A Timeless Fountain

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with the stroboscopic effect. To paraphrase wisegeek, it is a phenomenon of human visual perception in which motion is shown to be interpreted by a brain that receives successive discreet images and stitches them together with automatic aliases for temporal continuity. In short, motion is an artifact. A conventional strobe fountain is a stream of water droplets falling at regular intervals lit with a strobe light. When viewed under normal light, it is a normal water fountain. When viewed under a strobe light with its frequency tuned to the rate at which the droplets fall, the droplets appear to be suspended in mid-air. Adjusting the strobe frequency can make the droplets seemingly move slowly up or down. However making water droplets fall at regular intervals isn’t as easy as it sounds as many physical effects will get in the way of doing so (the main one being surface tension). For this project to work I’m instead detecting droplets with a laser and flashing a light accordingly.”

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