Trying to keep track of your family’s whereabouts can be difficult at times, especially if you have a clan as extensive as the Weasley family from the Harry Potter franchise. Luckily, with a little bit of magical help, Mrs. Weasley can see where any one of her seven children, or her husband, might be on the family’s grandfather clock.
It’s a handy little contraption (wink), and I am sure we have all at some point wished, or feared, that such a thing could exist one day. Well, helicopter parents may now rejoice that they too can have their own magic stalker clock.
Students from the University of Munich have created their own version of the Weasley’s magic clock, but it takes replaces the magic with a healthy dose of technology. Through the use of GPS tracking and a mobile application, Frederik Brudy, Fabius Steinberger, Felix Praschak, and Claudius Böttcher set out to refurbish an old grandfather clock and make it a little more enchanting.
They found a clock of their own on eBay that they then retro-fit with gears and servos to allow four hands on the clock face to rotate in full 360-degree motion. These hands point to a marked location on the clock face, letting anyone interested know where each of them is. I wonder which one of them was in prison.
Decorated with a LEGO character face on each hand to represent each of the friends, the clock is connected to a web server that bounces back responses from a mobile application in which a user can manually update their location for each corresponding arm, or have the app follow them through GPS tracking. The big difference from the Harry Potter counterpart is that the Weasley’s clock also told the time along with the family’s location. There is only so much that can be expected of recreating magic with science, I guess.
Check out their rather odd video for the product to get a look at it in action:
The four decided to work on the clock for a course they were in at the University of Munich known as “Building Interactive Objects.” I certainly hope this one fetched them an A, because I know it will at least get them some viral attention online; especially from the Potter-centric Tumblr crowd.
Anyone with the desire and capability to recreate their project is encouraged to do so on their site, which gives detailed instructions of their process with helpful diagrams and tips to go from clockwork, to server building, to finished product. Sadly, finding your own grandfather clock without breaking the bank is something you will have to figure out for yourself.
Would you buy/build one of these if you could? Let us know in the comments below, and also offer up an idea for other magical items that science could try bringing to life.
HT: NBC News
IMAGES: Harry Potter Wiki