This Artist Spent a Month Creating a Digital Sundial. He Says “Don’t Throw Out Your Watch”

Appearing to be only a solid block of metal with a series of holes punched through it, Toronto-based artist Daniel Voshart’s Sun Cube prototype is actually a study in precise celestial geometry. Inside the cube are hundreds of channels cut to match the exact angle of the sun and cast dot-matrix style numbers underneath for each daylight hour.

Voshart Digital Sundail Sun Cube 2

The only problem? The Sun Cube only works within a 100 mile radius of his father’s house… for one month of the year… won’t correct for daylight savings time… and won’t work after 40 years because the Earth’s axis is slowly changing. Even Voshart thinks it’s a funny idea:

“A friend wanted to [do] a kick-starter for this, for the GE inventor series,” he told Placeholder Magazine. “I wouldn’t let him I was like ‘no, it’s not interesting. It’s an obscure toy that works in one part of the world. And it’s a clock. It’s inventing something that is actually worse than what exists on the market. A cereal box has more functionality.’”

Yeah, but we think it’s interesting… and what about creating a large scale sculptural version for a specific location?! Voshart has been considering just that; looking at building a giant version for Burning Man. Heck, that would only have to survive sand storms and last one week.

Find out more about the mathematics that went into creating this complex piece as well as some anecdotes from Voshart on his personal website and Reddit.

Voshart’s first prototype, shown here as an unfolded cube:

Voshart Digital Sundail Sun Cube 6

The first prototype showing noon:

Voshart Digital Sundail Sun Cube 4

Another angle of the first prototype (Voshart says it showed a lot of light artifacts because it lacked any interior geometry):

Voshart Digital Sundail Sun Cube 5

A wireframe view of each individual extrusion (look closely and you can see each number):

Voshart Digital Sundail Sun Cube 7

Each extrusion combined into the form they make within the Sun Cube:

Voshart Digital Sundail Sun Cube 8

Each laser cut plate that stacked into the final Sun Cube (Voshart says it cost $100):

Voshart Digital Sundail Sun Cube 9

The new prototype showing 1pm:

Voshart Digital Sundail Sun Cube 10

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