The DeLorean may have been the most iconic part of Back to the Future's time machine, but it couldn't have worked without the segmented LED clock controlling it. Adafruit Industries has now recreated that clock and provided both a guide and some extra resources for building it. Creator PhilB admits that like many of us, he doesn't own a car of any sort, but putting it on a desk should work just as well, so long as you've got a means for pushing its speed to 88 miles an hour.
Adafruit says the Time Circuit Clock can't be sold because of trademark issues, but that means PhilB has put the entire thing together out of stock parts (sold through the Adafruit store, of course) in the hope that people can make it themselves. The base of the clock is a set of LED displays in a metal-painted acrylic housing, directed by a Teensy microcontroller that can fit in places an Arduino can't. We're not sure exactly how much you should expect to spend if you decide to make it, but the microcontroller costs $20 on Adafruit and each of the nine displays is $9.95, so we're guessing it's somewhere under $150. This isn't an official instruction guide, which means the finished product relies a bit on interpretation. It's also hardly the first design inspired by Back to the Future, but it's a good example of how to make something both simple and iconic with a minimum of parts.