Saturday, July 28, 2012

Flickering lights help smartphones keep time

"Your smartphone is probably losing track of time. Most electronics with internal clocks keep them regulated via vibrating crystals (much like a quartz clock) that keep their timekeeping precise. But while far better timekeepers than mechanical clocks, even these crystals can be thrown off their regular frequencies by external factors like humidity or temperature. Which is why scientists at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology think you’re better off syncing your clock to your overhead lights.

Smartphone clocks can drift by up to 10 seconds a day, and if you’re one of the many people who rarely syncs up your handheld with your computer or otherwise docks with some mothership computer online, that means you could pretty quickly start drifting by whole minutes."

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