Bō Shuì

Mimicry Sundial: Time Ticking Digital Vibrance

with ChocolaX LabBo Shui, Yuan Gao

Rendered Image

Video can be accessed here from Mainland China.

A digital presentation of the traditional Chinese timekeeping tool, the sundial.

Extract the classical Chinese color scheme, map the passage of time and the poetic changes of sunlight, and present it as a time-series gradient of dial colors.

Referring to the observation method of traditional sundials, using polarization to project a 15-degree fan-shaped shadow onto the dial, which is about one 时辰(shí chén, approximately 2 hours in modern timekeeping methods), presenting the approximate time in the blurred light and shadow, it is not only an awe of tradition and nature, but also a moment of respite in modern digital life.

Sensing the proximity and gestures of the viewer, breathing in the subtle changes of light and color. It is a natural observation window for people in the digital world.


Main modules are shown in the figure above, other materials include:
Polarization Film, Breadboard, Soft Sulfuric Acid Paper, Wood Board, Hot-melt Glue, Iron Sheet.

Production Process
Production Process

Program Flow
Program Flow

Difficulties and Solutions

  • LED strip data interface exceeds the number of Digital Data interfaces on development boards
    Instead of assigning a color gradient to each strip individually, half of the strips are assigned a color using color mapping, and the rest of the strips are mapped to the assigned color, using half of the number of data interfaces to achieve the color rendering of the entire dial.

  • Gesture sensor not working erratically
    Use IR infrared sensor to assist in human body detection and implement somatosensory interaction.

  • Multi-threaded program RTOS running conflict
    The process of device startup, silent running process and device shutdown is controlled by utilizing the parameter changes of several global variables such as DeviceState, ButtonState and RunTime.

Product Display
Product Display Product Display

Included as a case in the textbook series Techniques for Interactive Art Installations for the Digital Media and Technology major in college.

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