Hourglass goes digital with concept for classic sandtimer

Hourglass goes digital with concept for classic sandtimer

One of my fondest childhood memories is playing games with friends and families using an hourglass sandtimer to count down the minutes. Games like Boggle and Taboo were made all the more fun because you could see the seconds slipping by before it’s your turn and your opponents are running out of time. But when our phones became smarter, we of course turned to these digital devices to count the seconds down and the alarm blaring causes us a different kind of anxiety or joy.

Designer: Fabio Verdelli and Anna Lazzaron

There are those who would prefer to use a timer that doesn’t have any of the other distractions that a smartphone would have, like messages, notifications, calls, and even that pesky alarm tone. A device that can bridge the analog idea of an hourglass and the digital convenience of a timer is found in this product concept called Passatempo, a smart hourglass. It is able to retain the elegant design of the hourglass sand timer but this time, it is able to add a digital concept to it that makes it more elegant.


There isn’t really much of a description to it but based on the product renders, it doesn’t seem to use actual sand like in the traditional timers. It is still enclosed in a glass structure and the cone shape is still there and you can see the seconds or minutes passing by as it transfers from one cone to another. This time though you will be able to set how long it needs to “pour” through an app. You can use it to set a timer for when you’re cooking or to give you a visual idea of when it’s time for an appointment or you can use it for board games as well.

Of course the most convenient way really to set alarms and timers is on your smartwatch or smartphone. But if you want something a bit unusual or something that looks pretty elegant or just something that kind of looks analog, then the Passatempo may be something you’ll be interested in.