My second project at GK Tech was an installation for Miraikan science museum in Odaiba. The theme of this exhibit was "running with relativity" and it was designed to teach children about Einstein's theory.

The installation consisted of a long rail with one movable and three stationary clocks accompanied with large digital displays. Running along the rail with the movable clock in hand, "slowing down" of time could be observed as a difference with the stationary clocks' hands as well as a numeric display redout. Of course, the effect was rather exaggerated to make the difference noticeable, with light-speed set at the running speed of an olympic sprinter. The running distance is reduced accordingly and the stationary clocks are positioned such that a runner covers the relative distace from Earth to the International Space Station, followed by Moon and finally the Sun. The journey still makes up for a pretty long rail.. ;)

My part in the electronics hardware for the project involved the design of three digital display boards and four clock controllers. The latter used hand movement electronics from an atomic radio clock, controlling sequence of which turned out to be rather tricky. The moving clock also featured a photosensor circuit for gauging running speed along the rail and a 9-led speed indicator. After many hours of debugging and firmware proofing, all parts of the project were finished, working and talking to each other just before deadline in April 2004. The installation then traveled along with several other science exhibits to mainland China and Mexico before coming back to Japan.

GK Tech

Miraikan Science Museum

Serially-controlled board for 6 numeric displays and a reset button input.
Prototyping board connected to a hand mechanism.. this hardware is mounted inside the white clocks.
Moving and stationary clock hands and digital display about to be reset.
GK Tech President Ryuichi Iwamasa running with relativity ;)
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