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The Explosive Paintball Flak Cannon
be a portable rapid-fire upward facing
gun. It would fire exploding powdered
shells that would be set to detonate at a
certain altitude (or time after leaving gun
-- whatever's easier).
The elevation and direction of the barrel
computer-controlled so that a
raster of sky would be scanned firing a
shell when necessary to produce dots in
the appropriate places.
Being based on discrete shells rather
smoke nozzles, the shells could be of
different colours, allowing colour
to be printed in the sky as well as text
Mounted on a trailer (with feet that can
locked down for firing), the Explosive
Paintball Flak Cannon could be easily
towed behind a car and taken to outdoor
Bigger versions could feature
multiple barrels to spell larger
draw larger pictures and to give smaller
messages a longer lifespan on a windy
by printing the message faster.
Alternatively, multiple units could be
hooked up to the same computer and
used to create large messages.
A group that type messages in the sky using smoke nozzles behind aircarft flying in formation. [st3f, May 10 2005]
No need for dye. Ordinary flack is quite visible.
[ldischler, May 11 2005]
||This had darned-well better be biodegradable soy-based ink.
||Other than that, it's great.
||You could do animation by having successive scans explode just a bit closer on each pass.
||Animation....I like that. This is beginning, in scale, to resemble John Varley's storms as a form of art.
||Animation? Cute extension to the idea. It
would need a massive parallel array of
cannons to do that, though.
||Maybe a really fast, motorized gatling cannon would do.
||Nice. I guess you'd just need really fine control over the ballistics... presumably, it wouldn't take much difference in charge size/composition for the shells to wander a little over the distances involved. Chaos theory and all that. [+]
||Interesting idea but I'm not getting the dye or ink part. Isn't smoke the best choice?
||No ink (the word paintball is just my own
inaccurate mental shorthand), just a finely
powdered dye (with a
small explosive charge at the centre). The
finer the powder the better it would be at
hanging in the air once the charge has
detonated. Smoke might hang in the air
better (depends how fine you can make
the powder) but I can't think of a way of
accurately delivering that out of a cannon.
||Just like a firework, I'd think. The burst charge is surrounded by a very finely ground flammable material that generates a lot of smoke.
||Actually I was just thinking about
launching flares with parachutes to spell
messages at night, but that might get
expensive (as well as being more difficult
||Neat, so [+]... in spite of the fact that the only practical use for this would be offensively invasive advertising (with air pollution). Still pretty neat.
||Then again, the powdered dye could perhaps be made of fertilizer, and be shot out over a field? (Explosives & fertilizers share a lot of chemicals...)