[dropcap size=small]C[/dropcap]onsidering the fact that every other household gadget has been slapped with the ‘smart’ label, the clock seems remarkably late to the show. Perhaps the simple device needs no upgrade – you look at it, and it shows you the  time instantly. No questions asked, no lag, no software updates, no distracting notifcations, no low-battery indicator (it just stops in passive-aggressive protest.)

That’s out the window now with the Glance clock, a crowd-funded bit of gadgetry that dared to ask: can you get more out of that square foot on your wall?

Turns out, you certainly can. The makers behind Glance have plied enough tech behind those two hands to make it a mini-news ticker, which shows you timely reminders of when your next meetings are, or how bad you are at sticking to your fitness goals (saving you the cost of a personal trainer). These work off a Bluetooth connection with your smartphone – not so different from the smartwatches we’ve gotten used to.

“Glance, remind me 15 minutes before dinner how much of it I should eat so I can maintain my current shape.”

It even shows you the weather conditions outside, so you don’t have to swivel in your chair to face the window.

“Why’re you inside on a lovely day out?”

The million-dollar question: does the clock “activate” when users glance at it? Contrary to its name and half the marketing material used in its promotion, it doesn’t, and can’t. (No one aside from The Peak appears to have pondered this, yet the schematics make it clear.)

But that’s being unnecessarily harsh. After all, we wouldn’t want our appointments broadcast to anyone who happened to peer at the clock, and a deceptive patch of sky outside one’s window may not account for looming rain clouds. Besides, the simple function of getting it to light up when your phone rings may save you a business deal.


The firm has also taken great pains to implement voice control compatibility with home hubs such as Amazon Echo, and even offers up open-ended triggers from platforms such as IFTTT and Stringify. For the uninitiated, that latter functionality means your tech savvy friends can probably get the night’s winning Toto / lottery numbers to flash on your clock.

It’s the use of space here that’s refreshing – we’re already used to putting up clocks, and looking at them for the time, so working in nuggets of information related to that measure is an intuitive, natural extension. A few more firms working on these and we’ll have some stylish and very functional options to adorn our homes with.

Not just a pretty face – the Glance runs over 400 LEDs to bring you colourful nuggets of information.

And don’t worry, the battery lasts for a good three to six months of operational use – or you could just keep it plugged in.