There is a very fine line between “pointless” and “productive.”
For example, throwing a hammer through a plate glass mirror in your backyard seems not only dangerous and destructive, but completely and utterly inane. However, when you film yourself doing so with a high speed camera, and you then share the super slow mo footage with the world, you are serving science.
That’s just what The Slow Mo Guys did in their most recent video, taking an ordinary hammer and whipping it clean through a mirrored piece of glass. At 2,000 frames-per-second it’s hard to see anything other than the instant shattering of the pane, it happens that quickly. When slowed all the way down to 120,000 frames-per-second though (where the hammer looks like it isn’t even moving), suddenly there’s a lot to learn, like how a shock wave spreads out from the point of impact before the glass breaks within the crater that was just made.
As they noted here, it is reminiscent of the scene from The Matrix when the helicopter crashes into the side of the skyscraper, setting off a tidal wave of glass before the windows all explode. If you don’t remember that scene you can see it here.
How did the robots know how to make it so real? Did they spend a lot of time throwing hammers through glass too?
Probably, because if we humans can figure out that watching something in super slow motion can give the totally pointless a real purpose, I’m sure they did too.
What do you want to see the guys film in slow motion next? Break through into our comments below to give us your best ideas.
Image: The Slow Mo Guys