The first atomic watch was created in 1949. It was actually an ammonia absorption line device. It was less accurate than existing quartz clocks but served to demonstrate the concept. Keep reading to learn more about this watch!

The first atomic was quite complex. Not only was it designed using a rechargeable battery, but it also had an external base station that works to charge the watch. It also sets the watch as accurately as possible. It can be set within less than 100 nanoseconds, that’s a hundred-billionth of a second, to the exact, international standard time for the globe. Once it is set, it’s accurate to one second in a thousand years. The clock that’s on your phone, or computer,  most are only accurate to about 200 milliseconds. That’s the error that this watch develops in 200 years. Even GPS receivers are off by several hundred milliseconds: The computer spends all its time processing the location data, and not the time.  

Once the clock is set automatically, it needs to be hooked up to the accelerometer, and the compass, and the internal inertial units in your phone — which basically record incline, acceleration, and all that stuff — it can act as its own GPS, without having to be in contact with GPS. It can also accurately track your location down to 10 centimeters for days, for months.



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