A new 3-D projection technology that floats video and images on falling water may have entertainment value for theme parks and gaming in the future. It also might help drivers to navigate more safely at night through torrential downpours.
AquaLux 3D, developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, targets light and images onto and between individual water droplets. The initial hope was to use the technology to develop an LED headlight system that helps drivers navigate through night storms, explains Srinivasa Narasimhan, associate professor of robotics.
“The beauty of water drops is that they refract most incident light, so they serve as excellent wide-angle lenses that can be among the brightest elements of an environment,” said Narasimhan. The research team includes Takeo Kanade, professor of computer science and robotics, and Peter Barnum, a Ph.D. student in robotics.
By carefully generating several layers of drops so that no two occupy the same line-of-sight from the projector, the drops can be used as a voxel, a sort of 3-D pixel, that are illuminated to create a 3-D image, he explains. By synchronizing the water drops, the effect can be achieved. The team is also working on a headlight that hopes to illuminate while missing as many water drops as possible to give drivers better visibility.
Source: Srinivasa Narasimhan, Carnegie Mellon University