Ahmed Mohamed Maybe Didn’t Build a Clock

Second question: Does it matter?



I don’t think it necessarily suggests — as the fellow in the video above believes — that Ahmed Mohamed brought his device to school last week specifically to provoke officials into just the sort of incident that elicited nationwide attention.

But Thomas Talbot does make a strong argument that what’s in that metal case is nothing but an old, disassembled clock, not anything that Mohamed invented. This blog even claims to identify the exact type that it was before its components were removed from the plastic casing — a Radio Shack model:

For starters, one glance at the printed circuit board in the photo, and I knew we were looking at mid-to-late 1970s vintage electronics. Surely you’ve seen a modern circuit board, with metallic traces leading all over to the various components like an electronic spider’s web. You’ll notice right away the highly accurate spacing, straightness of the lines, consistency of the patterns. That’s because we design things on computers nowadays, and computers assist in routing these lines. Take a look at the board in Ahmed’s clock. It almost looks hand-drawn, right? That’s because it probably was. Computer aided design was in its infancy in the 70s. This is how simple, low cost items (like an alarm clock) were designed. Today, even a budding beginner is going to get some computer aided assistance – in fact they’ll probably start there, learning by simulating designs before building them. You can even simulate or lay out a board with free apps on your phone or tablet. A modern hobbyist usually wouldn’t be bothered with the outdated design techniques. There’s also silk screening on the board. An “M” logo, “C-94” (probably, a part number – C might even stand for “clock”), and what looks like an American flag. More about that in a minute. Point for now being, a hobbyist wouldn’t silk screen logos and part numbers on their home made creation. It’s pretty safe to say already we’re looking at ’70s tech, mass produced in a factory.

Is all this irrelevant to the reason this became national news? Depends on whether you believe, if Ahmed didn’t actually invent anything, he was purposefully trying to scare or impress his teachers.

(H/T Fox News)

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