Stunning Picture Frame Suspends Objects in Flash-Like Slow Mo

Aug 20 2016 -- 5:00 AM

Even if it doesn't make intuitive sense, we all know—from The Flash and that scene in Futurama where Fry drinks too much coffee—that when you speed up, time slows down, and everything appears to move... real... slow... It's mostly been a way of seeing the world that we could only get at by watching The Slo Mo Guys, or having a near-death experience. But now, it's possible to capture a window into that world and set it on your bookshelf, with a picture frame that "slows down time."

Gizmodo recently reported on the slow-motion frame, which (surprise!) doesn't actually slow down time. It's called Slow Dance, and was  brought to Kickstarter, where it hit its $70,000 goal appropriately speedily.

Slow Dance is the brainchild of Jeff Lieberman—founder of Plebian Design, an MIT graduate, and the host of Time Warp on the Discovery Channel—and was originally built as a one-off gift for a pair of dancers that were getting married: hence Slow Dance. Lieberman discusses the origin story in more depth below:

The frame works by utilizing the persistence of vision—Lieberman is kind enough to link to a very cool tutorial of that concept by a one "Mr. Wizard"—and a strobe light that flashes 80 times per second. This means that whatever is inside of the picture frame will be turned into "less frames" than we normally perceive, so it looks like it's moving in slow-motion. Similar to what happens when a strobe light on a dance floor turns everything into stop-motion, only this is slow-motion because the light is strobing much faster—so much faster, in fact, that the human eye can't perceive that it is strobing at all.

"One of the primary things I hope that people get from interacting with this piece," Lieberman says, "is just a moment of total silence; where they're so overtaken by the pure sensory experience of seeing something that breaks all their rules of reality, that their mind just stops, and they're kind of like how a newborn is... totally taking in the world as it is without any analysis."

One for every room in existence, please.

What do you think about Slow Dance? Do you want to be able to dip into a world that breaks all the rules of reality every now and again, or does this kind of sorcery have no place in your home? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Plebian Design