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Time Machine Mk. 8 Is a Very Cool Custom Wristwatch

Jul 07, 2023

Let's not kid ourselves; people don't wear wristwatches in order to keep track of the time — we're surrounded by clocks and all have smartphones in our pockets. People wear watches for style and to convey their personality. A gold Rolex, for example, tells people that you like to sell used cars with oil leaks plugged by chewing gum. But if your personality and interests are esoteric enough, there aren't any watches on the market that reflect your tastes. That's why Eric Min designed the very cool Time Machine Mk. 8 watch.

Min designed the Time Machine Mk. 8 during his mandatory service in the South Korean military. He found inspiration for the design in several of his interests, such as Formula One racing and anime. Instead of a traditional case, the Time Machine Mk. 8 has an exposed PCB. But that looks great thanks to a combination of the artistic layout, the contrasting traces, and the unique components.

The time shows up on a pair of tiny monochrome LCD screens. Additional information can come from five front-facing LEDs, two RGB LED back lights, two LED flood lights, and a piezo buzzer. On the input side, there are four tactile buttons and a hexadecimal rotary dial. There are also sensors, including a BME680 (temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and altitude), a three-axis accelerometer, and a MAX17048 to detect battery level.

A Microchip Technology SAM D21 microcontroller handles all of the functionality with C/C++ firmware written with the PlatformIO Atmel SAM framework. At this point, the features are quite limited and the firmware isn't making much use of all the hardware. But that hardware is there, so Min can introduce additional functions in the future.

As it stands, the Time Machine Mk. 8 is a neat wristwatch with a very unique design. It lets Min express his creativity and interests, which is exactly what a watch is supposed to do in our modern era.