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Turning Soap Film Into a Projector Screen

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the scribblin'-bubbles dept.

Displays 37

An anonymous reader writes "3 graduate students from University of Tokyo, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Tsukuba have developed a colloidal display — a clear projector screen that can control its transparency. Normally soap film will allow light to pass through, but the colloidal display does not. It mixes colloid into the solution and uses ultra sonic speakers to vibrate the surface of the soap film to achieve this. They have created several prototypes, such as 3D planar screen, to show how this technology can be useful."

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early post (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40058799)

is this the first post?

Here's a video [youtube.com] showing the display in operation and how it works. Pretty neat...

Re:early post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40059143)

That video is in TFA.

Re:early post (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059401)

When it was showing a projection on a tetrahedron, the whole thing (visual and sound) reminded me of the bridges on The Dig.

not very practical currently, but pretty cool. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40058819)

not very practical currently, but pretty cool.

would be fine for some artsy projects.

Re:not very practical currently, but pretty cool. (3, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40058927)

It may lead to better things however. For those inventors out there that want to bring true 3D to everyone by projecting it onto a 2D plane, they now have a different line of thinking to take.
Now they can think about 3d encapsulation objects to bring out true 3d.

Applications for sci fi/fantasy films (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40058847)

Think of the Stargate wormhole, "help me Obi Wan Kenobe", etc.

p0rn post coming 3... 2.. 1...

Gravity (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40058891)

The problem with soap films is that fluid from their top is slowly flowing to their bottom, causing their top to become thin. As a result, the film bursts in a few minutes. I haven't seen anything on how they plan to make these displays durable.

Re:Gravity (2)

llamapater (1542875) | more than 2 years ago | (#40058909)

spin it with a slight shake maybe to geek the center thick? or use the frequencies they're using to mix it to evenly distribute it.

Re:Gravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40058919)

Spinning the lens would redistribute the soap and prevent it popping, probably wont replace my Samsung TV just yet though.

Re:Gravity (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059145)

The bottom of the film could drain into a line that's pumped back to the top of the film. The device would maintain only the top and bottom edges, while the film would form between them. Since they're projecting ultrasound across the film's surface I expect they could run the hydraulics and ultrasonics there, too.

Colloid (4, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40058931)

TFS says, in part, "It mixes colloid into the solution..." This is Just Plain Wrong because there is no such thing as "colloid." A colloid [wikipedia.org] is a substance microscopically dispersed evenly throughout another substance. I haven't RTFA (This is Slashdot, after all!) but I'd be willing to bet that TFA says that they add something to the solution to make it into a colloid and that the submitter (and editor) didn't bother to make sure they got it right.

Re:Colloid (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059067)

well, they're controlling the parts of the liquid which are colloid, mixing(controlling) where the liquid has a colloid(?). so it's not evenly distributed, but it's the same liquid - or there's two liquids of which one is colloid and other is not and they're well, mixed.

the video has colloid splattered all over it in various places too.

Re:Colloid (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059165)

You evidently didn't even really read TFWA you quoted, either:

A colloid is a substance microscopically dispersed evenly throughout another substance.[1]

A colloidal system consists of two separate phases: a dispersed phase (or internal phase) and a continuous phase (or dispersion medium) in which the colloid is dispersed .

It's pretty clear that "the colloid" is the dispersed phase, the internal phase, the substance that is microscopically dispersed evenly throughout the continuous phase, the dispersion medium. They mix colloid into the solution to make a colloidal system.

Re:Colloid (1)

Garble Snarky (715674) | about 2 years ago | (#40060647)

It's just kind of odd to refer to it as "a colloid", as if that term were meaningful prior to the mixing.

Re:Colloid (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 2 years ago | (#40061689)

Especially when, as I pointed out already, TFA doesn't refer to "a colloid," but simply colloid as though it were a specific substance.

Re:Colloid (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40062623)

It's not any more odd to call it that than it is to call water a "solvent" prior to pouring it into a salt to make a solution. These are terms that are meaningful because they describe what is being done. It's necessary to refer to the ingredients in terms of the product, even before they're in the product that makes them ingredients instead of just the "materials" they were before adding them.

Re:Colloid (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059199)

The researchers are mostly Japanese, and clearly english isn't their first language. The website is readable, but gramatically incorrect. I'm sure that they'll get the final article checked properly, but this is just a little public demonstration so a few minor errors from a second-language speaker are forgivable.

Re:Colloid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40059975)

The researchers are mostly Japanese, and clearly english isn't their first language. The website is readable, but gramatically incorrect. I'm sure that they'll get the final article checked properly, but this is just a little public demonstration so a few minor errors from a second-language speaker are forgivable.

You misspelled a word while trying to correct someone's grammar. That's funny.

Re:Colloid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40062291)

That's just Muphry's Law.

Soap Films? (5, Funny)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059005)

The major problem with soap films, and one that I cannot see ever being fixed, is the total lack of compelling storyline. There is a reason why soaps have never made it out of daytime TV, and film adaptations would be a guaranteed flop.

What film studio in their right mind would want to fund a soap film?

Re:Soap Films? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40059031)

One of the studios was planning a "Dallas" movie a few years ago, with John Travolta and then Ben Stiller as J. R. Ewing, but apparently they've given up.

Meanwhile Dallas the TV series reloads for another season [go.com] , with 80-yr old Larry Hagman as J.R.

Re:Soap Films? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40059409)

Don't get me started on carbon films and metallized thin films.

Re:Soap Films? (1)

SgtXaos (157101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059847)

Don't get me started on carbon films and metallized thin films.

Well, a soap film could wash off the carbon film at least. I've had to do that after working on my car. As for the thin metallic film, you might need something better than soap.

Re:Soap Films? (1)

popo (107611) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060211)

No, no. You completely misunderstood the post. These are ultrasonic soap films. These are beyond the range of human hearing which may make them acceptable to male audiences.

Ultrasonic Film Barrier (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059131)

If we could use ultrasound to structure an on-demand horizontal thin film barrier strong enough to resist convective air currents, we might have a really useful energy conservation measure. We could create temporary "drop ceilings" that keep warmed air from rising high above head level to the regular ceiling. The air above the film could be left unconditioned, so a much smaller volume of air would require energy to keep warm. Two films a centimeter apart could very well insulate the boundary. We could do this with a transparent plastic film, but I think a colloidal film could look a lot better than being saran wrapped like leftovers.

But I doubt we can get such a film to span any large area without sagging and bursting. Though maybe if we depressurized the upper volume to match the sag...

Re:Ultrasonic Film Barrier (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059221)

Think smaller. Airtight seals on holes a few centimeters wide, through which wettened tools (Or tools with hydrophilic coatings) could pass without breaking the seal. Handy indeed for laboratory environments when you might want to poke your instruments at a sample while keeping it within an inert atmosphere or protecting it from dust or microbial contamination.

Re:Ultrasonic Film Barrier (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060005)

That's interesting. Any scale where the surface tension overcomes gravity is a straightforward application environment.

But the environment I'm interested in is the mesoscale, human living environments like architecture and vehicles.

Re:Ultrasonic Film Barrier (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059377)

If we could use ultrasound to structure an on-demand horizontal thin film barrier strong enough to resist convective air currents, we might have a really useful energy conservation measure.

Just vacuum the room out of any air and there you have it: no convective currents. Then use soap bubbles to insulate the room as you please.

(ducks)

Old Tech (2)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059601)

This sounds very much like how large-screen projectors worked, back in the 1970s.

not understanding this? (4, Informative)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060205)

From the comments I've read so far, it doesn't sound like people are understanding this technology...

Not sure if I understand it totally either, but basically, the website seems to talk about a mixutre of 2 colloidal liquids are used to create a semi-transparent membrane where they can use ultrasound to mimic some spatially varying BRDFs (bi-directional reflectance distribution function) effects. If you haven't heard of BRDFs, they are used in 3d computer graphics to simulate realistic lighting of different surface types (light from this angle and observer direction has the surface look a certain color whereas illuminating light from a different angle and observer direction looks a different color typically described as a 4D projected map). This give some images more realistic material look (as opposed to the strange plastic look where no matter how to turn your head or change the lighting angle the same average lambertian lighting model of the object is returned).

If I read the summary correctly, this device could probably also be used like those holographic stickers or lenticular viewers with projected light (instead of reflected light) allowing for more control in time and space and thus better realism. Unfortunatly, just like holographic sticker sand lenticular viewers, it's probably just a toy device, though maybe someday, the concepts could be scaled to do something less toy-ish...

dirty movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060333)

You may not want to use a soap film for your dirty movies...

Ultrasonic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40062319)

I don't think dogs will like that screen ...

Once commercialized (1)

Green Salad (705185) | about 2 years ago | (#40062679)

they should really clean up.

"Soap Film" or "Soap Film"? (1)

nemesisfixx (2487890) | about 2 years ago | (#40062757)

Didn't mind much whether this was so important a noble distraction in my lunch-time interval on /., but the ad that I was served? "New York Film Academy...Learn Filmmaking and Acting for Film..." Something just bit me in the...in regard to some crapy ai-engine behind serving these ads! Was it brute-force or not? An xxx-recipe would've sounded preferable...

Good for demo failures (1)

bura (2605547) | about 2 years ago | (#40069853)

I have this really cool demo, but I can't show it because my screen burst!

Amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40070927)

People here are lacking the imagination!? This invention could very well be used for future virtual reality projections. Just imagine this in full body size (yes, that's possible), multiple soap bubble layers for 3d, combined with ultra sound based touch simulation (yes, that has already been invented). With a system to add water to maintain the soap films and a suitable skin lotion to keep the soap films intact, this could very well be our closest thing to holodeck in the not-so-distant future.

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