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Osaka Station fountain displays time, art in water

A nifty new fountain in Osaka redefines the ancient concept of the water clock.

Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

The city of Osaka in Japan recently took the wraps off the largest shopping mall in the country, and it features a nifty fountain that can display the time as well as artwork with drops of water.

The attraction, located in the South Gate Building of the new Osaka Station City complex, is a large rectangular water display created by local firm Koei Industry.

As the vid below shows, Koei's Space Printer fountain shows a digital-style time readout, spitting out numbers three times, as well as scrolling patterns including floral motifs in 2D. It can also display text.

The "clock" started ticking in March, but the complex, home to two department stores, only opened last week.

The printer emits illuminated water droplets in carefully controlled patterns to reproduce images that are stored on a PC. Founded in 1987, Koei has produced entertainment fountains and landscape displays in various cities in Japan.

Ancient civilizations produced many water clocks such as the clepsydra, which were devices that measured time by the passage of water. I wonder if those inventors of yore would have reacted to the Space Printer like the kids in this video.

(Thanks Kong!)