Developed as part of a diploma project by a University of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (ECAL) student, Spira is a magnetic docking station that wirelessly restores power to an iPhone while turning the device into a decorative wall clock.
Described by its creator Alica Robbiani as an interactive picture, charger and clock, Spira was built around an [Atmel based] Arduino board and the principle of inductive charging. Utilizing a blend of wood, metal and plastic, the Maker sought to devise an ambient frame that would enable a magnetized iPhone case to hang decoratively on the wall thereby giving it a “place of honor in the home atmosphere.”
When attached in the upright position, the iPhone displays a set of animated white circles on the screen, each representing 10% of its battery level until fully charged. Users can also manually shift the position of the phone on the frame to display a wall clock. By rotating the phone, clock hands are revealed, projecting the current time.
“The telephone puts aside its usual functions and reinvents itself to become a key: its presence allows energy to spread to make the (heat-sensitive) painting react.”
Thermochromic paint is used as visual feedback, the Maker reveals. The color of the ink changes in correlation with varying temperatures, which enables the wall-mounted device to emit a new image inside the frame. Once the all-in-one structure is unplugged, the paint then returns to its starting color.
“The way of charging changes completely, and in spite of the power of gravity, we are challenged to let the telephone hung up, keeping us informed of the current time and state of the battery,” Robbiani writes. “The telephone puts aside its usual functions and reinvents itself to become a key: its presence allows energy to spread to make the (heat-sensitive) painting react. This is how a new image appears.”
Intrigued by this project? Hurry over to its official page here. In the meantime, you may also want to check out fellow ECAL design student Pauline Saglio’s recent creation: a unique series of three digital/analog hybrid clocks in an effort to meld the digital world with the analog act of winding a clock.