axel schindlbeck's 'albert clock' tells the time with tricky equations

axel schindlbeck's 'albert clock' tells the time with tricky equations


designer axel schindlbeck has teamed up with software engineer fred mauclere to manufacture a digital clock whose display requires more than a little number crunching to read. called the ‘albert clock’, the concept was initially conceived as part of schindlbeck’s thesis project, which saw him create 50 designs in 50 days.

albert clock comes in 3 colors: scholar red, lucid white and concrete grey
photos by gerhardt kellermann



the albert clock is intended to turn classroom boredom into on-the-spot calculations, transforming the mindless counting of seconds into a productive mathematic activity. rather than just show the time, simple equations are required to be solved in order to reveal the exact hour. instead of showing 12:33 for example, the time piece will show 8+4 hours and 30+3 minutes. available in three color routes — lucid white, scholar red and concrete grey — the clock features a hand-painted multi-layer high quality matt laquer on an MDF base.

Albert Clock comes in 3 colors. Scholar Red, Lucid White and Concrete Grey



schindlbeck gave the standard alphanumeric segment font a redesign, with an improved readability of numbers and mathematical symbols. the difficulty can also be adjusted to six different levels so it’s perfect for the classroom, or if you just fancy punishing yourself for skipping algebra that time.

the clock’s difficulty can be adjusted to six different levels



‘at one point, I felt the need to discover something new and I was excited by the idea of developing independently my own ideas, through playful concepts that have a curious and positive hold on everyday life. it’s a true responsibility, and you just go from scratch to the final product on your own,’ says schindlbeck. mauclere helped him to put his idea into reality, writing the software and developing all electronic parts. ‘we had some experience together, but we still needed to discover the complexity and the odds of an industrial manufacturing process’.

a wall fixture allows simple mounted installation of the clock



the albert clock’s crowdfunding campaign ended in august 2015, and 1000 pieces have since been manufactured and distributed to private clients and schools in 37 countries worldwide. the design is also now available as an app, so each glance at your phone will present you with a new mathematical challenge.

the design was originally part of an initiative to create 50 designs in as many days

the PCB was custom designed by fred mauclere

the segment mask plastic injection piece gives the distinct shape of the albert clock font

test of diffuser film

functional test during production

original PCB drawing



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: peter corboy | designboom

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