Students create watch that measures your perception time

first_imgTwo students from Cornell University decided that they wanted to see if they could create a device that could actually measure the perception of time, rather than time itself. Inspired by the cliche “time flies when you’re having fun,” the two researchers, Brian Schiffer and Sima Mitra, created a chronograph that would give data to study human perception. The resulting timepiece was the TicTocTrac. While it looks like a simple wristwatch, giving you the current time is just a secondary function of the device.Schiffer and Mitra started the design of their project with the idea that it had to be both cheap and simple. By using a case that was made on a 3D printer — a Makerbot — and readily available off-the-shelf electronics the duo was able to build the device for a scant $55.26. Consisting of a small vibration motor, Piezo sensor (a fancy name for a motion and pressure sensor) and a microSD card, the TicTocTrac is a pretty simple electronic device to build.As far as tracking a person’s time perception, the TicTocTrac makes use of interval tasks. To start a perception measurement, you would simply tap the face of the watch to invoke the software stored on the microSD card to display a random amount of time to be estimated by the user. This is represented by the ring of small LED lights on the face. After tapping the watch once, a random interval ranging between 5 and 55 minutes will appear on the watch then disappear. The user wearing the device then taps the face again once they think the suggested amount of time has passed. The results are recorded to the microSD card and then transferred to a PC for analysis. A different researcher using the interval method for a year found that he perceived 12 additional hours had passed over the course of a year, which is a significant amount of time if you think about it.The first guinea pig for the TicTocTrac was Schiffer himself, you can check out a chart of the results by going to his data page. A quick glance will show that indeed when he’s doing something he enjoys time does fly for him. When he’s pulling an all-nighter working however, his perception of the amount of time that has passed changes radically.This would be an interesting science project for you to undertake with some other geeks or family members, it’s cheap enough to build and Schiffer and Mitra have provided all the plans and software in an open-source manner for you to work from. Let us know in the comments if you decide to create one yourself.Read more at the TicTocTrac page, via Hackaday. You can check out the gallery of images below.Inside the TicTocTracInside the TicTocTracSDTicTocTracquarterbackInCaselast_img

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