Accurate Time

Every mobile device needs to know the time down to the quadrillionth of a second.

David Pescovitz writes about the development of an atomic clock that’s the size of a grain of rice and how the advent of wireless communication is driving the need to create accurate time:

“Most clocks that we check throughout the day are wrong. For example, your wristwatch — whether it’s a Swatch or a Rolex — probably drifts at least a few seconds each week. Of course, that’s probably imperceptible even if you’re so overbooked that every second counts. However, wireless technologies are even more tightly scheduled than you are. Indeed, outfitting mobile devices with clocks that are accurate to the quadrillionths of a second could ratchet up cell phone reliability and GPS accuracy while packing more signals into the dwindling radio spectrum.

That’s why scientists are developing tiny clocks that are stable to one part in 10 billion, meaning they lose or gain a maximum of just one second every 300 years.” [more] (via Boing Boing)

related links

The Feature: Counting on Tiny Atomic Clocks


Time after time: North of Boston company uses atoms to create precise timepieces


  1. I cant help feeling that anything that increses GPS accuracy has a sinister undertone- call me a raving sceptic but GPS just scares me!

Leave a comment