Nixie tubes, those glowing technological relics from yesteryear, have lately been finding their way into steampunk-esque clocks and other devices. At the same time, we’ve also been seeing an increase in gadgets that levitate objects using magnets. Therefore, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone is now offering an ultra-cool levitating nixie clock.
The device was designed by Scottish electronics developer Tony Adams (aka Lasermad), who previously brought us a nixie tube chess set.
Rare earth magnets in the base and the underside of the display provide the actual levitation, while electromagnets in the base help keep the display stabilized in space. Although those latter magnets are mains-powered, a battery backup in the base will keep the display in place for up to 30 hours in the event of a power outage.
Power for the nixie tubes is wirelessly transferred from the base to the display via copper induction coils in both units. The actual time-keeping electronics are also located in the base, which communicates with the display via an infrared signal. The time can be set either using buttons on the base, or via a smartphone app.
Adams is currently raising production funds for the Levitating Nixie Clock on Kickstarter, and is offering it in two versions – the five-tube Relay model, which constantly displays the hour and minute, or the one-big-tube Beacon, which sequentially displays the numerals of the hour, minute and second. A pledge of £350 (about US$463) is required for the Relay, with the Beacon going for £425 ($562).
Assuming all goes according to plan, delivery is scheduled for this Christmas.
You can see the clock “in action,” in the video below.