Claims that 14-year-old Texas student Ahmed Mohamed “invented” a briefcase clock are beginning to fall apart. On Thursday, an article at Artvoice said the clock was not homemade, but was instead a previously-manufactured device that was disassembled and put back together in a pencil case.
The author of the post originally said the clock was a 1970s vintage model built by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidiary. A reader, however, corrected the author, saying it was a model sold by Radio Shack in 1986.
“Anthony,” the author of the Artvoice piece, professed to have an engineering degree and simply wanted to know what it was Mohamed had created. After analyzing photos and video of the device, he concluded that the 14-year-old did not invent anything. “He didn’t even build a clock,” Anthony said.
“For starters, one glance at the printed circuit board in the photo, and I knew we were looking at mid-to-late 1970s vintage electronics,” he said. “You’ll notice right away the highly accurate spacing, straightness of the lines, consistency of the patterns,” he added. “That’s because we design things on computers nowadays, and computers assist in routing these lines.”
After observing the traces on Mohamed’s circuit board, Anthony noted the “M” logo silk-screened on the board, along with “C-94,” which he suspected was a part number along with an American flag. “Point for now being, a hobbyist wouldn’t silk screen logos and part numbers on their home made creation,” he said. “It’s pretty safe to say already we’re looking at ’70s tech, mass produced in a factory.”
Armed with that information, Anthony said it only took “a minute” to find Ahmed’s clock on eBay. The large display along with the shape and design was a dead giveaway, he added. The “M” logo, he added, indicated that it was made by Micronta.
He also located the pencil box Mohamed used for his project on Amazon. The eBay seller, he added, took a photo of the clock next to a ruler and found the dimensions lined up “perfectly.”
“So there you have it folks,” Anthony said. “Ahmed Mohamed did not invent, nor build a clock. He took apart an existing clock, and transplanted the guts into a pencil box, and claimed it was his own creation. It all seems really fishy to me.”
Here’s a video that explains more:
Others found a number of things “fishy” with the whole Mohamed clock story. A post at Young Conservatives, for example, said Mohamed’s father, also named Mohamed, ran for president in Sudan twice from his Texas home and stood up to the Florida pastor who made news when he burned Korans.
The younger Mohamed also said he was concerned that the device would “look suspicious” to some. Our own Faye Higbee wondered why he would bring the device to school if he thought it would raise suspicions.
If the intent was to raise the specter of perceived “Islamophobia,” it worked. As many have noted, the story has gone viral on social media and President Barack Obama has invited the young man to the White House to show off his work, which he admitted was thrown together in about 20 minutes.
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS44) September 16, 2015
According to Breitbart’s Merrill Hope, officers questioning the young man described him as “passive aggressive” in his responses, and, they added, he did not have a “reasonable answer” to explain the situation. “He kept maintaining it was a clock,” Irving police officer James McLellan said, “but there was no broader explanation.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) got involved, calling the incident an example of Islamophobia, and the local chapter president claimed Mohamed was targeted only because of his race and religious background. Officers, no doubt concerned about such allegations, did not know how they should respond to the situation.
“It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car,” McLellan said. “The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?”
Mohamed was not taken into custody, but the school suspended him for three days and confiscated the clock. Authorities may still charge him with making a bomb hoax, but were clear the device was not a bomb. According to Anthony, it also wasn’t a clock.
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