This stunning illuminated bike path in Nuenen, Netherlands was just unveiled tonight by Studio Roosegaarde, an innovative social design lab that has risen to prominence for their explorations at the intersection of people, art, public space, and technology; most notably their research with Smart Highways that could potentially charge moving cars or intelligently alert drivers to hazards. The swirling patterns used on the kilometer-long Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Bicycle Path were inspired by painter Vincent van Gogh (who lived in Nuenen from 1883 to 1885), and is lit at night by both special paint that charges in daylight and embedded LEDs that are powered by a nearby solar array. You can read more about the project over on Dezeen.
A team of researchers in Japan lead by Akira Asano of Burton Inc. have developed a 3D aerial display capable of projecting text and imagery in mid-air. The Aerial Burton works by firing a 1kHz infrared pulse directly into a 3D scanner which in turn focuses and reflects the laser to a specific point in the air. Molecules at the end of the laser then ionize, releasing energy in the form of photons. While the full potential for such a display has yet to be seen, Asano suggests it could be used as a communication aid in the event of a disaster by communicating evacuation routes or broadcasting the location of emergency supplies. Personally, I would be satisfied with a 3D laser butterfly in my backyard. (via DigInfo)
This new promotional clip for Philips TV and Atomic Skis features several skiers wearing multi-colored LED light suits as they traverse mountains at an Alaskan ski resort at night. The brightly lit suits create a fantastic glow around each skier that illuminates anything nearby. While I don’t see him listed in the credits, the video seems to be an homage to Jacob Sutton’s L.E.D. Surfer from two years ago. (via Vimeo)
Since 2010, Connecticut-based artist Alexander Harding has worked on a series of photographs titled Visible Light that explores light as a primary subject. His photos reveal dense, ethereal rays of sunshine as it passes through windows, bounces off mirrors, and skews through glass objects, where the light beams are so thick it seems like you could cut it with a knife. Harding says he is inspired in part by artist James Turrell, known for his exceptionally large light installations, and who once stated, “light is not so much something that reveals, as it is itself the revelation.” It would seem Harding has taken those words to heart in his artwork. You can see much more from his Visible Light series here. (via This Isn’t Happiness, I Need a Guide)
Artist Chris Wood works with colored glass to create colorful, prism-like mazes and mandalas of light installed vertically on walls. Her most common material is dichroic (meaning ‘two color’) glass, a material invented by NASA in the 1950s that has a special optical coating meant to reflect certain wavelengths of light while letting others through. At some angles the glass appears completely reflective, somewhat like a mirror of gold. Wood has constructed a number of different glass, mirror, and other light installations which have been carefully documented on her website. (via My Modern Met)
This slick commercial for Japanese high-speed optical internet service au Hikari has a pretty novel take on the Rube Goldberg Machine. Each sequence in the device is powered (or otherwise set in motion) by a single beam of light sent through magnifying glasses and mirrors to burn strings, pop balloons, and melt bits of ice. Even if you’re Rube Goldberg’d out lately, this is worth a watch. (via The Kid Should See This)