[time-nuts] final rules and regulations for IEEE Spectrum clock-making contest

p.ross at ieee.org p.ross at ieee.org
Mon Jan 21 16:32:56 EST 2008

Here are the final details of the competition IEEE Spectrum announced in 

Competition Description:
IEEE Spectrum, the magazine of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic 
Engineers, is sponsoring a contest to build the ideal digital clock -- one 
that is attractive, interesting, functional, and suitable for use in a 
typical small office or indoor home environment. 
The magazine's staff will judge the entries based on the following seven 
criteria: display readability, DIY construction, a $100 limit for all the 
parts, engineering design quality, accuracy, ease of setup and use, and 
Judges will subjectively assign a 1 to 10 score for each criteria and 
objectively select three candidates based on the scores.
The top three entries will be judged by our collaborator, Make Magazine.
The winner will travel to San Mateo, Calif. for Maker Faire on May 3-4, 
Judging Notes:
Display -- Should be readable by day or night from across a small room. 
DIY -- Other engineers should be able to reproduce your clock, based on 
your documented design. 
Cost -- Parts should be readably available from standard sources for a 
total of under $100. 
Quality -- Design and construction should be robust, showing attention to 
detail, inside and out. 
Accuracy -- Clocks should keep good time. 
Usability -- Initial setup, time setting, or other features should be 
simple and intuitive (with a minimum of manual reading). 
Attractiveness -- The clock should draw attention some combination of the 
following attributes: beauty, cleverness, interesting design, 
envy-inspiring coolness, or just a "wow" factor.
Technical Notes:
Proximity to a socket for AC or wall-wart DC power is assumed, if 
Accuracy will computed by measuring time error at one-week intervals 
(submissions designed to excel in the accuracy category may provide an 
unobtrusive 1PPS pin that the judges can use for precise measurements). 
Use of ultra-precise time sources such as GPS, WWVB, telephone, or 
Internet is not precluded but designers should realize that dependence on 
these technologies is likely to both increase cost and reduce the chance 
that the clock works out-of-the-box in all home and office environments. 
A formal, publishable project/kit description can wait until the clock is 
selected as one of the winners. 
Use of microcontrollers is acceptable as long as binary and source code 
can be included with the design.

Send prototypes to: Clock Competition, IEEE Spectrum, 3 Park Avenue, 17th 
Floor, New York, NY 10016-5997
Delivery must be dated on or before 7 April 2008, based on postmark or 
courier-service registration.

Philip E. Ross
Senior editor
IEEE Spectrum Magazine
212 419 7562

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