Show and Tell Clock

It’s normal and widely accepted to approach people on the street and ask them for the time. The response to this is typically verbal or visual: people will show you their wrist watch, or announce the time. So when your clock is confused about what time it is, why not just show or tell it?

To the right is the clock I envision. It has a video camera built in at (1), capable of identifying a digital representation of time. Once a digital watch is placed in front of the video camera, the clock sets itself to display the time it read. Thought the general problem of image recognition is very difficult, this problem is far easier to solve, since every digital watch shows only 10 possible digits in each space, and has 4 spaces in total.

A microphone is hidden at (2), which listens for the key phrase “the time is”, and then parses the remainder of the announced time. As with video, the general problem of audio recognition is hard, but in this case we’re dealing with a very restricted domain of words, limited to single and double digit numbers.


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