Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Choreographing light

13.11.2012
EPFL scientists have developed an algorithm to control light patterns called "caustics" and organize them into coherent images

It's a simple, transparent acrylic plate – nothing embedded within it and nothing printed on its surface. Place it at a certain angle between a white wall and a light source, and a clear, coherent image appears of the face of Alan Turing, the famous British mathematician and father of modern computer science.


Researchers at EPFL found a way to control "caustics", patterns that appear when light hits a water surface or a transparent material. Thanks to an algorithm, they can shape a transparent object so that it reflects a coherent image.

Credit: (c) Alain Herzog

There's no magic here; the only thing at work is the relief on the plaque's surface and a natural optical phenomenon known as a "caustic," which researchers in EPFL's Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory have succeeded in bending to their will. Their research was presented recently at the Advances in Architectural Geometry Conference in Paris.

"With the technique that we've developed, we can compose any image we want, from a simple form such as a star to complex representations such as faces or landscapes," explains EPFL professor Mark Pauly, head of the laboratory, who conducted the study with four other scientists*.

This "caustic" effect is well known and easy to observe; a bit of sunlight shining on a pool of water produces patterns that dance on the surrounding tiles or walls. These undulating lines, apparently random, are generated by light that hits the moving surface of a pool or puddle. This effect, which is very mobile and dynamic in liquid, produces static patterns with solid transparent materials such as glass or transparent acrylic (better known as Plexiglass).

Deviated trajectories

Scientifically, this phenomenon can be explained by light refraction. When light rays hit a transparent surface, they continue their trajectory but are bent as a function of the surface geometry and optical properties of the material. The light passing through is thus not uniformly distributed. It gets concentrated in certain points, forming some zones that are more intense and others that are more shaded.

Pauly and his colleagues studied the principles of this distribution, and were able to identify the curves and undulations they would need to give to the surface in order to direct the beams of light to a desired area. They then developed an algorithm to calculate the trajectories very precisely and thus form a specific image.

One of the most interesting and eagerly awaited applications of this method is in architecture. It could be applied to display cases, windows, fountains, and ornamentations on museums and monuments. In design it could be used for decorating glasses, vases, carafes, jewelry and many other objects. It has considerable potential in other, more technical applications as well, such as automobile headlights and projectors.

See the Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NXNAIqU8KM

*Thomas Kiser (EPFL), Michael Eigensatz (Evolute), Minh Man Nguyen (WAO) and Philippe Bompas.

Mark Pauly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.epfl.ch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NXNAIqU8KM

Further reports about: Choreographing Choreographing light EPFL Source algorithm coherent images geometry

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Researchers find the macroscopic Brownian motion phenomena of self-powered liquid metal motors
02.07.2015 | Science China Press

nachricht Liquids on Fibers - Slipping or Flowing?
01.07.2015 | Universität des Saarlandes

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Solardächer produzieren Strom für Fahrzeuge

Studentische Industriekooperation zwischen HAW Hamburg und Webasto erarbeitet Ergebnisse für EU-Zertifizierungsprozess von Solardächern zur Verbesserung der Öko-Bilanz von Fahrzeugen.

Unter der Leitung von Dr.-Ing. Volker Skwarek, Professor für technische Informatik an der HAW Hamburg, erarbeiteten sechs Studierende des...

Im Focus: Viaducts with wind turbines, the new renewable energy source

Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity. So it is confirmed by calculations carried out by a European researchers team, that have taken a viaduct in the Canary Islands as a reference. This concept could be applied in heavily built-up territories or natural areas with new constructions limitations.

The Juncal Viaduct, in Gran Canaria, has served as a reference for Spanish and British researchers to verify that the wind blowing between the pillars on this...

Im Focus: Aus alt mach neu - Rohstoffquelle Elektroschrott

Der Markt für Unterhaltungselektronik boomt: Rund 60 Millionen Fernsehgeräte wurden im letzten Jahr in Europa verkauft. Früher oder später werden sie zurückkehren – als Elektroschrott.

Die Recycling-Industrie hat darauf reagiert: Kupfer, Aluminium, Eisen- und Edelmetalle sowie ausgewählte Kunststoffe werden bereits wiederverwertet. Allerdings...

Im Focus: Radar schützt vor Weltraummüll

Die Bedrohung im All durch Weltraummüll ist groß. Aktive Satelliten und Raumfahrzeuge können beschädigt oder zerstört werden. Ein neues, nationales Weltraumüberwachungssystem soll ab 2018 vor Gefahren im Orbit schützen. Fraunhofer-Forscher entwickeln das Radar im Auftrag des DLR Raumfahrtmanagement.

Die »Verkehrssituation« im All ist angespannt: Neben unzähligen Satelliten umkreisen Weltraumtrümmer wie beispielsweise ausgebrannte Raketenstufen und...

Im Focus: X-rays and electrons join forces to map catalytic reactions in real-time

New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions

A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Aktuelles aus Forschung und Betrieb: 27. Deutscher Flammentag

02.07.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Call for ideas: Gute Ideen für bessere Städte

02.07.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Von Produktpiraterie bis Ideen-Schutz: Mit Experten über Patent- und Innovationsschutz diskutieren

02.07.2015 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

CORIO - Neue Laborthermostate Generation

02.07.2015 | Unternehmensmeldung

Aktuelles aus Forschung und Betrieb: 27. Deutscher Flammentag

02.07.2015 | Veranstaltungsnachrichten

Solardächer produzieren Strom für Fahrzeuge

02.07.2015 | Energie und Elektrotechnik