I taught Physics at the high school level for over 20 years, and one of the topics was “Wave Phenomena.” One inspirational day I asked myself: “How can the wave concept be applied to telling time?” After hours of thinking and rethinking the idea, I have come up with two independent and creative wave watches—Triple Wave and Wave Height—which I will discuss and diagram separately. Both are compelling in their own way, and both dials have the look of an oscilloscope, which is a scientific apparatus designed to visualize wave patterns.
But first, a brief overview of waves. A wave can be visually presented as a sine curve. The labeled diagram below of one complete wave details this curve more fully.
The length of one complete wave is called the wavelength. The height of the wave, from rest position to crest, is called the amplitude. Based on the concept of a circle being 360 degrees, one complete wave represents 360 degrees. A series of consecutive waves is called a wave train.
That’s about all you need to know, so let’s get started!
TRIPLE WAVE WATCH
As shown in the labeled diagram below, this timepiece consists of 3 separate wave trains in 3 colors: blue, red and green.
A. Blue (hours): The total number of crests and troughs, added together, represent the hours.
B. Red (minutes): The total number of crests and troughs, added together, represent the minutes, in multiples of ten. In other words, a total of two crests and one trough equals 30 minutes; three crests and two troughs equals 50 minutes.
C. Green (minutes): The total number of crests and troughs, added together, represent individual minutes. These add to the minutes gotten with the red wave train. In other words, if the red wave train shows 50 minutes (see B, above), and the green wave train has 4 crests and 3 troughs, the total minutes is 57.
The height, or amplitude, of the wave trains does not change; only the wavelength—or number of crests and troughs—changes.
The display is LED, and is not constantly on (to conserve battery life), but is displayed for 12 seconds with the press of a button.
The date can be displayed by depressing the button twice. The blue wave train would be months, and the red and green wave trains would be days, in the same fashion as the time function.
WAVE HEIGHT WATCH
With this design, the height , or amplitude, of the wave changes; the wavelength does not change. In other words, the green wave train remains unchanged in length, with 3 crests and three troughs, or 3 complete waves. The height, or amplitude, however, will change with a change of time or date. The labeled diagram below will help greatly to explain time-telling with this design.
A. Hours: Each wave section above the rest position (from rest to crest and from crest to rest) and each wave section below the rest position (from rest to trough and from trough to rest) is numbered sequentially, 1-12, and represent the hours. At any given time, the entire wave train is lit (LED), with the sections representing hours in a blinking mode. In other words, if it is 9 o’clock, sections 1-9 will blink, with 10-12 constantly lit.
B. Minutes: These are represented by wave height, in multiples of 10. In other words, if it is 9:50, sections 1-9 will be blinking, the wave crest will be “5” above the rest position, and the wave trough will be “-5” below the rest position.
The 9 dots at the bottom of the dial represent individual minutes, and add to
the minutes gotten from the wave height. In other words, if it is 7:32, the first 7 numbered wave segments will be blinking, the wave height will be “3” above and “-3” below the rest position, and 2 dots will be lit. The dot at the extreme bottom right indicates AM (unlit) or PM (lit).
The display is LED, and is not constantly on (to conserve battery life), but is displayed for 15 seconds with the press of a button, to provide ample time to count and calculate. (Note: On the actual dial, the red numbers 1-12 will not be present, but the numbers on the right side will be, for ease of reading amplitude, or minutes.)
The date can be displayed by depressing the button twice. The month is calculated in a manner similar to hours in the “time” mode. The day of the month is calculated in a manner similar to minutes in the “time” mode.