Unexpectedly Intriguing!
July 7, 2017

Imagine being able to slow down time around you, where you would be able to see things move in slow motion. Via Core77, some ingenious Kickstarters have made a picture frame that can do that. Or rather, seem to do just that.

It's not so much a localized time distortion device as it is a sculpture that combines naturally flexible organic material and ambient air currents with strobe light effects to produce the slow motion effect. In the following video, Jeff Lieberman describes his inspiration behind the project.

Core77 explains the method behind the magic.

Slow Dance is made from a sturdy 2" pine wood frame. Two springs hold objects in the frame, lit from recessed LED lighting.

Strobe lights are nothing new—extremely fast strobe lights help us to see fast motions. On a dance-floor, strobe lights turn us into stop motion animations. But Slow Dance puts strobe light to use in a different fashion.By using high speed strobe lights, blinking 80 times a second, your eyes cannot even see that they are blinking—the light looks continuous. By synchronizing the strobes to the high-speed vibration of objects (feathers, branches, flowers, etc), we create the visual illusion of those objects moving in slow motion. This is a phenomenon called persistence of vision, and works similarly to the way a TV works—by flickering frozen images quickly enough that we perceive them as continuous motion.

By varying the timing of the strobe lights, it's possible to make the objects look like they move in impossible ways—moving in slow motion, jumping discretely to new positions instantaneously, and more. The objects can even be touched, and appear to be moving in slow motion despite the user's interaction.

Very cool!

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