Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Liquid Letters

Water Drop Matrix Display
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Inspired by "jumping" or "leap frog" fountains such as found at Disney World.

Quick and dirty description of the inspiration pieces: fountains that use veins inside tubes to create a clean "laminar flow" of water. The stream is interrupted by a second water source that cuts across the flow of the main source. Instead of a continuous parabola of water, a short segment that looks like a glass rod travels along the parabolic path.

This idea involves an extended application of the same technology. Instead of the longer segments, the water would be "switched" on and off more rapidly to create patterns of very short segments, so short that they are just spheres.

Position 50 or so of these dot emitting nozzles side by side. Angle the nozzles such that they shoot parallel streams nearly straight up but slighly away from the observer.

Place this array of nozzles in front of a visual barrier such that the parabolic path of the water carries it over the top of the barrier thereby hiding the downward portion of the path from the observer.

Synchronized operation of the nozzles, producing appropriate patterns of water spheres and spaces, would allow the creation of text or images in a manner similar to an LED array.

Without going through the effort of figuring out how fast the "message" would be moving upward, it seems that it may be necessary to operate this gizmo in a darkened environment and use a strobe to "freeze" the display to make it readable.

half, Dec 13 2002

Inspiration http://www.bchevrie.../html/DCP_3778.html
It appears to be difficult to capture the effect in photographs. This was the best picture I could find. [half, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Bubble Display http://www-2.cs.cmu...les_paper_draft.pdf
[egnor, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Baked http://www.hgb-leip...lrobots/bitfall.php
[Thanks to Tycho for link.] [DrCurry, Aug 23 2005, last modified Jan 21 2006]

(?) Technofrolics http://www.technofrolics.com/video.html
lots of matrixy products including bubble screens. also check giant video knob [JesusHChrist, Sep 17 2005]

[link]






       Very clever.   

       I wonder how many frames per second this could make? I agree that a strobe might be needed but if the strobes were acute enough it might yet work in daylight.   

       I love those hoppy fountains. I once saw part of a fascinating show about the company that built them for Disney and all of the difficulties they faced making them work.
bristolz, Dec 13 2002
  

       yeah, mout it in the floors of train stations and shopping malls, then when you go up to the mez you can see the image. cool!
futurebird, Dec 13 2002
  

       It could also be ceiling mounted, dropping a 'curtain' of droplets into a trough on the floor. This setup might make it easier to conrol the image.
hippo, Dec 13 2002
  

       Wow. I thought this was going to be a complete joke, but it's actually really clever. Parabolic croissant for you.
egbert, Dec 13 2002
  

       I've seen this done with the assistance of strobe lights.
phoenix, Dec 13 2002
  

       I like the idea a lot. Yup, fiber optics and strobe light(s) are probably called for. In my last visit to the nearest Bed Bath and Beyond, I noticed the latest generation of indoor waterfall/fountains. There is already a miniature 'leaping waters' kind of fountain. Good luck.
gorath, Oct 09 2003
  

       Very interesting. I wonder how clean those individual "spheres" of water would be considering that these fountains give a slightly messy edge to the rods of water (as in your photo). Still, it would be worth the effort to see. +
k_sra, Jan 09 2004
  

       I recently watched a fireman demonstrating his hose. The white plume of water looked majestic. If there was a way to switch them instantaneously, nine of them lined up could be made to write a message in the sky.   

       The electronics could be adapted from a nine-pin dot matrix printer.
neelandan, Mar 03 2004
  

       This idea deserves far more croisants than I can give it (darn)   

       I hope this idea comes into full usege, as it is utterly and totally amazing, have a croissant.
TheCoat, Mar 08 2004
  

       Yup. One of the better ideas here, really. By the way, there's only one positive vote and it's mine.   

       <annotation obsoleted by subsequent voting activity>
bristolz, Aug 24 2005
  

       Cool idea. What about having the droplets fall from above? The rate of decent would be exactly known, the droplets would hold together - perhaps being prefectly spherical, and they would fall straight. The difficulty would be to get the drops to form rapidly and exactly on time. Some kind of simple shutter system that lets out a precise amount of water on each opening might to the trick.
Obeardedone, Sep 17 2005
  

       Why don't you ever see flowers planted in matrix patterns?
JesusHChrist, Sep 17 2005
  

       How I missed this for three years I'll never know. +   
      
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