The Null Device
There's an abundance of unusual pixel-related projects online today:
- Papierpixel is a mechanical device which shows animated bitmaps, using no electronics other than the lightbulbs; the animated frames are encoded in perforations on a strip of paper, and the frame rate depends on how fast one pulls the strip through the machine.
- Infernoptix is a display device which uses propane jets as a display medium. It can work in a number of modes, including as a scrolling text sign, displaying freehand drawings or (low-frame-rate) animations, in "Audio Mode", putting on a fearsome light show to your favourite industrial power-noise band, or in "Percussion Mode", where it apparently makes terrifying sound that makes said industrial band sound like Isobel Campbell on valium by comparison:
Whereas the preceding modes of operation involve harnessing fire for visual appeal, the percussion mode takes advantage of the concussive nature of each burst of fire to create complex custom rhythms. What is the sound of one pixel firing? Well, it's not too scary, but add more and more simultaneous bursts and the depth and amplitude of the shockwave increase rapidly. Now by firing different quantities of pixels, and pixels at specific locations on the screen, it is possible to create beats of varied pitch and amplitude. Again the software allows easy control of tempo and pulse length, so you can optimize playback every time. Scripting and editing of a pyrocussion arrangement is easily handled with the percussion editing mode- just hit record and play along with the metronome on the keys of your keyboard. When you're done you'll see a visual representation of each beat, and be able to edit each beat's exact timing, volume, and location, as well as building up more beats on top. Then save your file and play it back any time. What's great about using combustion for percussion is that much lower frequencies can be achieved than with most any standard percussion instrument. Frequencies at and below the threshold of human hearing dominate in the larger bursts, and with the long-distance capacity of low frequencies, it means that you'll be feeling the beats of the Infernoptix before you're hearing them, and hearing them long before you're seeing them. Guaranteed to rattle windows over 1 block away . . .
- PixelRoller is a device which looks like a paint roller but, when rolled over a surface, paints a preprogrammed sequence of pixels on it. No word on how it actually works, though it sounds like it could be a boon to graffitiists and street artists.