[time-nuts] Solstice Puzzle

Jim Lux jimlux at earthlink.net
Sat Dec 17 11:53:47 EST 2011

On 12/16/11 10:04 PM, Neville Michie wrote:
> At this time of the year many people look for frivolous puzzles to solve.
> My puzzle is to design a clock.
> This clock consists of 6 cubes, each has a digit display on one face.
> It does not matter how you arrange them, if they are in a line they will
> display the
> right time. (there may also be a nearby box containing a Rb or GPS time
> standard.)
> A second or two may be needed for them to reorganise if they are moved.
> It must be possible to design them, but an elegant design has eluded me.

If you impose the minor requirement that  you cast off the shackles of 
Babylon and sexigesimality.. and just read decimal seconds.  Each block 
has a divide by 10 driving the display. it has a LED on the left side, 
and a photosensor on the right side.  If the box detects pulses coming 
in from the sensor it uses those to drive the counter, if it detects 
nothing, it uses an internal 1 pps source.

In any event sensor on the right, emitter on the left, is the basic 
strategy.  The one widget detecting nothing uses an internal oscillator. 
You could have it send an entire timecode (in HH:MM:SS form), and 
"receiver blocks" just have to count where they are in the chain to know 
which digits to display.  A simple way would be to do "heat or tail 

right hand unit sends out SMMHH.  Each block displays the first byte, 
sends the remaining ones on.

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