Home Journal Building an accurate Timekeeper in AS3: II

Building an accurate Timekeeper in AS3: II

by John

H4 stamps

Four views of the Longitude prize-winning chronometer H4. From a collection of UK stamps issued to commemorate the 300 year anniversary of the birth of clock maker John Harrison.

Last time I demonstrated the problems of building a reliable timekeeper in Flash. Neither of the common solutions tick at a constant rate. This fluctuation of the time between ticks is known as isochronism and is a problem familiar to clockmakers for centuries. To find a solution to isochronism in Flash I’ve been looking at how clockmakers have tackled this problem in the past.

Clockmaking and isochronism
In the 18th century the most accurate timekeeper available was a mechanical pendulum clock called a Regulator. These highly accurate clocks were used by clockmakers to set the time and running of the clocks and watches they were working on. Periodic intervals are generated by a pendulum and a steady beat is maintained by a variety of ingenious correctional devices such as balance wheels, springs and bimetallic strips.

Looking at modern clocks the key to accuracy, according to Jun Ye (developer of the most accurate atomic clock ever built) is high speed ticking. His clock ticks at a blinding 430 trillion times per second.

With both of these ideas in mind I am working on a Timekeeper class for AS3 that will combine high speed ticking with a system clock regulator. This combination should produce a timekeeper that produces tick events at a steady defined interval.

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