Xbee controlled, granite-wrapped clock travels into future

From the looks of it this clock is a couple of months ahead of its time. [Oscar] built the clock (translated) taking time to add a lot of goodies into the mix. First up, the parts you see include six large 7-segment displays for hours, minutes, and seconds as well as an LED marquee which can scroll messages. Inside there’s a temperature and humidity sensor for environmental feedback, and an Xbee module which allows for wireless computer control. Time is kept by a DS1307 real-time clock, which is read by an Arduino Uno, then pushed to the display by the pair of I2C addressable SAA1064 drivers. The whole thing was enclosed in four sheets of granite for the box, and a pane of glass for the front. We sure hope it’s well anchored to that wall. You can see it ticking away after the break.


  1. Chris Williams says:

    You know, not every country writes their dates MM/DD/YY…

  2. macegr says:

    Nice build. Also…in a lot of countries, they use DD-MM-YYYY.

  3. raver1975 says:

    If you look at the untranslated project page, the posting date is:
    I think the date format they use in their locale is:

    It’s a very nice build.

  4. Aleks Clark says:

    not everyone is silly enough to use middle-endian date formats you know…seriously, us-centric or what? whoever thought MIDDLE ENDIAN was a good way to write things? dd/mm/yyyy ftw

  5. Steve says:

    No time traveling. Day/Month/Year, I would assume, as that’s the standard in most of the world.

  6. Cold_Turkey says:

    Or it could be saying 3rd Jan 2011 as we read it in the UK

  7. Zaphod says:

    All of you people claiming that the clock is using DD-MM-YYYY formatted dates are out to lunch. That would imply that the US way isn’t the ONLY way to do things! That’s just SILLY!

    No, it’s much more likely that this clock builder has also incorporated temporal displacement technology into his clock.

    Seriously though, I’m guessing the Hackaday editors don’t get out of their home country very much…

  8. Jefff says:

    DD/MM/YYYY isn’t any better than the US way, it’s just consistently bad. YYYY/MM/DD, ftw.

  9. Curt says:

    YYYY-MM-DD is the ISO 8601 standard format, which is international. Regardless, that is a sweet clock!

  10. Shadyman says:

    D-MMM-YYYY ftw… 3-Jan-2011

  11. The Cageybee says:

    Perhaps time should be formatted in the same way yanks format dates.
    I mean, MM:HH:SS is a much better way of doing things.
    ‘At the third beep, the time will be 57:07:34 precisley’.
    You’ve got to admit, it’s got a nice ring to it.

  12. JC says:

    Maybe we should do dates in binary format.

  13. Marius says:

    Face it, the US way of writing dates is just retarded.

    YYYY-MM-DD is the best since it can be sorted alpha-numerically and chronologically at the same time, but even DD-MM-YYYY makes some kinda sense working from least to most significant.

    But for heaven’s sake… why would anyone use MM-DD-YYYY!?

    I’ve only been in the US for about 5 years… and have yet to understand why this was ever decided on in the first place.

  14. fahhem says:

    Ahem. Epoch times are the only times. 1296163313.

  15. Dan says:

    Stardate ftw.

    Posted at -311926.2617643328 by Dan

  16. Jason says:

    Pretty sure it was just a joke.

  17. rbjacobs says:

    Granite, breadboard and arduino make this a proper hack. Nice job!

  18. Prawnhead says:

    ISO FTW! GTFO US-dates! Posted on 2011-01-28 11:09 AM AEDST (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time)
    Now let’s see what time stamp this US-centric web site gives me.

  19. Nick says:

    We don’t say the 3rd of January in the United States, we say January 3rd, hence “MM.DD.YYYY (or YY). It’s a way of visualizing our speech patterns.
    And we have to be different. Obvi.

  20. m1ndtr1p says:

    Much like imperial and metric, the US is usually ass backwards… Hence why they use the mm/dd/yyyy format instead of dd/mm/yyyy or yyyy/mm/dd like everyone else does. So no, the clock is not ahead 2 months, its showing the CORRECT format for the date, IE: January 3rd 2011.

  21. seanfalloy says:

    Nice work on the clock. I would like to have that anywhere in my house except for the room im trying to fall asleep in. Way to bright for that.

    In canada dd/mm/yyyy is commonly accepted for date format and to me makes the most sense for the average ‘joe’ writing a date down (no unix time and the like)
    But the arguments on here got me thinking of why mm/dd/yyyy stared. and the only [somewhat] logical reason i can think of is that the month values will never be greater than 12 and the day values will never be greater than 31 and the year has no cap therefor if though of like that mm/dd/yyyy is ordered numerically from least to greatest.

  22. dan fruzzetti says:

    It says January 3rd. I thought it was like the 26th or 27th now.

  23. Menthol says:

    Speaking “January 3rd” is faster than “3rd of January,” and it’s confusing to record a date differently than how you construct it when spoken.

  24. Stevie says:

    The clock says 3rd Jan 2011. Simple.

    It’s just hat retarded americans swap the month and day around. The same way that they butcher some English words and swap words around in phrases so they can call it ‘American English’.

  25. Haku says:

    Ah yes, ‘American English’, or as I like to call it, ‘Bastardised English’

    It has bugged me in the past when I’ve bought digital wristwatches (mostly Casio) that display the date as MM-DD or MM-DD-YYYY. But I’ve stopped wearing a wristwatch since I’m not so shackled to specific times of the day anymore.

  26. Laurence says:

    awww poor americans :(

    stop being mean xD

    what did they do to us?

  27. Gues7 says:

    OMG, Someone is wrong ON THE INTERNET! must fix must fix must fix…

  28. SuRgE says:

    “America’s greatest tragedy happened on 11/9″ Doesn’t flow as well.

  29. DudeBro says:

    I think you’re really going a bit far with the insults here. Someone already explained that Americans SAY the date with the month first, organising it in writing the same way makes sense. I agree that it’s stupid and leads to much confusion, but it makes sense.

    Also, your “Bastardised English” would be the english everyone was speaking/writing before the British decided they liked how the French put the letter U in everything.

    One more thing! It’s daylight saving time. There is no ‘s’ on on saving.

    Thread complete. :D

  30. M4CGYV3R says:

    @Stevie: Yep, that’s right. It’s obviously us Americans and our hats.

    MM-DD-YYYY is the correct way to write it because when you read the long form of the date you say “January Twenty-Seventh, Twenty-Eleven” not “Twenty-Seventh January, Twenty-Eleven”. That is, unless you’re a retarded sailor from the 40s…

  31. salec says:

    For easiest comparing and sorting of timemarks, YYYYMMDDhhmmss, 14 decimal figures, which is 41 bits, or 6 bytes if you can’t be bothered to pack it nicesly. However, mm and ss can both be stored in 6 bits, hh and DD in 5, MM in 4 and YYYY … well, it depends how long in the future we wish to use the same format.

    So far, we have: 6+6+5+5+4 = 26 bits for timestamps without years. There is remaining space of 6 bits in last byte, but it wont give us wiggle space for even one whole century, so we need to add at least one more byte to the total of five, which gives us 16384 total years before we need to switch formats.

    Incidentally, 16384 > 9999 > 8192, so it is also minimum number of bits to completely cover a four-decimal-digits years’ field.

  32. Fuzzcraft says:

    @M4CGYV3R: has it occured to you that a large part of the world actually pronounce the long form as “three January two thousand eleven?” (well, obviously not in English of course). Now why would we Europeans write the short form as DD-MM-YYYY?

  33. Brandano says:

    Cageybee: perhaps you meant MM:SS:HH?

  34. error404 says:

    dd-mm-yyyy or yyyy-mm-dd are the only sensible formats.

    Given the confusion that results when encountering a date of the format nn-nn-nnnn, the only practical choice is yyyy-mm-dd.

    In Canada both dd-mm and mm-dd are used with some regularity so you never know what the fuck is going on. It’s really irritating.

  35. Alan says:

    I write my dates YYDM-DY-YM.

  36. loonquawl says:

    $0.01 for the first thought on backwards notation pervading human transcript systems….

  37. echodelta says:

    Along with 12hour time we Americans have it screwed up. No wonder we are behind in math. From well before kindergarten we are accustomed to counting without zero, and numbers out of sequence. It’s still the middle ages. 201128011016GMT

  38. Jim says:

    Day rolls into month then rolls into year. Simple. Day-Month-Year and Year-Month-Day are just the date equivalents of ‘little endian’ and ‘big endian’ data storage. However Month-Day-Year has no obvious rational to me, it seems analogous to swapping the time about to show as Hour:Seconds:Minute! When dealing with people in the USA, I now consciously write the date with the month as a word (i.e. ‘September’) to avoid just such confusion.

  39. echodelta says:

    See I goofed, 201101281023GMT now

  40. SelfSilent says:

    When someone asks you the date, surely you should start with the information that they are probably looking for first, the day.
    Unless they have been in a coma I’d guess they know what month it was and apart from time travellers I’d imagine everyone knows what year it is.

    The Yank method makes no sense written down.

    The English language is made up of old English and bits of other European languages. American is made up of the modern day English language.

    Problem is, the initial settlers that we sent wouldn’t have been the clever ones. Imagine if we had sent all the intelligent English over and they had died in a ship wreck!
    So it seemed natural to send over the “short on brains”. Even when they made it there, none of the Intelligent English wanted to go and live in a 3rd world country as it was back then.
    So, for a long long time, the “short on brains” settlers that we sent, who clearly had poor schooling, got many spellings, ideas and standards incorrect. Due to the fact that there was no one there to correct it, it got out of control and what we see today is the result.

    A country stuck using old methods that were incorrect from the beginning. Being such a new country they haven’t yet learned to joke about themselves as they see themselves at the top of the ladder and they have to show aggression to stay up there.

  41. ProfP says:

    The US date thing can work in Europes favour – thanks to the ambiguity of mm-dd versus dd-mm, I was able to ‘legally’ drink several months prior to my 21st birthday in the US…

  42. Bob says:

    @DudeBro It is not daylight saving time, it is British Summer Time :)

  43. Stevie says:

    Most sane people would say ‘3rd of January’. But of course the Americans being so big headed and retarded as they are, have to change it to be read ‘January the 3rd’.

    Would they give directions backwards also? ‘Yeah mate no problem, you turn right after you’ve turned left and then go straight’.

    Fecking ‘canos

  44. exo says:

    Oh you gringos think you are the only ones in the world!
    Lot’s of places use dd/mm/yy

  45. Raus says:

    Take into account that, in Spain, usual date format is DD/MM/YYYY rather than MM/DD/YYYY, so it’s not really in the future but some weeks ago ;)

  46. alan says:

    @stevie no one i know here in america says “the” when saying the time. you added “the” just to make your point go in your favor.

    whats wrong with saying “january 3rd”? your way we have to say 3rd OF january.

  47. 0x4368726973 says:

    My co-workers are always confused with my dates. I called the log sheet from yesterday 20110127. Makes it much easier to find it than if I wrote it any other way.

  48. MrLard says:

    Nice clock, I prefer GCC to Arduino, gonna have to write some scripts to convert shared (stolen) Arduino code to GCC though.


    @profp When you get on a ferry in England, you can legally drink beer ‘n’ wines at 16. Strange the US let you drive at 15 in most states, cars=good, booze=bad. I like Japanese (big-endian) dates, I’m a shell guy.

    @0x4368726973 (Chris ;-) ) I commend your lack of Obfuscation my dear boy, keep filenames short.

    On this day, Friday the twenty-eighth day of January, in the year of our Lord Two-thousand and eleven.


    bash$ date
    Fri Jan 28 19:24:46 GMT 2011


    bash$ date -R (date and time in RFC 2822 format.)
    Fri, 28 Jan 2011 19:26:24 +0000

    (do notice the +0000, internet time is set to GMT :-P )

  49. Aleks Clark says:

    the telling part is that he assumed that the guy who just fabbed an amazing clock wasn’t smart enough to set it correctly, instead of thinking “maybe he’s not AMERICAN”…you would have thought the fact that he had to use google translate was a clue, but hey, welcome to today’s HaD….

  50. third says:

    Of course you write dates the way you say them. You say “January 3rd 2011″ so that becomes 01/03/2011. Similarly, 10:03AN means “ten past three in the afternoon”. Weird clock, suddenly jumping towards the future one hour.

    Damn it HaD, this is bad, even for you.

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