Carbon Design Group

Making it Real: The Engineering Behind Carbon’s Domino ClockDecember 13th, 2010

Having the Domino Clock become one of Carbon’s passion projects meant that the power of Carbon’s integrated teams could be brought to bear on its development. Industrial designer Joe Sullivan, collaborated with his fellow teammates to work through the numerous options. For example, could they save costs or energy by connecting the mechanisms that flip the dots in rows? Probably, but digital prototyping revealed that this would result in a visually loud experience with lots of dots flipping at once. This was directly counter to the peaceful, quiet user experience the team desired. That meant each dot would need to move independently. Since three domino units would hang or sit independently of each other, Joe tapped the team’s extensive experience developing wireless devices for clients. Together the group scoped out the strategy, costs, and logistics behind the electronics and software required to keep the Domino Clock running like… well, clockwork.

To handle the mechanical engineering, the team leveraged the considerable talents of mechanical engineer Eric Davis. Eric proved to be the perfect guy to create the electromagnetic coil motor that would make the Domino Clock dots flip. Eric crunched numbers and conducted a series of flux analysis studies to refine his approach. In the video below, he demonstrates the dot-flipping mechanism and explains what went into the development of what his fellow Carbonites have dubbed the “Davis Coil.”

Yes, Eric drops phrases like “Archimedean tricks” into casual conversation. He’s that guy. And that is just one of the many reasons we’re very glad he’s a Carbonite.

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