What is it?

These sixteen lights show a binary number, increasing twice a second. When it fills up all the lights, about every 9 hours, 6 minutes, and 8 seconds, it resets and the colors change.

I think of these “bit counters” as a timepiece designed by computers, where we humans have to adapt to the most convenient representation of a number for a computer, rather than the other way around.

The addition of a few extra lights makes a big difference in how long it takes to fill up.

Number of lights (bits) Number of ticks Amount of time, at two ticks/second
8 256 2 minutes, 8 seconds
16 65536 9 hours, 6 minutes, 8 seconds
24 16777216 13 weeks, 6 days, 2 hours, 10 minutes, 7 seconds
32 4294967296 68 years, 2 weeks, 5 days, 3 hours, 14 minutes, 6 seconds

How was it made?




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