Do You Know Where Your Children Are? Check The Weasley Clock

What’s the coolest thing you could build for a Harry Potter fan, aside from a working magic wand or Quidditch broomstick? We would have to say a Weasley clock that shows the whereabouts of everyone in the family is pretty high on the list, especially if that fan is a wife and mother.

Here’s how it works: they’ve set up geofences to define the boundaries of home, each person’s school or workplace, and so on. The family’s locations are tracked through their phones’ GPS using Home Assistant, which is hosted on a Raspberry Pi. Whenever someone’s location changes, the Pi alerts the clock over MQTT, and it moves the 3D-printed hands with servos.

The clock has some interesting granularity to it as well. As someone gets closer to home, their pointer’s distance reflects that in its proximity to the Home slice. And Home itself is divided into the main house and the shop and reflected by the pointer’s position.

We particularly like the attention to detail here, like the art poster used for the clock’s face that includes all the Weasley’s whereabouts in the background. It’s built into a thrift store grandmother clock, which is smaller than a grandfather clock but no less majestic. In the future there are plans to implement the clock’s chimes to announce that someone is back home.

No matter what you’re into, the whereabouts clock idea can probably fit that universe. For instance, here’s one that uses LEGO mini-fig heads to locate roommates.

16 thoughts on “Do You Know Where Your Children Are? Check The Weasley Clock

  1. Now your Big Brother Literally will know where you are

    I have mixed feelings about it –

    Its beautiful executed and it’s great idea and has lots of good use cases but then introduces a element of perceived mis-trust.

    Dad doesn’t trust me to be where I say I am going to be.

    I’m father and have kids a few kids I get the anxiety of knowing they are safe but I have to trust that they are doing / are where they say they are.

      1. Besides, everyone’s voluntarily running the GPS app to provide the position data. It’s not like he forced his kids to install it on their phones. Not every family is a fascist dictatorship.

  2. Very nicely done!

    I’ve been working on one myself, and have drafted and 3D printed the clockworks for 4 hands driven by stepper motors. The shafts are also 3D printed after bending the brass tubes more than I’d like while cutting them. All I have left to do is to model the hands, but now we are talking about being artistic in CAD which is a whole different skill-set. Once done I plan on releasing the files to the community.

    This is quite the project! Well done!

    1. Exactly my thought.

      On the other hand.. The clock is just for fun.
      And an ideal toy for Potter fans.
      If the kids agree to join that game, it’s okay.
      The may even feel safer, if the are, say disabled somehow (mentally or physically).
      Same goes for elderly people with, say, slight dementia..

      Otherwise, they should be able/be allowed to disable that tracking stuff without the family getting upset.
      Love and trust go hand in hand.

  3. The irony is that the builder persuaded his tech-reluctant spouse to install the tracking software on everyone’s phones (including the teens) NOT for helicopter parenting, but for this project – a full year before project completion so he could work out the bugs. The secret keepers were working overtime on this one!

  4. Suggestions!

    Many phone and watches now offer a “panic button” that sends your current location to a list of predefined sms contacts. If they hooked up a GSM shield to the pi, it could use that to trigger the “mortal peril” sign, and the chimes could then be activated by that to make a racket – just in case mother has left her phone on charge and doesn’t see it.

    If you weren’t using an original poster I’d add a “Secret Meeting” segment for people who’ve put the app into privacy mode.

    I’d love to do a project with a standing clock, but mine is based on Final Fantasy VI, not on Harry Potter!

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