LL :: Volume 46 :: LR
|One Man's Neat, Another Man's Pose|
The North Point Shopping Arcades have set up a tool that -- visually --
fills their pedestrian ways with knee-deep water. It rushes down stairs
and along walkways, eternally, never slowing. (Yes, it rushes
horizontally. The movement is clearly tweaked for dramatic effect, rather
than being a strictly physical simulation. But it does swirl realistically
around local obstacles. Such as your legs.)
The field is actually more transparent than water -- or rather, less obtrusive. It refracts light with an index of about 0.15, so the ripples distort much less than water would. You can see objects on the ground and walk down stairs without tripping. (Although the dissonance between the current you see, but can't feel, can itself be disorienting! The hackers who set up the effect are considering adding a very weak tangible pressure; it would probably help steady people, by supporting their expectations.)
In addition to the now-standard temperature readings, ErgWare's
Transparent Pans perform visible-light scans of their entire inside
surface. (The data is made available as a room-context Net image source,
just like your oven camera.) Now you can see what color the sides and
bottom of your cake are turning, as well as the top.
Ordered Snow is a very, very weak stress field whose only effect is to
align all the snow falling through it. The polar axis of each snowflake
is influenced to be horizontal (that is, the plane of the flake is
vertical), and the axes line up in sixty-degree increments from each
The effect on falling or blowing snow is striking; flickering planes of light seem to hang in the air, angled between you and any light sources. There is no rainbow (snowflakes are much more complex than water droplets), but aligned crystal substructures in the flakes can provide a hint of spectral shading, multiply fractured and barely visible.
And since the field reaches to ground level, the flakes remain aligned when they come to rest. A field of ordered snowfall is an airy crystalline body, nearly translucent, with halos of retroreflected light shining from its surface. Very lovely.
|In the Home|
Spatial designers are beginning to make use of amp-phase reflections.
A mirror can be placed in a room, and programmed to always reflect a
given angle. No matter where you stand, the reflection always shows
the same spot in the room. As you move around, the mirror seems to
rotate, of course -- the distraction is a bit of a drawback -- but the
effect can be well worth it, for directing attention and arranging
|Life of the Mind|
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