The Clock of the Long Now

Attempting to build a clock that will run for 10000 years is a daunting task.

Never the less, that is exactly what the Long Now Foundation is trying to do.

The clock uses binary digital logic, but is mechanical. Time is stored as a 28-bit number where each bit is represented by a mechanical lever.

It is built using the following principles:

  • Longevity: With occasional maintenance, the clock should reasonably be expected to display the correct time for the next 10,000 years.
  • Maintainability: The clock should be maintainable with bronze-age technology.
  • Transparency: It should be possible to determine operational principles of the clock by close inspection.
  • Evolvability: It should be possible to improve the clock with time.
  • Scalability: It should be possible to build working models of the clock from table-top to monumental size using the same design.

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