Bayfield High School pupil Shaun Tocher with his Clepsydra
volumetric visualiser display which has won him a place in
the national final of the 2013 Bright Sparks Awards. Photo
by Peter McIntosh.
His dad's washing machine is a little the worse for wear,
but Shaun Tocher isn't worried.
The parts he stripped from it to create his Clepsydra
volumetric visualiser display have made the 18-year-old
Bayfield High School pupil a national finalist in the 2013
Bright Sparks Awards.
The competition encourages young people to create wild and
wacky electronic inventions, and is New Zealand's premier
showcase for brilliant young minds.
For those unsure about what a Clepsydra volumetric visualiser
display is, it's basically a 3-D graphic equaliser made out
of an old fan, magnet wire, recycled power cable, an old
corflute election campaign sign and some LED lights.
It looks like a desk fan with multiple blades, each with a
row of LED lights which respond to music in shape, size and
colour . . . and it creates a gentle breeze while it's
''It's made entirely of recycled materials. That was one of
my goals - to make it out of cheap and accessible material.
''I pulled my dad's washing machine apart to get some parts.
''It was broken, so that was fine. I'm sure it was beyond
fixing. He didn't mind having to buy a new one.
''I always say don't judge a design by how simple it is.
Rather, judge it by how complex it isn't.''
Although visual displays on music listening devices are not
new, Shaun said his aim was to develop the idea.
''Everyone wants to make things better. Music is a big deal
to the world, but music visualisers aren't that popular at
''My idea is to work out how to refine it and make it better
so people will use it.''
Will his plan work? Only time would tell, he said.
His interim plan was to make the design available on the
internet so hobbyists like himself could make their own
Clepsydra volumetric visualiser displays at home.
He said it would cost less than $50 to get the parts and
build it - maybe less if you pulled your family washing