Chess Clock LISA
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What do technical facilities lead to?
Common clocks has only two play displays, in very most cases only with four digits. Not the whole time but either hours and minutes or minutes and seconds are shown during the play. Format depends on the time and is recognized by decimal point vs. semicolon!
LISA: all necessary data are shown all the time: hours, minutes and seconds for both players, extra time and current period. To achieve perfect orientation, the format is fixed (all data are displayed in all situations in the same formats and at the same places). Main displays do not show any other data except of main thinking times - players are not troubled which allows short glimpse to looking-in.
Passing of extra time for tournament modes is very interesting information for the having the move (to economize time for current move); in the Bronstein method this fact is even more important (whether the player is allowed thinking for "free"). Common clocks are used not to display extra time at all, LISA displays extra time even in two ways: in digits and via the bargraph! The player is perfectly informed not only "whether" but even "how long" is still allowed to think for the time allotted for current move.
Even during settings it is necessary to confine oneself to displaying on these short numeric displays. LISA has six-digit displays and in addition to this third alphanumeric one which communicates with the user in words! Language mutations are also available.
Common clocks have typically only three additional keys besides of the two play ones which is not enough for comfortable settings. Even clocks with more keys do not allow user-friendly handling. They support only one-directional changes (up), single digit by single digit etc.
Many clocks have not play buttons but isosceles lever or double interlock switches (pushing one means automatic mechanic releasing the other). There are evident disadvantages: mechanical element can result in lower reliability, it is used to be too noisy, allows usually only two positions and that is why care must be taken to the position when the game is started (which is neither intuitive nor logical). The player is allowed not to let switch his opponent's clock.
LISA has fully independent play buttons. Functionality of these two basic buttons (in black) is supported during the game with another one - redlining button Stop located between the play ones (and accessible in the same way for both players). It is intended for fast stopping of both clocks and is used for a lot of other functions.
LISA has seven pushbuttons in total which allows (in cooperation with the alphanumeric display) quite new approach to handling – using a menu. It is very advantageous, intuitive and intelligible. Menu encourages the user and that is why most of commands can be set intuitively. Saying with a little exaggeration, no manual and no table printed on the covering are needed. Even a chess player with no special relationship to technics gets familiar with the handling (like with a celular phone). Data are always changed as one piece, not by single digits. Bidirectional changes are always supported (up and down) with over/underflow. It makes the settings much faster: first, desired value is achieved approximately by fast autorepeat (it does not mind if the value is run over) and then the exact value is adjusted by some pushings of Plus or Minus key. This way is used not only for numbers but even for letters and special characters (e.g. for user mode names). Handling is always uniform: data to be changed flashes. Change is done by the + (up) and - (down) keys. Next item switch without a change is done by the Escape key while the change is confirmed and next item is switched by the Enter key. Intelligibility is supported by the color of the keys which correspond to basic characteristics of individual keys: black keys mean acceptance, red ones do cancellation and gray keys do change or switching to next item. Key functionality is intuitive with maximal respect to habits of players used to play with mechanical clocks. Long pressing of a key (for about 4 sec) is used for some important events, e.g. long Stop terminates current game and new game is prepared, long Escape is intended for returning from any menu level to the top.
Two luminiscent diodes (LED) indicate in two colors whether the clock runs, who has a move, whether it is allowed just to continue playing etc. Indication is visible from a long distance and from all directions (LEDs are located on the top, not on the front of the case).
Clocks with a "lever" or double interlock switches do not used to have LEDs at all and the player having the move is indicated by the lever position. (The reason is to reduce manufacturing costs and current consumption). But lever or interlock switches with the absence of LEDs means another substantial reduction of functionality (controlling as well as indications).More details...
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