Artem Talibov

Mathematical π is taught as every other subject is in our current schooling system; it's done through a process of routine memorization and regurgitation. This inflexible and outdated form of learning is what sparked the idea for the Archimedes Timepiece. The idea for the ATP did not come out of nowhere though, it came from ideas that were circulating throughout the class environment as the semester ran on. In the earlier stages of the class, the teacher addressed the students and asked a very simple mathematical question; if it takes one hour to walk across the circle how long will it take to walk around it? The answer to this is elementary — it's 3.14 hours. But arriving at this answer wasn't so easy for the class, as we struggled to remember what equations’ values were to be used when dealing with circles. What we had forgotten about, of course, was π itself.

The idea for the ATP at its core was formed when the class started to try and find a way to best represent π through everyday objects. Interestingly enough, there weren't very many incremental steps in between, as the project in whole consisted mainly of a coding aspect and not a physical build process, but that doesn't mean there wasn’t a first prototype. The original build was very simple; essentially it was a cardboard circle, singular led lights stabbed into the circumference of the cardboard, and poor markings of where each hour was. Later ideas built upon this even into the final, but there was unfortunately one feature which was impossible to implement due to the lack of time and resources. That feature was the ability to make the hour hands move while also being lit up with LEDs. That doesn't mean though, that that cannot be implemented in later versions of the ATP.

Luckily though, after a large amount of trial and error with the software and getting the right LED pattern to show, I was able to make a relatively clean looking build, with the LEDs wrapping around the outside of the wooden and cardboard frame and along the diameter of it as well. In the end the ATP boiled down to an old plastic shell of a worn out clock, a circle in the center comprised of a slab of wood and cardboard glued together and then into the plastic shell, and the NeoPixel LEDs wrapped around the outside and down the middle as previously mentioned. In the end the first official prototype of the ATP was complete and ready for it's demo.