Thursday, February 28, 2008


I am on a perpetual quest for a better lab timer. Unfortunately the features I want don't seem to live in a single timer. I've thought about buying parts and programming/soldering something with the features I want, but it's not worth the time it would take. Here's my list of needed features:

1) Enter countdown time using number buttons, none of that up/down crap. In other words, it should have a keyboard like this:

1a) The interface for setting the countdown time shouldn't be stupid. For example, I shouldn't have to hold down a "set" button. If I'm pressing a number button, what else might I want to be doing? Obviously, I want to be setting the time.

2) When the elapsed time is finished, if I don't silence the alarm within a minute, it should stop beeping and start counting up so when I come back I know how long it's been.

3) It should show three different countdowns at once, like this:

4) It should have a "lock" slider button that prevents the buttons from responding when I put it in my pocket.

5) It should have a clip so I can attach it the outside of my pocket when I need to take it with me and use it frequently.

6) It should have a magnet on the back so I can attach it to the eye-level metal rail at my bench.

7) It should not be ginormous.

It's this kind of thing that I find to be a ridiculous need given the technology we have today. I can program. I can get a circuit board printed. I can print to a 3D printer. Why can't I make the timer of my dreams easily?

(Image and inspiration from

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