Ruby – The Fauxlographer

Ruby at rest

Project Description
Ruby is a kinetic light installation using a red 640nm 5mW laser.  An experiment in what I call “fauxlography” where a holographic-like presence appears when the light travels through the acrylic giving a ghost like effect to the 2” x 2″ red acrylic pieces at certain angles.  This effect is simply projecting coherent light onto a translucent surface, making the acrylic pieces and the refracted light “seem” holographic in nature, but is “not” holographic at all.
An ultrasonic sensor detects a presence and turns on the servo that moves a laser in a sweeping motion.  The Ruby pieces are sometimes hit with coherent light at angles that glow the acrylic and/or create long and short range shadows that are in constant motion.  This coordination is more semi-random than wholly calculated, as the presence of humans in the 100 cm environment of the installation affect the motion of the servo.  This “affection” is a frequent on/off switching of the servo and laser light.

Before: The Prototype
After: In Motion

Circuit Diagram
Ruby Diagram
DSC_8307 IMG_0538IMG_0550

The original intention was to create a kinetic sculpture that moves in normal lighting conditions, but was then changed to an idea that involved lighting motion instead, using a laser.
First step was to still design and create an acrylic sculpture.  Acrylic was cut at 100 McCaul plastics shop.  Building the sculpture with hot glue and acrylic proved less reliable (or pleasant to look at) than with resin bond (which I only discovered working with the Maker Lab).  Then a laser based structure was to be made.  The first interation of this involved a laser pointer stripped down, and placed into a 35mm film bottle.  This worked very well, however, the first laser became faulty after a few days of testing with it.  When time came to creating another, a new laser pointer was stripped down to its circuitry, but placed into a Staedtler Designer Series pen casing which worked much better for alignment purposes and for better servo control of the laser.  The servo and circuitry was then built into a cardboard box that I spray painted with a cadmium red colour.

This installation was inspired by the Erwin Redl series known as “Breath of Light”.  Fauxlography was a word as I created when assisting in the academic research on “VISUALIZATION OF COMPLEX MEDICAL DATA USING NEXT-GENERATION HOLOGRAPHIC TECHNIQUES” by Michael Page (OCAD University, Canada).  Presented at the 10th International Symposium on Display Holography in St-Petersburg, Russia.  The minimal setup of Ruby acted as an additional exaggeration to the notions of video projection, Pepper’s Ghost and other lighting effects as being examples of holography.