Saturday, November 1, 2008

Persistence of Vision - It's Second Light!

Bloody hell! My film-making background is finally useful. Briefly. Microsoft's fab new technology is utilising persistence of vision. Beautifully.

Lucretius, epicurean poet, scientist, philosopher is the first to write of the phenomenon. (I must read "De Rerum Natura"! Santayana speaks of the 3 great philosopher poets, Lucretius, Dante and Goethe.)

The Chinese inventor, Ting Huan, is said to have created the first zoetrope in 180AD. Zoetropes, thaumatropes and other similar devices delighted the Victorians and prefaced the Lumiere brothers' first films.

Now Microsoft have developed a seemingly unanchored display, effectively interlacing images. Think of the thaumotrope which unites two disparate images. Secondlight projects two separate images at the same time. The first is captured on the bottom screen. The second is invisible until you place another screen above it.

It is a blindingly simple example of looking at things a new way.

Perhaps they'll ditch SecondLight for Lucretia (in honor of the Roman poet who first identified the phenomenon) or Zoe2 (in honor of my daughter).

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