Buy more time with Raspberry Pi Pico (and money)

Our first ever microcontroller, Raspberry Pi Pico, may be small but it is mighty enough to achieve time travel. Kind of. Maker BB Collie has built a Pico-powered device that turns back the clock when you feed it money.

Disclaimer: this is not a real time machine and cannot undo that which you have already done. Please don’t throw endless coins at it in the hopes of reversing some toe-curling awkwardness or any very poor life decisions.

Time is money

The machine recognises six types of Japanese coin; each denomination buys a different amount of time back. The Pico counts the amount of money inserted and winds the clock’s hands backwards accordingly.

pico yen time machine

One yen buys you a minute back. That’s enough time to go back and unsend a risky text message. Five yen gets you five minutes, 10 minutes will cost you 10 yen, 50 minutes costs you, you guessed it, 50 yen, and if you want an extra one hour 40 minutes in your day, that’ll cost you 100 yen. Cash-rich and time-poor people can buy back a whopping eight hours and 20 minutes for 500 yen. That’s an entire working day you can claw back from the clutches of unproductivity. Or more than an adult’s recommended nightly sleep.

If only this were a real time machine. Pico would solve all of my insomnia issues.

pico yen time machine

Inner workings

Raspberry Pi Pico sits alongside the coin slot mechanism on the back of the pretty customer-facing wooden façade. Pico can handle multiple coins being inserted at once and still accurately calculate how many minutes have been bought back.

pico yen time machine

What would you use a real time machine for? I’d go back and not give away all the 1990s clothing I thought was gross but is now inexplicably back in fashion.


Zak Zebrowski avatar

I would solemnly swear I was up to no good and use it often.

Ashley Whittaker avatar

EXACTLY what it’s for 👍

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