TokyoFlash's "Infection" watch tells time on an electronic Petri dish

The masters of impractical high-tech wristware at TokyoFlash have pulled off another coup of LED wristwatch madness with the Infection watch, which uses seething colored LEDs to simulate a dancing Petri dish (and tell the time):

Twenty-seven multi-colored LEDs pulsate and move like cells across the curved face to present the time from beneath the attractive mirrored mineral crystal lens.

Finished with a matching leather band and stainless steel clasp, this is a flashy look that’s sure to get you noticed.

Twelve red LEDs indicate hours, eleven yellow LEDs represent the progression of time in groups of five minutes and four green LEDs show single minutes.



  1. Can you imagine the TSA’s reaction tho this thing? Almost worth the strip search. Anyway, good value at $133(CDN)/$134(US), but I think I will wait for the free iPod Touch / iPhone version. Of course I could try to write it myself, but so far I think you need a Mac to use the SDK no?

  2. Just remember to de-accessorize before going to pick up your friends at the airport. Forgetfulness may lead to increased familiarity with the business end of a submachine gun.

  3. I speak Japanese and the LED lights in the img translates as ALL YOUR BASES ARE BELONG TO US.

  4. I speak Sumerian, and to me it looks like dood by the time you finish counting there will be three more green LEDs showing.

  5. For day-to-day use, the only advantage a watch has over a phone is that I can just glance at my wrist to see the time rather than reaching into my pocket.

    I have a tokyo flash watch and, while it’s a thing of beauty, I hardly ever wear it. The trouble is that I need to press the button to make it light up — which means I need to have both hands empty and clean, which doesn’t happen often when I’m at work — then wait two seconds for the really cool animation to finish.

    Plus, as JSG says, this one doesn’t seem readable at a glance. It’s no good showing off your fancy watch if you then need to spend half a minute peering at it, trying to count up to 27 writhing lights.

  6. Tokyo Flash does some really cool watches, but I wish they spent more time thinking about how to make a really cool watch that is readable.

    I guess I understand that the unreadability is one of their selling points for some people, but as Bugs says, it’s going to limit how often you wear the things.

    That said, they do have a could of really cool, actually readable watches, which I plan to buy once I can justify spending however much they charge for them.

  7. My dad used to have a binary clock on the mantel in the living room that worked much the same way; you had to spend 2 minutes counting up the numbers.

    Funny thing though? I got so used to explaining it to friends who came over that I became really good at reading it, and after a few months, I could read the thing at a glance. It was just as easy as reading an analog clock (although not as simple as reading a digital one, I admit.) It gets easier. I’m sure after you wore this thing for a while the same thing would happen.

  8. This will get you noticed, all right, by the people you ask for the time — “but don’t you have a watch? oh, never mind, that’s a bracelet”.

  9. I have a watch that uses the same method for telling time, and while it’s awkward at first, it really doesn’t require a second glance after a bit of practice. It’s never as easy as just looking down and seeing the time, but it’s not as time-consuming as you might think.

  10. I think if you’re used to analogue, it wouldn’t be all that hard. It’s like having a clock with no numbers. You’re looking at time in a more fractional or space oriented sence, as opposed to a number. Like – I have a quarter of an hour before work vs I have 16m and 30s.

  11. #9: I was going to say, it’ll get easier to read it at a glance after a month or so.

    #13: Wow, a girl macking on a boy because of his binary watch? That’s awesome.

  12. When I was a child, my cousin, who now annihilates anti-matter for a living, had a clock consisting of hourglasses inside a sealed glass box full of liquid. I have no clue how it worked, except that things flowed and the parts floated up or down in the liquid and they somehow were able to tell time by it.

  13. I have a nifty TokyoFlash watch. It does take some practice, but over time you get used to just how the shapes of the LEDs represent times, and can tell with a glance, without having to count them up.

    While not totally practical, it is definitely a eye-catching fashion accessory. I get more comments about it than any piece of clothing or jewelry I’ve ever worn in my life. You would think it was a Rolex or something.

    Although I do find myself having to explain how you read it over and over and over and…

  14. I get that you can learn to read new watches pretty quickly – one of my favourite watches goes anticlockwise, which *really* bothers people who aren’t used to it – but my impression is that you couldn’t read this one at a glance.

    If all the lights are pulsating and moving around, I think it would be extremely difficult to see the difference between, say, ten and eleven unpredictably distributed minute lights. You’d need to take a few moments to visually sweep the watch face and count. If they were in a predictable pattern for each number it’d be much easier.

  15. I don’t think the lights “seethe” or “pulsate and move”. From the photos at tokyoflash, it looks like there are exactly the right number of each color of LED in fixed positions, and the exact same pattern of “cells” will always be lit to indicate the same time of day. A little bit of the pattern will change only once per minute, and only after pushing a button anyway; as far as I can tell, the face normally displays no lights at all, probably to save power. Tokyoflash’s wording seems deceptive about the “pulsating”, possibly intentionally so, and from reading the comments here, it seems I wasn’t the only one to be misled (for a while).

    Has anyone actually seen one to confirm this?

  16. Tis a thing of beauty, but largely useless to the ~10% of Euro and Japanese males that have red-green blindness.

    Why not red-yellow-blue, or blue-yellow-green? (with apologies to the tritans and monochromats out there).

  17. So from reading the comments it seems like one needs to push a button to get the display to come on, which is a no starter for me.

    What would be sweet is if they put two cheap position sensors in there so the watch could know when it is nearish the orientation one would need to read it. At which point it could fade the display in till you move the watch in a different direction (or you hit a time out.)

    The problems I see would be that it would be hard to get it to activate in situations where you were not standing or sitting (such as laying in bed.) Which doesn’t seem to be a real problem to me. Maybe they could get really clever and analyze the changes in orientation as one goes to look at their watch so they could make the activation independent of the orientation to the ground. I.e., watch rotated 15 degrees along the wrist access and moved up along the watch face axis a few inches.

    Of course knowing my luck the sensors would take more power than the leds making it less than practical. Maybe they could use physical mercury switches to know it was level. Thus it would be activated by the gesture of getting the face parallel to the ground. Seriously wouldn’t that be extra rad for a watch like this – to control it by gesture? I wish I had free time to make stuff like this. :/

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