Of course, the Time Machine Glove doesn’t really cause a temporal rift in the space-time continuum, although it certainly does a neat job of simulating it. As can be seen from the above video, it can pull off feats such as “freezing” a fan mid-spin or stopping drops of water as they fall — all with the wave of a glove. This illusion is carried out by way of a strobe light that’s attached to the glove’s palm. On the back of the glove is an Arduino, which lets the user control the frequency of the strobe.
By timing the strobes correctly (for example, every time the fan blades are in one position) it’s possible to make it appear as though time has ground to a halt entirely. By steadily decreasing the strobe’s frequency, meanwhile, time can appear to slow down. This perceptual phenomenon is known as the “stroboscopic” effect, and occurs when a continuance motion represented by a series of short or instantaneous samples comes into conflict with the sampling rate of a viewing device.
For this reason, it is most commonly associated with the “wagon-wheel” illusion seen in old movies, in which the spoked wheels on a horse-drawn cart can appear to be turning backwards. In the case of the Time Machine Glove, however, the effect works regardless of whether you’re filming it or viewing it in person.
The resulting creation may be relatively pointless in terms of applications, but it’s certainly all kinds of awesome in terms of pulling off a trick that’s going to impress your buddies — and make you temporarily feel like you’re a superhero, to boot!
That’s where the really cool part of the project comes into play, since MadGyver has made the instructions for the DIY Time Machine Glove available online so that others can, well, do it themselves. Detailed instructions can be found on Instructables and Github, and the good news is that, as homebrew projects go, this one’s not actually too difficult to build.
Who’d have thought that time travel could be so straightforward?