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.
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.
Miraikan Science Museum