Watch Tells Time, Tracks Your Perception of Time

You might have replaced your wristwatch with your cellphone, but one cool timepiece might make you reconsider. It actually tracks your perception of time.

Just about everybody’s familiar with the relativistic time dilation phenomenon, even if they don’t know what it is. As Albert Einstein himself put it, if you happen to like women, talking to a pretty one might last a few hours but only seem like a few minutes, while you might accidentally put your hand on a hot stove for less than a second but it would feel like an eternity.

TicTocTrac watch

The TicTocTrac watch, which comes to us via Hack A Day, not only keep track of time, but also how much you’re actually looking at it. If you find yourself looking at your watch a lot, time will seem to be progressing slowly for you the more you check it. It’s like the old adage of a pot supposedly never boiling if you watch it, the physics of water boiling notwithstanding.

“Our perception of time is distorted constantly every day. Most of us are familiar with the old adage, time flies when you are having fun.’ This isn’t quite true,” the creators of the watch,” Brian Schiffer and Sima Matra, said on their project’s website. “A more accurate statement would be that our perception of time is proportional to the amount of new and intricate experiences we are observing. If you are practicing a new sport or working on a project that involves a lot of concentration then you perceive time as slower. Since you have been absorbing more information than usual, time seems like it has expanded and thus feels longer.”

The two are students at Cornell University who created the watch as a senior project.

The documentation is very detailed, and you can build one if you have some electronic know-how and access to a 3D printer. Even better, you can upload your time-tracking data up to the website.The device uses an SD card and some other components. The display is actually a classic analog-style clock using LEDs for the hand positions.

So how well does it work?

“Overall, we are really pleased with how TicTocTrac turned out. It works well as a clock, logs time perception tests & time checks, and allows all of this data to be viewed and kept track of. All of our main goals for this projects were satisfied,” the watch’s creators said.

If you want a watch that tracks your sleep, then check out my review of the aptly-named Sleeptracker watch. Stealthy types might like the Ninja Watch.