Tag Archives: Fibonacci Clock

The Fibonacci Clock requires you to do math to tell the time

This open source clock is for nerds with style, and even doubles as a lava lamp.

Over the past couple of years, various iterations of modern-day timepieces have emerged on Kickstarter. While Makers have come up with just about everything from nixie and binary to projection and word clocks, none of them have ever required a little math in order to tell the time. That was up until now.


As for what may very well be the nerdiest clock of all-time, Canadian software developer Philippe Chrétien has devised a gadget that uses the Fibonnaci Sequence to reveal the time. For those unfamiliar with the sequence created by the Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci back in the 13th century, the pattern begins with 1 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, etc. For this device, the Maker only used the first five terms: 1, 1, 2, 3 and 5.

The screen of the aptly named Fibonacci Clock is comprised of five colorful squares, whose side lengths match the first five sequential numbers (1, 1, 2, 3 and 5) and are backlit with LEDs. Red illuminations are used to denote the hours, while green for the minutes. When a square is tasked with displaying both the hours and minutes, it emits blue. All of the white squares are there for decorative purposes and can be ignored.


Unlike its digital counterparts, which simply require you to glance over at the time, this clever piece calls for you to hone your arithmetic skills along with some color-changing effects. To read the hour, add up the corresponding values of the red and blue squares. To read the minutes, do the same with the green and blue squares. The minutes are shown in five minute increments (0 to 12) so you have to multiply your result by five to get the actual number.

For instance, take the time of 9:25. 9:00 would be indicated by a red 5, a red 1 and a blue 3, in other words 5 + 1 + 3 = 9. Meanwhile,  the 0:25 would then be made up of green 2 and blue 3, or 2 + 3 = 5. 5 x 5 = 25 minutes. Confused? Let’s just hope your brain likes a little challenge in the morning. Turns out, there are actually multiple ways to display a single time as well.


“To add to the challenge, the combinations are picked randomly from all the different ways a number can be displayed. There are, for example, 16 different ways to display 6:30 and you never know which one the clock will use,” the Maker writes.

Chrétien says the clock is ideal for “curious and inventive people who like a timepiece that keeps them on their toes.” And there seems to be plenty of them out there, as the gadget attracted more than 1,240 backers during its Kickstarter run.


What’s more, the Fibonacci Clock can also be transformed into a lava-like lamp by pressing the mode button on its back. Two different lamp modes are included, yet in true open source fashion, users can hack the clock to make it their own. That’s because the innovative accessory is driven by an ATmega328P, which means its code can be modified using the Arduino IDE. The electronics are all housed inside an aesthetically-pleasing wooden case.

“The possibilities are as infinite as the Fibonacci sequence! I can’t wait to see what you will come up with,” Chrétien writes.


Following its incredibly successful crowdfunding campaign — which garnered over $181,000 — assembly is underway with shipments expected to begin this fall. Sound like a gadget you’d love to have? Pre-order yours today.