About this project
Helping the world make time to be creative.
Make Time Clock records progress. It has a single button to "clock-in" during work sessions. As you use it you'll begin to understand your creative rhythm and be empowered to harness it.
Balancing creativity with everyday life is hard. Too often a day will end in front of the TV instead of rallying to make progress on a side project. Since nobody's expecting the work and the deadlines are internal, projects slow to a crawl without much consequence.
But with Make Time Clock, there’s a physical monument to your project and progress. This can create a shared understanding between you and loved ones who share your space and want to support your projects.
Using a clock can be helpful to young creators or experienced folks looking to take on a new challenge. Its minimalist design can adapt to most creative projects.
Make Time Clock is a beautiful object that's finished like a fine piece of furniture. We designed it so that you'll be proud to display it in your workspace.
The clock is crafted out of solid walnut and sits almost 3 inches square. It has 6 RGB LEDs on the front, a metal switch on the top, and a power cord on the back.
Inside is a WiFi and a power module. This allows you to connect the clock to your local network to customize settings with our free companion app.
How it Works
The clock has a single button. Simply clock-in to begin a creative session. The corresponding light slowly breathes. When the timed session is complete the light stays solid.
By default sessions are 30 minutes but this can be customized using our companion app.
As work continues the lights begin to fill up. There’s a sense of progress, regardless of where the project is.
Every Monday morning the clock resets and the lights clear. There’s a natural weekly tempo.
When the clock is paired with the free companion app (iOS and Android) you see a long-term perspective of your progress that visualizes your creative ebb and flow. Instead of receiving guilt laden notifications when you’re lacking activity, we send meditative thoughts and fun challenges.
But it’s not just an app hidden on your phone, the clock is a physical representation of progress and commitment on a creative side project. If you share your space, it can create a powerful, external understanding for loved ones who want to support and encourage you.
Who We Are
Chap Ambrose is the inventor of Make Time Clock.
He’s been designing hardware and software for almost ten years and holds a BFA in industrial design from Savannah College of Art & Design and graduated in the inaugural class of Austin Center for Design.
He's also staff member of Fractured Atlas and shortly after inception, Make Time Clock was brought in-house to Fractured Atlas as a research project.
This is the first ever hardware product from Fractured Atlas, but we've been building software to support artists and arts organizations for 13 years. As a nonprofit, we aim to deliver practical tools that address real needs and help make the world a more creative place. Today we reach over 400,000 artists across the United States and beyond.
With Make Time Clock, we're excited to bring that experience and perspective to millions of people who maybe don't think of themselves as professional artists, but for whom creative practice is central to their lives.
How it Started
The idea for Make Time Clock was born when Chap was helping his wife, artist Maura Ambrose of Folk Fibers, balance her creative time.
He hacked together a digital timer with a switch and she started using it to track her creative time. They were both excited in the subtle shifts in behavior and shared understanding this simple device created.
We’ve been iterating on the design of Make Time Clock for over a year. The initial prototype was a simple on/off switch that would control a timer. During testing it became obvious that the true value of the clock was not in time tracking, but rather in visualizing progress.
Early prototypes were assembled in paper boxes before experimenting with cedar and other woods. Eventually walnut was chosen because of it's strength and finish.
Throughout development we would give artists and other creative people prototype devices testing. This was very helpful as we were able to identify strengths and weakness in each design.
One of our testers described her experience this way: “As a creative person you're told that you’re not doing anything, just wasting time, and not making money. But there’s validation in using the device to clock-in. It feels like you’re accounting for your work, you can see it going somewhere.”
Another insight from testing was the recognition that housemates and others who saw the clock had a new understanding of the clock tester's work. They were able to actively engage in discussion with this new information and potentially adjust their behavior to encourage progress. e.g. "Maybe we can bring food home for Jane so she get work done on her project?”
In July, the Make Time Clock Team spent 3 days in Chicago's Pilsen Neighborhood intensively working to:
- Offer select creative individuals an opportunity to test and interact with the Clock
- Assess the Clock’s power to motivate, encourage, and inspire artists and makers
- Strategize a Kickstarter to underwrite production of the Clock
The residency culminated in an event where community members, artists, Fractured Atlas members and supporters joined the team in Pilsen to see the Clock in action, meet its inventor, and participate in a live-action trial of the planned Kickstater. The team received a lot of support at the event and learned a lot about what potential creatives and and need out of Make Time Clock.
Risks and challenges
We've chosen to make the case out of a single piece of milled walnut. This results in a beautiful finish, but it's not a typical material for production. We've partnered with knowledgable suppliers and don't foresee any issues, but it is more difficult to get consistent results than a generic material like plastic or aluminum.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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