Kickstarter is home to some of the most magical, amazing, inventive ideas I’ve ever seen and a new project on the website is a perfect example of all three. Slow Dance is a beautifully crafted wooden frame dreamed up by Jeff Lieberman that uses the power of science to create an awesome optical illusion. Whatever light, flexible object you place inside the frame appears to move around in slow motion.
The Slow Dance Magic
Apparently, strobe lights and vibrations equal awesomeness — and no I’m not talking about an overcrowded night club. I’m talking about the quiet, awe-inspiring work of art that is Slow Dance. Lights built into the frame blink 80 times per second. They aren’t consistently on, but the high speed flickering tricks our eyes into thinking they are. Combined and synchronized with vibrations on the objects inside the frame, they appear to move extremely slowly when they aren’t.
Strobe lights combined and synchronized with vibrations on the objects inside the frame, they appear to move extremely slowly when they aren’t.
In the project video, Lieberman talks about how this started out as a wedding gift. He wanted the slow, intimate movements of two objects inside to represent the couple. The concept blossomed from there and ended up on Kickstarter. At the time of writing, the Slow Dance project is still in funding. It has so far raised $352,000, far beyond its initial goal of $70,000.
The Creative Process Behind the Magic
Guiding Tech had the privilege to have a conversation with Lieberman about this beautiful intersection of art, science and technology.
“I’m very excited about what people might actually make for it, instead of just find, as that will also go into uncharted territories.” – Jeff Lieberman
“I play around sometimes but here it was literally just an image that popped up,” he told Guiding Tech regarding his creative process. “I don’t think I was trying to brainstorm it, as much as just thinking of them being together. The technology that I work with is just a paintbrush somehow — it’s never the thing on its own, it’s just an enabler for a certain type of experience.”
Lieberman said he had toyed around with technology similar to what’s in Slow Dance before. The image popped into his head, and the idea for the product seemed to cohesively come together after rounds of experimentation. But this is only the beginning of Slow Dance; the surface of its potential.
Part of what makes Slow Dance so mesmerizing is that the technology is almost entirely out of your consciousness.
“I’m very excited about what people might actually make for it, instead of just find, as that will also go into uncharted territories,” he said. “Early on I tried a lot of bent wire possibilities but never made anything that satisfied me, so I’ll be excited how people innovate in those areas.”
Perhaps part of what makes Slow Dance so mesmerizing is that the technology is almost entirely out of your consciousness. That’s similar to most of what we consider great technological design today, even in a smartphone. The end user isn’t thinking about the code or algorithms in apps, the processor or the sensors. They only sense the resulting combination.
But Lieberman gets enjoyment from keeping the magnets and springs on display. “Seeing that level of ‘how it works’ only deepens the mystery of how any of it is happening, and the feeling of mystery is more important to me at this moment than anything else I can think of.”