Chaotic Timer – timer to break out of the current rhythmic flow

Chaotic Timer subverts the mechanism of a conventional timer. Its goal is to break out of one’s daily rhythmic flow. The device takes in the user’s stress level as input and asks the user to dial the duration of time to count down in minutes and seconds. The stress level is factored into the timer duration- on average, the greater the stress level, the longer the timer’s duration is- meaning that Chaotic Timer has its own time system. The idea is to use the stress level as an indicator of one’s urge to break out of their current routine. 

Derived from the concept of Chaotic Symmetry, the four oscillating modules algorithmically manifests a fluctuation from chaotic dynamics to orderly and synchronized state visualized through the magnetic field strength viewers and the motion of the magnets inside the concaved aluminium plate- symbolic of a stable primary branch system. The symmetry of the field strength dynamics is broken through the movement of the aluminium plate driven with Perlin noise and passage of time. Over time, the timer manifests the coexistence of chaotic dynamics and orderly patterns.  

Chaotic Timer is controlled by two custom-designed PCB boards fabricated on Roland SRM-20. The two boards are the interface board and the controller board. Both electronic boards are designed with the SAMD21E microcontrollers. Corresponding Arduino bootloaders- Arduino Zero- are flashed using Atmel-ICE programmer to integrate Arduino program into the microcontrollers. The interface board and the controller boards undergo serial communication to activate and fire different functions to drive the modules. Ultimately the level of broken symmetry is determined by the passage of time and the stress level provided by the user.

The interface is fabricated with steel on metal fibre laser cutter and post-produced with sandblasting and surface finishing. The mechanical parts are custom-designed on Rhino3D and Fusion 360 to satisfy the mechanical performance and fit the position servo used in the module. The custom-designed and fabricated mechanical parts include gears, planar flexure gear that fits in the upper and bottom rolled aluminium sheets, hybrid of pulley and gear connected with designed locks fitted into the bearings. The rocking motion on each module is controlled by a 3-point pulley system using a gt2 belt-mounted onto the custom pulleys driven by a single position servo. The level of the chaos of the magnetic field visualizer is strengthened using neodymium magnets rotated underneath. 

The passage of time is indicated through the level of synchroneity and order that becomes more dominant over time. When the countdown finishes, the timer enters the full order mode and synchronous state. Chaotic Timer is then reset and ready to be reused anytime. 

Project Page | Reina Suyeon Mun | Instagram