Destiny Clock : For Whom the Bell Tolls

Prototype for Product

Brooklyn, NY

May 2017
Bryan Ma


Materials & Software
Circuit Boards
Interface Hardware
Ableton Live
Laser Cut Plexi


Destiny Clock is modular programmable system for generating digital compositions. Signals are strictly on/off messages, meaning that patches for even simple melodies require several connections. Modules are based on the principles of logic chips, but extend those functionalities for purposes of composition and user interaction. Patches use a combination of generator and processor modules before passing desired signals to the interface module which constructs and transmits a MIDI signal to a hardware or software synthesizer. 

Full-Scale Version

This version uses 3.5mm patch cable connections and a modified Eurorack design. It is constructed of translucent and matte-black acryllic and stainless steel mounting racks. The interface module features two options for input: note selection through the use of a tuneable potentiometer and a graphically represented keyboard where each connection represents an output note. The system is composed of 24 modules with a total of 437 LEDs and 370 patch points.

Portable Version

The portable version of Destiny Clock uses surface-mount pin headers as connection points between modules. Due to space restrictions, modules consist solely of their constituent inputs and outputs. Some modules run using just a logic chip such as the 4051 Multiplexer or the 4015 Shift Register. Others are programmed on the ATMEGA 328P. The system is enclosed in clear plexi with minimal labeling.

Presentation at Eyebeam

At the end of my residency, I had the opportunity to present my research to an attentive and curious audience. The talk covered many of the practical steps taken in the design process and the resultant form. Other ideas explored included the self-aware experience of specialized knoweldge, irony in electronic instrument design, and the aesthetic inspirations and implications of musical ecosystems. Accompanying the presentation was an exhibition of several Destiny Clock systems, prototypes, and other related interactive devices. 

Brendan is a Brooklyn-based designer