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A 3D Display Made from Water Drops

In science and engineering, sometimes the most creative inventions are the outcome of happy accidents. Such is the case with the Aqualux 3D, an innovative 3D display technology that resulted when researchers at Carnegie Mellon were attempting to improve the functionality of car headlights under rainy conditions. They discovered that layers of water could make the perfect medium for a truly 3-dimensional, interactive screen.

With Aqualux 3D, each carefully-positioned water drop acts as a 3D pixel (or “voxel”) that can be viewed from many different angles. Three successive layers of drops add depth to one image, or can be used as separate displays (as in the 3D Tetris demo below):

YouTube Preview Image

Let’s hear from you: The makers of Aqualux point to its potential for use in a variety of situations – from theme park rides to art installations. What’s the most creative use for a 3D water drop display you can think of?

Image: Carnegie Mellon University

One Response to “A 3D Display Made from Water Drops”

  1. Wouldn’t using low-powered lasers (Laser TV) from 3 multiple angles and adding say, 3 more layers of water droplets, all much closer together help create a more 3D dynamic image?

    Also, I’m sure there’s a material you can coat on glass that allows light to pass outside of a glass sphere incasing the projector angles and water drops and recycling resevoir, keeping light from travelling in, meaning no matter the angle you look at it from, it always has a black background? Some sort of polarization perhaps?

    Or if lasers don’t work, replace the water with a more heat-durable liquid, and use inkjet print heads and a 120hz/240hz HD projector.

    Just my two or three cents.

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