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Durr: A shivering unisex bracelet that investigates our perception of 5 minutes (skreksto.re)
132 points by wyclif 1297 days ago | hide | past | web | 101 comments | favorite

> it adds an undeniable “rhythm” to the day, chopping it into chunks

  The gods confound the man who first found out
  how to distinguish hours! Confound him, too,
  who in this place set up a sundial,
  to cut and hack my days so wretchedly
  into small portions!  When I was a boy,
  my belly was my sundial — one surer,
  truer, and more exact than any of them.
  This dial told me when ’twas proper time
  to go to dinner, when I had aught to eat;
  But nowadays, why even when I have,
  I can’t fall-to unless the sun gives leave.
  The town’s so full of these confounded dials
  the greatest part of the inhabitants,
  shrunk up with hunger, crawl along the street.
— Plautus (c.254-184 BC)

> With Durr you become aware of how your brain alters the length of a bus ride, how fast you finish a beer, how time flies by when you enjoy yourself, and drags along when you wait in line at the post office.

Let me propose the 20% case that'll feel like the 80% case. Having a beer with a friend and sharing laughter, and ...buzz.buzz.buzz... being reminded mid-laugh that you're having a beer with a friend sharing a laugh.

I enjoy the moments where my brain adjusts the volume of the world around me, I get lost in thought and time becomes my bitch.

This reminds me of feelSpace[1]. It is a belt which has vibrating motors all around it and a compass. I believe the point is to give you an extra "sense" which after you have worn it enough you incorporate with your other senses.

[1] - http://feelspace.cogsci.uni-osnabrueck.de/

I built exactly that device, but as an ankle bracelet. I also used GPS so you could have it continuously point you to a specific location. It was for a college project and I never took it past prototype so you had to carry around a breadboard and an Arduino.

It was interesting to wear and after some time it started to feel like a "sixth sense".

That in turn reminds me of magnet implants which are an interesting (and a little odd) concept. http://www.iamdann.com/2012/03/21/my-magnet-implant-body-mod...

Two guys I know through the local hackspace have had this done.

One is a cable/internet tech, and claims that it may have saved his life - you can't perceive voltage potential, but you can "sense" current flow.

He was standing in a puddle of water, and was reaching towards the inside of a cable box on a house, and "felt" current flowing through it. Investigated, and found that the line into the box had been rubbing against a household electrical wire, and had worn through the insulation on both, causing a short that was carrying power through the box.

Doesn't work well in my 9.4 T MRI environment :)

That's for sure. I wonder how safe these sort of implants are even when just playing around with other rare earth magnets. Having the implant ripped out because you absentmindedly picked up another magnet would really suck.

I wonder if the same result can't be obtained by a magnetic ring ...

I know literally nothing about this, but would posit the hope that if multiple people have cared enough to implant an object under their skin, at least one of them would have considered a less-permanent solution like a ring before hand and tried it out.

There's an ankle version of that that you can buy as a kit: http://sensebridge.net/projects/northpaw/

(It does look kind of bulky though.)

"Shivering unisex" must have done well in A/B testing.

better than the alternative: "vibrating unisex".

This must be a gag, or the worst example of western opulence I could possibly think of.

Seriously, an electronic gadget made to disrupt your day every 5 minutes. I think this requires a better explanation of the purpose before I take it seriously. Right now all the marketing speak combined with the banality of this device makes me think it's the perfect april fools but a few months too soon.

Let's assume it's for real, why would you want to get reminded that 5 minutes have passed when you've lost yourself in a fun life moment? Or when you're waiting for something a long time, that would be even worse.

I think you're misunderstanding the experience.

I'm sure it would seem interruptive the first few times. But after that, it would become familiar. If you've ever lived near a clock that ticks or chimes, it eventually becomes part of the background, a subtle reminder of the flow of time.

Your approach to consciousness, to get lost in pleasant things and to be oblivious of unpleasant things, is one way to be. But other people are after different things. Plenty of people want a better sense of the flow of time. Note, for example, the popularity of the Pomodoro Method.

I grew up in a terraced house that was immediately adjacent to the back of a convent/nunnery. There would be frequent bell-ringing to call the sisters to prayers, etc.

I slept right through it. Always.

Until we moved house, then I'd find myself waking up at, say, midnight for the first few weeks being slightly disturbed that the bell hand't run.

I'd wear this thing while working. Sometimes I get caught up reading hacker news (like now), this thing might give me a feeling of how much time I'm wasting and make sure I get back to doing something productive.

Some people like to monitor their experiences or ruminate on how they perceive things. This is simply a tool that may potentially provide insight towards that end. Nothing to get pissed about.

Many church clocks used to chime every 15 minutes and could be heard throughout the town. I think the idea is to replicate a similar experience.

Anybody that wants one of these: this looks like it would be /trivially/ easy to build. An attiny85 and a vibration motor would do it.

The only "hard" part would be fitting a battery in this form factor.

Go to your local hackerspace during some open hours, and tell the hackers you want to build one of these. I bet they'll do it with you!

(Hell: I'LL do it with you if you come down to heatsync labs [in Phoenix])

I was thinking that it would be easy to add this functionality to my pebble watch.

I was exactly what I thought. Is there any "watchapp" that does this?

There is an interval trainer app for running but I think it will work for this. Set it up for 5 minute intervals and you should get a similar functionality. The only thing is it won't run in the background so you have to keep the app open.

Would it be possible to make a fully analog version of this by tearing apart an old kinetic watch?

I'd imagine the vibration would quickly drain the energy stored in an analog watch's spring.

I'm not a hardware person; could you explain to me why a watch battery wouldn't work in this case. Is it just too low power?

It would work! A cr2032 is a super common "coin cell" battery that we use for all kinds of stuff.

The "problem" with this is how long it will run for. A watch battery, or a coin cell doesn't have much current capacity.

You can also get specifically low powered attiny chips as well, so a cr2032 would be more than sufficent to power it for a number of months.

If you look at the picture below "Made in Oslo".. you'll see a cr2032 battery.

Probably a lipoly battery this size would work.

That sounds super dangerous. I would not put a lipoly battery on my arm. No thank you, I'll take my chances with another battery type.

People put lipoly batteries to their faces each day (in phones), so probably not that big a danger.

It's a really nice idea, but why buy a watch when you already have a vibrating computer in your pocket?


Does this work in the background, or do you have to have that app running?

For a while I was using an iOS app called BuzzClock. I liked the feature that it would give a different # of buzzes as you went through the hour. I found this helped reduce the need to check the time when I was heads-down on some work, or give a subtle reminder that I might be lingering too long on something.

But having to keep the app in the foreground ultimately killed it for me.

I was thinking the same thing but could you imagine your phone vibrating in your pocket every 5 minutes? If I didn't expect my phone to also vibrate for phone calls and messages all day long, an app would be viable... sadly, you probably need to distinguish in an obvious way

Might be workable if you have the option to change the vibration pattern to something clearly distinct from a notification.


I was thinking maybe an audio queue... haha http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyBSrBqogPY&noredirect=1

...or attached to your hip:


And this is a lot smaller than the bracelet.

From TFA: > Oh, and no, it's not waterproof, so don't shower with it.

Water resistance just seems to be a requirement these days - even my Pebble which I'd never wear in the shower is water resistant so when I am forced to react to a bath incident, I don't worry about the watch, and my kids instead.

Sounds like a pet project - maybe they should hire a real watch designer who can get them from hobby to actual product at some point.

"Even my Pebble which I'd never wear in the shower is water resistant"

One of the things I love about my Kickstarter Pebble is that I have gone swimming with it, and I've even gone diving down to about 20 feet with it and it still works brilliantly. It's nice to not have to worry about it around water.

I'm definitely a risk taker with electronics and water though. I actually put my new iPhone in a ziplock bag to see if it would make an effective underwater camera while diving. (Just so you know the ziplock bag did succeed in keeping my iPhone safe, but the video was too blurry to be useful because the lens didn't focus right under water.)

Between that, the pleather, and the price, I think I'd be more inclined to make my own than to buy one of these. It's a neat idea, but I am not satisfied with this execution.

They clearly say it's an alpha product, an experiment. Shipping 50 is how they find out whether they should hire a real designer.

Funny, my friend with a pebble loves using his in the shower. His girlfriend thinks its weird when he reads funny texts and is laughing in the shower.

Some people don't want to be that connected though.

I feel like you could create a Pebble watch face that did this...

The idea might be good, but the price is extravagant. I think the parts should cost only $60-70, maybe less, so charging nearly $148 is laughable. Especially when I can get a nice, brand-name watch for $118 or so.

Generally you want to charge 4x your BOM (bill of materials) to cover shipping, fulfillment, customer support, etc. For such a small run (50 pieces) your costs are probably a lot higher than that of a large manufacturer; in their case they'd probably want to do > 4x to actually turn a profit. At $148 I'd be amazed if they were doing more than breaking even – these guys are doing it for the learning experience (and it says so on their blog).

Thinking back on this, I think it's entirely possible to build this product without an RTC or microcontroller. It should be entirely possible to wire up a switch, 555 timer(s), vibrator, and a battery... and easily build it for less than $10 in electronic parts.

What was the price? They sold out of them and have apparently taken it down now.

They posted that it was £90. That converts to $147.71 USD today.

So presumably if anything the price wasn't high enough...

Apples and oranges comparison: this is not a watch in the traditional sense. It's more analogous to a timer. In any case, it's a completely new product which means there probably aren't many efficiencies of manufacturing like there would be with watches.

With the same money you can buy a Pebble, and I'm sure that someone could easily write a Pebble app that vibrates every 5 minutes.

I have not been able to find a good solution to having a personal vibrating timer with me. Requirements: Easy to set so no frictional cost to starting a pomodoro for instance. Does not beep. Keeps vibrating until silenced rather than vibrating once and then stopping (I don't notice these).

Pebble has a timer app that meets all your requirements. I use it for pomodoros, laundry, steeping tea, cooking rice, etc. Unbelievably handy.

I think that pushes me over the edge on pebble. Thanks!

Sorry, but the price I "specced out" was with the modules from Adafruit. If you actually made a custom PCB, etc, you could easily hit the $50 mark with only 10s of units, in my opinion. Especially since the processor is unimportant: there are no complex calculations to perform.

> "I think the parts should cost only $60-70, maybe less"

Consider that the thinkgeek 'annoyatron' is sold for $10. So the guts of this device cost far less than $10. A cheap watch band, better looking than the one this has, can be had for under $20 on Amazon...

Throw the rest of the money into having a nice brass enclosure machined, then pot it with epoxy to make it reasonably water-resistant as well...

I could do it for free with the alarm snooze feature on my 5 year old blackberry.

That would create an alarm that you must reset every five minutes, rather than simply notifying you in the background that five minutes have passed.

Walking around with a phone strapped to your wrist would be awkward.

And yet people strap them to their arms while running around town wearing nothing but spandex.

This is the first time I've upvoted a post that sells fake watches.

My MotivAider does this fantastically, I like it on my belt and aside from being bulky, is perfect machine for $50.


I've been using it to establish habits, remind myself to be mindful and focus on task.

Why would anyone pay money to get interrupted every 5 minutes? I would pay money not to get interrupted every 5 minutes.

Maybe you could use it for something, like a reminder to stop browsing internet sites and do some work :) There was a write recently of someone who got a ton more work done by hiring someone on craigslist to slap them in the face if they ever go off task, like spending a lot of time on facebook.

But they were getting slapped when they were distracted: not every 5 minutes whether they were focused or not.

I'm having a hard time imagining constant interruption being good for concentration.

Yeah, I was thinking "hey, spend a day trying to get anything done while my kids are around" pretty much works the same way.

Don't ever try to become an entrepreneur.

Are you interrupted by your breathing?

Better: Install "Multilingual Speaking Clock" instead (windows only I think) and set it up so it announces the time every 5 minutes through your computer speakers.

It. Is. A. Mind. Game.

When your brain "idles" you lose track of time. Time in the mind only exists as a comparison of one moment in the past and another moment in the present. So when you're daydreaming (mostly brain idling) time appears to fly by because there's less datapoints for your mind to use to compare. But when you're checking the time constantly time appears to go by very very slowly.

It can become mentally exhausting when you do it too much though because it speeds up the mind. You become aware of every little moment. It can make you extremely productive but you really do have to take "brain idling" breaks every now and then. Also when you first start off, time will appear to fly by, it'll feel like "5 min" are flying by every 30 seconds. But after about 30 minutes your brain will stop idling so much, you'll become aware of more time points, and it'll feel like time is slowing down and you're thinking "faster".

Give it a try. It's really fascinating.

Wow... I've been having this idea for a watch for a while.. someone with the hardware knowledge pulled it off. Did the creators try having a short vibration for five minutes and than a longer vibration for an hour?

Republish it on April 1st :)

I'm curious to see the results of this. I wonder if there are any negative impacts to consciously acknowledging the passage of time with a device like this considering that when "time flies", it does so because you aren't conscious of its passing.

From TFA: > how time flies by when you enjoy yourself, and drags along when you wait in line at the post office

I suspect my experience at the post office be made worse by the fact that there's something vibrating on my wrist reminding me of how long I've been waiting?

Check out TicTocTrac (http://www.tictoctrac.com/). Open source watch that monitors when you check the time, and lets you track time perception whenever you want (instead of buzzing you every 5 minutes, you tap to start the test and then tap when you think X minutes have elapsed). You can save the data and use the site to visualize it later. The BOM comes to about $55.

Sounds like something from Harrison Bergeron.

"It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains. "

Yeah I'm not sure why people would buy this.

Thanks! That was the quote I wanted but couldn't find.

Love the copy. "Wait what". Totally hip.

Interesting concept. Though I'm sure there's an app for that... or will be.

Yes, search for interval timer, repeat timer... The closest free app I found for ios so far is "wake me up." It repeats forever but doesn't run in the background.

I love stuff like this. I've been doing some of my own work around this idea by measuring the time it takes me to do certain everyday tasks.

My morning routine is about 15 minutes. So is going to the coffee cart on the corner for coffee and a doughnut. However, I often perceive and think about the latter as taking much longer.

Interesting thought. Reminds me of when people around me had an hourly chime on their watch... Usually inadvertently.

I'm downloading a interval timer app to test it out. My guess is that it will drive me nuts soon.

Edit: I didn't find any good options free for ios yet. "Wake me up" works well, but not in the background.

More here: "A vibrating watch that messes with your perception of time." http://www.wired.com/design/2014/01/a-vibrating-watch-that-m...

Get a GymBoss interval timer. Great for exercise, and can accomplish this perception thing. (it has a vibrate-only mode).


I think a lot of its cost comes from the fact that the device is made in Oslo. In Norway, labor prices are upwards of $125 USD per hour. If hamburgers are $50 there, then it makes sense that this thing is priced like a couple of hamburgers.

Your figures are quite a bit off. A Big Mac is $7.51[1], and the average wage in Norway is around $6440 a month[2], or around $40 an hour (based on a 170 hour work month).

They are high - they're nowhere near as high as you're making out.

[1]:http://www.economist.com/content/big-mac-index [2]:http://www.ssb.no/en/lonnansatt/

A McDonalds meal in Oslo would cost you around $15, about double what you'd pay in London or NYC. It's expensive, but not $50 expensive.

thanks for the corrections

This could also be implemented as a smartphone app running in the background..

Sure, but how would I distinguish a 5-minute-interval vibration from the myriad email notification vibrations?

I don't want the watch but I like the idea, I actually have an app on my that chimes every 30 minutes, and I find it useful,

In my opinion, this is pretty dumb. It serves no purpose other than as a piece of interactive art. I guess it is pretty though.

More a thing to stick in a smart watch like the pebble than a product on its own.

Maybe a 'private' version would be marketable?

I need this badly, especially while I am reading HN.

Ugliest thing ever

yeah, but at least they warn about shivering unisex. This device would look much better if put inside candy watch.

How can I achieve this with my Pebble?

would buy/wear if colored circle was much smaller or different design idea.

Looks fun but could get irritating as a constant reminder, also I would be confused with my phon'es vibration.

The girl could do with a lot less arm hair though

Sharp Knees Syndrome.

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