternoon at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport where I spotted a nice toy in the Gadget shop.

The more I looked into it the more I was impressed by its elegance, simplicity and sophistication. Although 'Made in China' it isn't cheap plastic and rubbish, it's based on a remarkable design by French inventor Fabien Vienne and protected by an EU patent.

This Day and Night Globe is a clock which has two revolution frequencies:
(1) The globe rotates around the sunshade once in 24 hours.
(2) The globe's axis itself revolves once per year.

Thus it displays accurately sunrise and sunset, the real solar time and the seasons simultaneously for every location on the earth. You can instantly see why the days are much shorter in Stockholm than in Zürich at this time of the year.

The clock is delivered in pieces and one needs to assemble it step by step which was quite fun - everything fit perfectly, the quality is much better than I expected (seeing the "Made in China" sticker on the box. ;-)

The base is an acrylic gear driven by a small electrical motor. This gear transforms the slow but still visible rotation of the motor gearwheel to one revolution of the whole system per year. It also drives the sunshade inside the globe which revolves once a day. It is quite heavy and made of nice, clear acrylic material; the axes are made of metal as you can see in the pictures.

First one has to attach the four support rods which will support the time ring.

The time ring is aligned in a way that midday (12 p.m.) matches exactely the 21st of December on the calender scale.

Next the globe support cup is inserted;

the teeth on the crown gear (three gear wheels in an 120° angle around the support cup) interlock with the teeth on the gear around the hole in the bottom of the southern hemisphere of the globe.

This gear will revolve the globe once a year around its axis.

Now the sunshade can be attached to the metal axis inside the globe - this axis will turn by 360° once in 24 hours.

On the day side of the sunshade a bright LED is attached - the electrical connection is installed in the metal axis.

On the LED there is a grey band. This band needs to be aligned parallel to the sunshade and will project a dawn area between night and day.

Now the globe can be closed.

The time can be set by aligning the date hand with the current day on the calender scale and turning the globe to a position that your reference city is aligned with its current time on the time ring.

Nice, isn't it? ;-)