Projecting Time

My partner Will had an idea to visually represent time dilation between planets following Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. The theory states that to an observer, their time is always constant while the perceived time of a distant moving body, is slower. His initial idea was to project this as an interactive interface on a desk with a webcam above to track hand movements.

Below is my initial mockup of the layout this projection could have on the desk. The UI requires a minimum of two objects with one moving. In real time, the user would not be able to perceive the relative planet moving, which is why I made an attempt with this mockup to not show the full orbital path. Moreover, this theory works with any moving object, so objects that do not orbit around the observer such as comets could be visualised this way too.

mockup.png
Projection mockup 1.0  • David Valente

One corrolation between the mediums the desktop web and projected interfaces is the tendency to reduce the information density on any given screen. On the web, this is a trend, evident by the fantastic highly dense landing page of the Wall Street Journal. However, low density UI’s appear to be the standard for projected interfaces. This may be due to resolution constraints or simply the size of the interface; either way, it closes the door to one possible direction for the clock.

 

Photograph of ad on the Underground • David Valente

From recommended line height on the responsive web, to the huge print ads that fill the tunnel walls on Underground platforms, the general consensus is to reduce the density as the interface canvas size increases. Not necessarily a bad thing, however, reduces the versatility of the medium.

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