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Polarised Binary Laser Dice

"Double 32! Roll again!"
  [vote for,

A glass die, around say, a half-inch square, has transparent faces, each fashioned from glass/crystal with polarisation patterns oriented at different angles.

Inside the die, suspended by an arrangement of inset magnets is a carefully balanced, smaller die, similarly constructed, and inside that a further one, and inside that a further one etc.

Rolling the die tumbles each of the interior dice, each of which will 'snap' into a particular position due to the gentle magnetic suspension.

The orientation of the polarising surfaces will be set up so as to ensure that they never completely block out any incoming light.

In any given roll, for each different internal die, faces will either line up exactly with the outer face, or ‘land’ at an angle unique to that particular die. Internal dice have polarization orientated at a value dependent on the total number of internal dice.

For example, a die containing 7 internal dice, will need to separate each surface by an angle of at least 11.25°, while one containing only 3 internal dice, can have internal rotational differences of around 22°

To read the die, it is placed into a graduated light and the amount of light at various polarisations that comes out the other side at each different orientation is measured.

A clarity of 100% will be considered a 'roll' of 255 (or whatever the maximum number of internal die that can be fitted into the construction) and the amount of light at each rotational point will reveal the state of each of the embedded dice, which can be represented as a binary on or off. Thus, a die with 7 internal, spectral' dice should be able to produce random numbers between 0 and 255 - or 1 and 256)

What would be cool (but I've not yet worked it out) would be a method of shining light through the die, and having a readable value projected onto the wall or ceiling, given an appropriate light-source.

An eight-bit die might pose some construction difficulties (due to the exponential size decrease), but perhaps a smaller-bit (maybe a 4-bit device, counting up to 16) could be made to do something like this.

zen_tom, Apr 25 2005

Digital Sundials http://www.digitals...com/background.html
Awesomest. [zen_tom, Sep 25 2007]


       I know, dice are boring, but think of these as funky space-dice, with tropical lasor beams.   

       They'd be cast by inscrutible hooded gamblers, risking their lot while, out the window, attack ships burnt off the shoulder of Orion and sea-beams glittered in the dark near Tannhauser gate.   

       Or not.
zen_tom, Apr 27 2005

       Wow. Now that's dice with serious infrastructure.
moomintroll, Apr 27 2005

       The nice thing about dice is that they are simple and random. Simple helps to make sure that they aren't rigged. Althogh your dice seem nicely unbiased and random, their lack of simplicity would allow for cheating.   

       This being said, it's massively complex yet elegant.+
Worldgineer, Apr 27 2005

       Pshew! Pshew! I've rolled an eleven!
DesertFox, Apr 19 2006

       //What would be cool (but I've not yet worked it out) would be a method of shining light through the die, and having a readable value projected onto the wall or ceiling, given an appropriate light-source.//   

       I'm approaching the end of Ian Stewart's "From Here to Infinity" where he talks (all too briefly) about a digital sundial - what a great idea! Furthermore, a firm has taken up the challenge and is actually building them (I think it was [xaviergisz] who has linked to this company elsewhere - but it's awesome enough to repeat here)   

       Anyway, a similar idea might be employed so that the number displayed within the die to a viewer looking through the top surface of a die would be dependent on the die's orientation (not sure how you'd deal with opposite sides throwing different 'shadows')
zen_tom, Sep 25 2007

       You could accomplish this using a miniature magic 8-ball with numbers on the floaty pyramids.
marklar, Sep 25 2007

       Wouldn't this shatter into a pile of polarized powder the first time you rolled it? (BTW, that's not my fish)
GutPunchLullabies, Sep 25 2007

       He heh. Nice tag.
theleopard, Sep 25 2007

       Wow this is complexly tron-ariffic! You truly are onto something here.
quantum_flux, Nov 18 2007


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