Water this watch or it will die

Water this watch or it will die – Invention

Watches and water don’t mix. There are watches that conk out after you dunk them in water and watches that repel the least drop of moisture. But it looks as if this incompatibility may have come to an end. Now a timepiece that must be taken for a swim or shower once every few days has been invented by a Texas firm called VentuResearch.

This thirsty watch runs on an updated version of the most primitive battery known, the voltaic cell — alternating plates of dissimilar metals in a liquid bath. As long as the metals are im- mersed, an electrolytic reaction takes place. When liberated, positively charged ions from the zinc float over to the copper plate and give it a positive charge. And negatively charged particles, electrons, are drawn toward the positive copper plate along wires leading through the timekeeping electronics. Thus the electrons’ flow creates a current that powers the watch.

To keep the ions and current flowing, the watch must be watered periodically through tiny channels leading from the outside to the voltaic cells inside. Any liquid — Pepsi, tea, milk, orange juice, water, beer — will do. In the end, though, it’s the mount of zinc that determines the watch’s longevity: for every ”tick,” the zinc plate has to relinquish some electrons. For the time being, only enough zinc for ten years of life will be included. Nowadays, says Roger Hummel, the president of VentuResearch in El Paso and one of the inventors of the watch — which will be available by year’s end at a cost of between $20 and $30 — ”most people think that if they get ten years out of a watch, they’re lucky.”

COPYRIGHT 1986 Discover

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group