Over the past few days I’ve been following much of the hype surrounding the latest feel-good-news-story-of-the-moment about young Ahmed Mohamed of Irving, Texas.
Being a news junkie and, by default, an avid Twitter user, it seemed like most online sentiment unanimously supported the innocent high school kid. As the days lingered on since, I’ve noticed some people interacting online and being genuinely contentious about this kid’s story and his “clock.” I’ve seen many negative opinions posted about Ahmed, some of which are utter conspiratorial hyperbole.
It wasn’t until I learned that some folks in the maker community were crying foul over the actual device Ahmed allegedly “made” himself when I decided to take a closer look at Ahmed’s clock. I eventually read this makezine.com article (along with its somewhat heated commenters).
The picture of Ahmed’s clock from the article made it seem pretty straightforward.
So, for funzies, I picked up a pencil case for $4 USD and took apart an old clock radio which had been collecting dust and… replicated Ahmed’s clock.
Not much to it. Took me about 30 minutes to do. He simply took the housing off an alarm clock and put the gutted electronics inside a pencil case. He essentially created a portable time box which needs to be plugged in to work.
Of course I took to Twitter for a little show and tell of my own.
What exactly was the device which garnered Ahmed a meeting with the President of the United States (plus support from NASA, MIT, Facebook, etc)?
Here’s my 5 step guide to building your own “Ahmed Clock.”
STEP ONE: get an old digital clock radio, a pencil case and a Phillips head screwdriver
STEP TWO: disemble the clock housing
STEP THREE: discard the clock housing
STEP FOUR: remove radio receiver and place the remaining clock parts in pencil box
STEP FIVE: use leftover screws to attach display inside the case. Then plug in power.
I admit, when I was 14 years old, taking things apart to see how the electronics worked inside didn’t even remotely cross my mind. So I give props to Ahmed for inspiring me to tinker with old electronics and think “outside the box.”
Also, I feel like an idiot because on my version I snapped off the AM/FM radio portion from the board just so I could closely replicate the clock. This unit would be way cooler with an AM/FM radio included. It’s whatever. I had fun taking it apart.