Multi-layer display uses water instead of screen

This multi-layer display uses droplets of water as a projection medium. This way, several different projected areas can be seen for a not-quite-3D layering effect. The trick is in syncing up all aspects of the apparatus. There are three manifolds, each with 50 stainless steel needles for water drop production. A solenoid valve actuates the drops, a camera images them mid-air, and a computer syncs the images of the dots with a projector. In the video after the break you can see the SIGGRAPH 2010 presentation that includes a description of the process as well as action shots including a 3-layer version of Tetris.

[Thanks Mid_Sci via theEngineer]


  1. mostlymac says:

    If anybody’s been to a Disney theme park, they’ve seen water used as a projection screen. This takes it a step further by allowing for multiple layers. It’s fascinating to see how they designed all this and implemented it. Perhaps they have a future as some of Disney’s “Imagineers” :)

  2. riycou says:

    thats cool

  3. Perry says:

    This is pretty spectacular, even with the camera picking up the seperated frames.

    I love the tetris game designed as well.

  4. Brennan says:

    Speaking of Disney theme parks, how do they do the effects at the top floor of the Tower of Terror attraction?

  5. sM10sM20 says:

    One of the coolest projects I have ever seen, words really cant do it justice, so much engineering both physical and software.

  6. Erik says:

    @Brennan (silvered) plexiglass. like a 1-way mirror – you can see through and see your reflection at the same time. They either have lit props behind the glass(the glass is mostly unapparent) and projectors on the glass itself as well as you seeing yourself like in the Haunted House.

  7. says:

    hmm, 3 layers of transparent oled would be a different option for this setup, tho not as technically impressive.

  8. It’s the Data Font from Batlestar Galactica!!!


  9. temp says:

    I believe it is a scaled up version of an effect known as Pepper’s Ghost.

  10. qubuntu says:

    This was in New Scientist this week

  11. RBRat3 says:

    Hmm ive seen something similar but instead of useing water it used white strings.

  12. Michael L. says:

    This would be even cooler if they could add 1 more projector and 2 more “slides” of water. If they could situate the projector perpendicular to the other and have the 2 extra sheets of water form a cube this could be a really cool full 3D cube display type project. Just a thought, but it’s awesome.

  13. error404 says:

    Very clever. Colour me impressed.

  14. tech-on-pest says:

    if you make a matrix out of the droplets and add both the extra projector and camera at right angels you could setup the display from BONES…or am i missing something?

  15. Mikey says:

    Yeah, if they had projectors from the other sides as well and scaled it up a little (1000 rows instead of 3 for instance) they could have a very awesome true-3d voxel display. This is amazing.

  16. Marc says:

    This sort can be used to generate 3D images without thouse annoing glasses :-D

  17. Yes! Finally someone writes about abstract of herbal mosquito repellent.

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