My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Digital Water Pavilion

It's a Wednesday. (That doesn't mean anything particular. I just wanted to point it out for those of you who hadn't noticed.) I haven't posted a new blog post in a while, so here's something I wrote a little while ago and never got around to posting.

I first read about this in an issue of TIME magazine covering the best inventions of 2007. Recently it was featured in an episode of Daily Planet, so I thought I would share its existence with those of you who haven't heard of the Digital Water Pavilion.

The Digital Water Pavilion is exactly what it sounds like. It's a pavilion, built in an outdoor space, with a floor and a roof supported by a couple of columns that double as an information point and office. Water running off the roof forms "walls" along the pavilion. But that's not the cool part. By controlling the flow of the water, the pavilion operators can actually use these water walls as a display device:

The entire surface becomes a one-bit-deep digital display continuously scrolling downwards. Something like an inkjet printer on a huge scale.... The water itself is dynamic: it can display graphics, patterns and text. But, most importantly, it can almost become alive with patterns that are generated in real time, replicated from one point to another and which respond to the nearby environment. The presence of people can be sensed by the DWP and this plays an important role in the dynamic process, allowing waves and other distortions to be generated.

Admittedly, you probably wouldn't want to live in a house with walls made of water. But it's certainly an example of science and architecture creating something unique and awesome.