Sundials were the original clocks, long before clocks had even been invented! Devices can be found that date back thousands of years, all of which use the same principle as the more recent sundials – displaying the time by use of the suns position, which is shown on a dial.
There uses span centuries, although they have never been the easiest or most precise way to tell the time, which is why they were quickly replaced by mechanical clocks. But today you can enjoy the novelty of a sun dial that can display the time like a digital clock thanks to Etsy retailer Mojoptix.
The Digital Sundial is actually created using a 3D printer, which prints out a plastic baton that has a number of holes in them which are used to display the time. It took a fair amount of painstaking work to determine the position of the sun in the sky, which is used to determine a rough time estimate, which is then displayed through the holes as the sun penetrates them.
Unfortunately the device is somewhat limited, as it only works during certain periods of the day – from 10am – 4pm. During these times, the display only shows the time in 20 minute increments, meaning it isn’t the most accurate either.
The unassembled kit.