10th May 2014

The Human Clock: Time Told by People

What does time look like?

In our brains, we organise time in flashes of memory. It's about the moments we remember – not the hour and minute that an event occurred. So why aren’t clocks like that?

Could we tell what time by looking at a city's shared experiences?

Sharing time


Using Instagram’s API, the Human Clock takes a feed from any location and tracks images shared across the globe. Set the clock to the place you want and you’ll get a visual stream from that city.

You'll know that it's night time in Tokyo, as more photos of neon signs start to appear on screen. That New York is waking up because tourists are taking early morning snaps from the Brooklyn Bridge. Or that it’s lunch time in Dublin because of all the pics of fresh pints of Guinness ordered in bars.

Built with care (and power tools)

Cobbled together with off the shelf items from IKEA and liberal use of power tools we turned our back meeting room into a makeshift joinery.

For a bunch of pixel pushers, it was a rare opportunity to get our hands dirty with real work.

Ciaran Harris showing off the human clock

Time Pi's

Built using Raspberry Pi, Arduino boards and a couple of wifi dongles, the Human Clock is part of our ongoing experimentation with the internet of things.

With super-cheap components and a little coding time, we were able to piece together the clock over a few sessions at our Maker Friday workshops.

Read our interview with one of the Human Clock's makers, Ciaran Harris about The Internet of Things.