Archive for June, 2011
It’s difficult to define digital light. It’s sort of “I know it when I see it”. But I think we need a starting point — to get the discussion going at least.
Ordinary lighting illuminates small surfaces and large surfaces. Digital light does, too. But digital light illuminates the environment in a more controlled way. It uses points of light — pixels– to shape and reshape what we see: its color, intensity, form. Because of this pinpoint control, digital light can create new forms of art, new kinds of information, and, ultimately, new ways to interact with each other.
And the scope of digital light isn’t limited to illuminating surfaces. Sometimes the surfaces themselves emit light as pixels or reflect light as pixels. I don’t mean ordinary monitors or digital signs — I mean surfaces where the pixels are part of the environment itself.
Some examples might help. In an earlier post, I showed how a picoprojector could be a flashlight. In another post, I gave an example of projection mapping. In both examples, digital light illuminates the environment as pixels.
A different example is Onskebronn by Phase7.de — where people walk on a floor that emits light (in this case using LED panels).
So digital light pixelizes the environment — and that is the core of the definition. Tiny pixels, big pixels, but always pixels. On the walls around us. On our desks. Even on our clothing — these surfaces will all become canvases to draw upon. Pixels everywhere.
Comments? What do you think?
I see pixels everywhere, but can we afford them? Beauty and function will probably not be enough.
I see a number of obstacles that need to be overcome before widespread adoption is possible. (continue reading…)
There are a lot of individuals exploring the theme of Digital Light, although they may not call it that. Sometimes it’s mainstream to their work and sometimes it’s just a beautiful byproduct. (continue reading…)
The transition to Digital Light won’t be due to one technology alone. Instead, both projection technologies and direct-view technologies (like LED, OLED, LCD, electroluminescent, e-Ink, etc.) will be used. But for Digital Light to become truly commonplace, products will have to be inexpensive, long-lasting and energy-efficient.
That’s why I am excited about this press release from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering: http://www.imre.a-star.edu.sg/fckeditor/uploadfiles/Press%20Release_IMRE%20record%20breaking%20blue%20emitters%282%29.pdf (continue reading…)
Digital Light is already creating job descriptions that didn’t exist a short while ago. One is projection mapping specialist. Check out this video. It’s about the set for the Amon Tobin tour. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLrt7-kIgIM Don’t know what projection mapping is? It’s what the designers of the set in this video do.
Now imagine this on a personal scale. In your home; in your office. Imagine this for digital-out-of-home.
There are a lot of very cool things happening with projection mapping — more examples in future posts.
(thanks to @ENBDavies http://enbdavies.ca/ for letting me know about this one!)
A little over four years ago, I held a ‘picoprojector’ for the first time, long before they became commonplace. At the time, it was pretty primitive but what I saw started me thinking.
When I was CTO at Christie Digital Systems, one of my jobs was to keep an eye on new technologies. Christie makes bright –-really bright—projectors for very, very big images. Picoprojectors were definitely not in that league. But the potential of small, lightweight digital projection intrigued me. Christie MicroTiles™ resulted from that encounter, but that’s another story. (continue reading…)
Simple electric lighting is something we use but don’t really see. What will happen when digital technology transforms everyday electric lighting into something so much more? When light becomes digital light. Light that is pixelized. Pixels everywhere. (continue reading…)