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Is there a way to create visible/ liquid energy?

  1. Apr 18, 2013 #1
    Is there a way to create visible/"liquid" energy?

    Probably a more low-brow topic than you're used to but I have plenty of gadgets, materials and tools at my disposal and I wish to improve the quality of some replicas I've made. A common denominator of any sci-fi gizmo is the glowing energy field. Star Trek, Stargate and even magic-based fantasy media frequently show what looks like globules of sold energy floating in the air to signify something happening and provide eye-candy for the audience.

    (best example I could find for now)

    Can such a thing ever exist? I've been thinking over some methods involving plasma but can't think of a way not to make it incredibly dangerous or not require a huge amount of power.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2013 #2


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    Yeah, most of the ways would be a bit dangerous. Ball lightning comes to mind...

    Maybe you could start with the concept of the plasma globe novelty item, but use more flexible materials instead of the glass globe. Not sure I'd want to be wearing it, though...
  4. Apr 18, 2013 #3


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    What sizes are your replicas, Temp? I have a few ideas that might work for something small.
    For instance, one of the things that I toyed with while trying to design Human Torch and Ghostrider Hallowe'en costumes was venting high-pressure CO2 through perforated tubing all over the suit and then firing up a tonne of red LED's mounted under a semi-transparent outer layer of fabric. It wasn't practical for a human-size device, but maybe for an action figure...
    To simulate photon torpedoes in a diorama of the Enterprise battling a D7 Klingon cruiser, I planned on letting mercury droplets shimmy down a transparent trough with a laser shining on them. For reasons of toxicity, I do not recommend that one. (The laser is a new idea; they didn't exist back then so my source was a xenon spotlight.)
    You could get some limited effects with a Van de Graaff generator as well.
  5. Apr 19, 2013 #4
    Anything from things the size of your hand that sit on tables and look pretty to sci-fi gun replicas.

    Yesh, I've seen nice results using that method on themepark rides, but for objects in your home having a pressured gas canister would either make the object too big or if you go small it will run out really fast.
  6. Apr 19, 2013 #5


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    Damn! I thought that I had invented it. :frown: :cry:
    There might be a replication option to that, if you want to try it. When I was tending bar, we had a "carbonator" for the pop gun system. It worked much like what is currently sustaining my life with a hose in my nose. My machine sucks in ambient air, ejects the nitrogen, and blasts the almost pure oxygen remainder up my snout. The carbonator worked the same way, except it generated compressed CO2 which was fed into the water supply that diluted the Coke/7-Up/tonic/etc. syrup to fizz it up for delivery to the gun. Perhaps that could be used in a home environment? (I have no idea how much it cost, but my boss was a cheap bugger...)
  7. Apr 25, 2013 #6
    sorry for posting in 5day old thread but,

    in another forum i had mentioned the use of holographic projectors, and why the progress made seemed
    to have stopped at requirring a surface or dense fog to project onto,
    device would be perfect for special effects

    but my theory on that is, they stopped cause of the potentail of random idiots deciding to project things in
    traffic, theaters, malls, and other situations where havoc could ensue

    as for somthing the might suffice for your purposes, i cant remember what it was called but theres
    that plastic bubble balloon stuff
    the commercail would show a guy stabbing a fork into a bubble and not pop it
    somthing like that filled with smoke might work

    but im thinking its always going to come back to photoshopping
    cause "the world" just isnt mature enough to handle such things
  8. Apr 25, 2013 #7


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    That's not nearly old enough for this to count as necroposting.
    With no offense intended, you seem a bit paranoid about suppression of technology.
    I might have fallen behind in my notice of modern developments, but I've honestly never heard of a holographic projector. Are you perhaps thinking of a "volumetric display" that doesn't actually involve lasers? Regardless, any projection system has to have something to project onto such as a screen. The only reasonably watchable system that I've seen displaying an image just out in the middle of the room actually had a curtain of extremely fine water droplets as a reflective surface. Essentially, they were projecting onto a cloud (as you alluded to). That's not something that you can set up just any old where. If there were no surface, how do you propose that the light would reflect back into the viewer's eyes? (And don't suggest shining the laser straight at someone's pupils; that's downright hazardous.)

    edit: This might sound insulting, but I don't mean it to be. Do you actually know what a hologram is, or are you thinking of stuff that they show on Star Trek?
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  9. Apr 25, 2013 #8
    im not exactly "paranoid" about tech supression, but i do have a "conspiracy theorist" mindset,
    about things

    ( i think holos are like litho but instead of shifting images, its a depth or layer thing)
    i said "holographic" because thats just the word that came to me, and i figured people would understand what i mean
    i was kinda thinking that they should be able to do somthing similar to 3d art (no glasses non cgi)
    with projectors, as for surface, the glare spots on a road or sign might suffice if the tech advanced far enough

    its just with the advancement of computer tech, i thought the rest of electronics would see a boon as well, not just communication tech
    but i can also see the need to stop certain tech development at points because of the potential
    for misuse in the public sector

    but a new thought just occured to me,
    units like nintendos 3ds can do "augmented reality"
    one could use those programs to create effects based off image recognition

    so in the OPs case create a object recogntion database of his replicas, then share that data across like devices, anyone with the same programs would be able to view the special effects
    through thier device

    theres alot more to it, but it should be do-able, its just theres not mainstream nessessity
    for such a thing other than in movies, but thier tech is "sufficient" so theres no rush to innovate
  10. Apr 25, 2013 #9


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    Actually, Alt-Bringer, the augmented reality thing is a damned fine idea. It is, though, limited by the need for glasses that I suspect are still pretty expensive and would be somewhat inconvenient.
  11. Apr 26, 2013 #10


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    edit: Whoa, now!
    Oh, never mind. For a second there... Well... Hmm...
    Okay, I have a couple of vague tickles of ideas, but I have to do an awful lot more thinking about them to decide if they're even worth pursuing. I'll get back to you.
  12. Apr 26, 2013 #11
    Look at what magicians do in theatre. A gauze/muslin screen, with back projection. The screen is made invisible to the audience so it is only noticed when the projector kicks in.
  13. Apr 26, 2013 #12

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  14. Apr 26, 2013 #13


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    I can't watch that first link any more; the shape around the 1:32 mark bears a frightening resemblance to my wife doing yoga.

    I'm still thinking on my previously mentioned ideas.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  15. Apr 28, 2013 #14


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    Okay, I'm going to lay out the little tickly bits of the ideas, because I still have no damned idea of how to implement them in an acceptable manner.
    My first thought was trying to use a ferro-fluid as the outer "skin" of the figure, controlled by magnetic coils inside. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to alter the colour or luminescence of the material even if you can make it conform to the shape that you want.
    The second is a variation of Alt's idea about projection. If the figures were to be displayed within protective glass domes (which is not unreasonable for collectibles), FX could be either front or rear projected onto the glass. I don't have a clue as to how the curvature of the glass and angle of incidence might affect the useful viewing angle.
    I'm still working on this, but it's starting to hurt my head. (Don't worry; I like that.)
    I hope that someone else can get in on this; I work best in a team environment.
    Alt's and Pumila's and Devil's contributions have been great (except for that video of my wife :tongue:), but more please!
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  16. Apr 28, 2013 #15
    you can try to manipulate a projected image
    i think you could make an acryllic prisim with a seconday prizim inside
    trial and error would tell you how to set it up right but it should redirect, reorient and even distort the image if wanted

    that way the projector could be setup out of the way

    im not sure what actual material and/or shape a prizim might have to be though

    for some reason i want to believe it would work in a similar maner as the mirrors of a parascope
    whereas the edge/sides would be potential mirrors

    unfoutunatly this would be along the same lines of photoshoping but could be done realtime
    on a "screen" in a live action, rather than a vid on PC

    (i mentions this in another thread, and it was brought to my attention that it might be useable
    here as well)

    edit; things like bolts of energy, fire, and other like effects will probably ellude us for quite some time yet,

    but effects like webbing, static shock, and aura can be done, but usually require specific settings

    ie, web can be done using molten hot glue and an air-gun (painting) working great for set design
    but its rather difficult to get on film (was done on a reality show on sci-fi channel i think)
    aura could be done with coloured backlighting reflective clothing and a hazy environment
    to get a halo like effect
    static sucks cause youd need a camera that records in the normal visual spectum in the dark
    (not using IR, UV, heat or night vision) but it works close up and live, if a little unreliable
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  17. May 1, 2013 #16


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    Stop the presses!
    Okay, that was overly dramatic, but something new occurred to me, which I might also be able to incorporate into the aforementioned costumes that I wanted to make.
    This was triggered by watching the latest episode of Grimm on my PVR. It involved a critter that was extremely bioluminescent.
    Rather than the venting of CO2 that I had originally envisioned, how about blasting out some "glow-stick" juice instead? The luciferin analogue can be released from one "circuit" of ports, and the luciferase one from another. If they can be made to properly interact in the surrounding atmosphere, it might serve the purpose of this display. (I say "analogues" because I think that commercial glow-sticks don't use the actual bug juices that you find in fireflies or octopi.)
  18. May 1, 2013 #17
    Music? Glowing costumes?

    This is what you need
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  19. May 1, 2013 #18


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    You just made my day! I love The Blue Man Group, although this is the first time that I've seen them aside from commercials, and that particular Summer song is one of the few disco tunes that I really enjoy. Having seen this, I now might also become a follower of "Venus Hum".
    I've bookmarked that video.
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