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Slow Dance makes things move in ways you never thought possible. For all those who love mystery, beauty, and wonder. Get one for $249.
Slow Dance makes things move in ways you never thought possible. For all those who love mystery, beauty, and wonder.
Slow Dance makes things move in ways you never thought possible. For all those who love mystery, beauty, and wonder.
1,963 backers pledged $567,159 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Slow Dance – A Frame that Slows Down Time

$567,159

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You shouldn't believe your eyes!

“Slow dance” is a picture frame that makes real objects appear to move in slow motion. By taking advantage of the limits of human visual perception, this optical illusion sculpture appears to be doing the impossible — right before your eyes. Slow Dance combines technology, science, and art, in order to remind us of the natural mystery, beauty, and wonder that surround us every day.

Watch the following video to learn about how this project went from wedding gift to manufactured sculpture, why this work is important to me and how I got involved with it.

 

 

A TESTAMENT TO BEAUTY

It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen in real life. It looks like a picture frame, except that there’s no picture and no glass — instead, two clips hold objects inside the frame. Plug in Slow Dance and see the magic for yourself.

Reactions to seeing Slow Dance for the first time.
Reactions to seeing Slow Dance for the first time.

The sculpture quiets the mind with an unexpected beauty that appears right in front of us, lowering our stress, and helping our attention become completely present. As far as we've found, it is the easiest way to meditate. It literally reminds us to slow down.

 

AN ONGOING EXPERIMENT IN WONDER

Play and experiment! YOU bring the objects to Slow Dance — it is a blank canvas for you to compose. From weeds on the street to flowers in the garden to bird feathers, each object will reveal a new slow motion world. After two years of playing with it ourselves, we are still enchanted when we try out a new object — the world it reveals seems to be never-ending. It will change how you will see plants and other objects forever.

Different modes allow you to cycle through different dance patterns, some slow and smooth, and others that make the object appear to jump through space!

Mode: Slow Dance - in this mode the object appears to move in slow motion.
Mode: Slow Dance - in this mode the object appears to move in slow motion.

 

Mode: Double Trouble - in this mode it looks like the object starts as one, and splits into two parts before reforming!
Mode: Double Trouble - in this mode it looks like the object starts as one, and splits into two parts before reforming!

 

Mode: Pop and Lock - in this mode the object looks like it jumps through space, the way that slow motion movies in the 30s did!
Mode: Pop and Lock - in this mode the object looks like it jumps through space, the way that slow motion movies in the 30s did!

DESIGN

"Slow Dance” is made from a 2” pine wood frame. The pine shows the elegance and beauty of the wood grain, while being exceptionally sturdy. Two springs hold objects in the frame, lit from recessed LED lighting.

 

Slow Dance comes with two optional feet for added stability.
Slow Dance comes with two optional feet for added stability.

 

The frame comes with an optional hook for wall mounting, like a picture frame.
The frame comes with an optional hook for wall mounting, like a picture frame.

 

Rubber bands allow you to easily change out the 2 provided feathers with any object you might find including other feathers, plants, and your own custom creations.
Rubber bands allow you to easily change out the 2 provided feathers with any object you might find including other feathers, plants, and your own custom creations.

 

A brass faceplate on the bottom of the frame holds the brightness knob, mode button and power plug.
A brass faceplate on the bottom of the frame holds the brightness knob, mode button and power plug.


HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

Strobe lights are nothing new. From the photos of Edwaerd Muybridge to the photos of Doc Edgerton, extremely fast strobe lights have been helping us to see into fast motions. On a dancefloor, strobe lights turn us into stop motion animations. But we’ve put strobe light to use in a different fashion.

By using high speed strobe lights blinking 80 times a second, your eyes cannot even see that they are blinking — the light looks continuous. By synchronizing the strobes to the high-speed vibration of objects (feathers, branches, flowers, etc), we create the visual illusion of those objects moving in slow motion. This is a phenomenon called persistence of vision, and works similarly to the way a TV works — by flickering frozen images quickly enough that we perceive them as continuous motion.

For more information check out this Mr. Wizard video about persistence of vision!

By varying the timing of the strobe lights, it's possible to make the objects look like they move in impossible ways — moving in slow motion, jumping discretely to new positions instantaneously, and more. The objects can even be touched, and appear to be moving in slow motion despite the user’s interaction.


SLOW DANCE LIMITED EDITION

We are also offering a premium limited edition of 10 Slow Dance sculptures, hand-fabricated from walnut. Each unit is numbered and signed. Get your limited edition piece fabricated by craftsman Forrest Stone.
Limited edition of 10 in walnut.
Limited edition of 10 in walnut.


PRODUCTION

Over a year ago we built the first version for our friends Eric and Emily, as a wedding gift. It’s still running in their house (so we have hundreds of hours of working prototypes to trust). From people’s excitement, we saw that others would like to enjoy their own 'Slow Dance.' Shortly after, we built several additional prototypes for manufacturing. 

We have been working for over 9 months with our manufacturing firm, who has manufactured multiple previous successful Kickstarter campaigns, including the original Makey Makey. They have received two of our prototypes and have already sent us prototypes designed for large-scale manufacturing.

  • Jan 2015: First prototype/gift made
  • Mar 2015: First discussions with manufacturers
  • Oct 2015: First prototypes sent to China
  • March 2016: Receipt of manufacturable prototypes from China, testing, iteration
  • Aug 2016: Kickstarter campaign 
  • Sept/Oct 2016: Tooling and design of final production version, and finalize packaging. 
  • Nov/Dec 2016: Creation of first production run, assembly, and manufacturing. 
  • Feb 2017: Shipping, fulfillment, product delivery to backers.


PROTOTYPING

This project has been developed over the last two years; below see some images of development. We've been through the process of going from initial prototypes to final object during our dayjob as artists, so this was straightforward - fabricating custom electronics boards and designing our parts for injection molding, to figuring out what parts can be sourced and manufactured in the thousands.

Various prototyping sketches and mechanics.
Various prototyping sketches and mechanics.

TECH SPECS

Dimensions: 12.5" x 14.5" x 2" (W x H x D)
Weight: 3 lbs.
Color Temperature: Warm White 
Power: 12 Volts with US/EU Plug (Global Voltage Compatible 100 - 240V)
Power use: 2-4W (depending on brightness)
Usage: Indoor (the darker the better it works)
Loudness: Virtually silent depending on the object used (more in FAQ).
Includes: 
  •  Slow Dance crafted pine frame with two starter feathers 
  •  Two stabilizer feet 
  •  Wall mounting hook + screw 
  •  Extra rubber bands for object mounting
We also want to mention that this project will be open source. When we finalize production, the firmware for the Atmel microcontrollers will be made available to all. For the techies out there, the circuit is Arduino compatible so it is easy to re-code Slow Dance to dance in any way you can imagine!

THE SLOW DANCERS

The Slow Dance team brings together backgrounds from MIT to the forests of Maine, from robotics and graphic design to meditation, music, and painting.

Our Team: Jeff, Danjo, Nick, Hannah, and Muffin
Our Team: Jeff, Danjo, Nick, Hannah, and Muffin

Jeff Lieberman explores the connections between the arts, sciences, education, creativity, and consciousness. He hosted 'Time Warp' on the Discovery Channel, using technology to see beyond the limits of our normal human perception. He shows technological sculptures around the world, to bring people an emotional and mystical connection with science and the universe. Having finished four degrees at MIT (BS: Physics, Math, MS: Mech. Engineering, Media Arts and Sciences), he is exploring the applications of technology to evolving and shifting human consciousness. He wants beauty, wonder, and love in your life, now!

TomHANKs YOU!

Eric Gunther + Emily Beattie, Matt Kearney + Expert Digital Imaging, Jay Jodi Oak + Ocean Silver, Danielle Joseph + Rhett Applestone, Bill Alison Rowan + Mark Washabaugh, Marcelo Kyla + Elise Coehlo, Eric Rosenbaum, Kate Balug, Giles Hall, Jim Bales + The Edgerton Center, Evren Keri Oza-Harrow, Rex Maria + Carmela Martín Baker-Vidart, Jess Banks, Sandra Mullin, the Arduino project, Simon Morris + Daniel Mascarenhas, everyone at Industry Lab, Mike Zhao @ eTonnet, everyone @ Kickstarter, and everyone who dares to dream, to look freshly at the world around them, and to sit in awe and wonder at the reality in which we live.

SUPPORT US TODAY AND BRING THE MAGIC OF SLOW MOTION INTO YOUR LIFE!
 

Risks and challenges

We have been working with our manufacturers for almost a year on making Slow Dance robust and manufacturable. Kinks have been worked out and specifications agreed to, and currently the only remaining items are the final packaging and wood finishing options, which cannot be fully specified until we move forward with tooling. We don't anticipate any problems but will remain diligent in keeping things on time and up to specification.

Also, this is not our first rodeo — we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 which became one of the top Sculpture projects on KickStarter called "Moore Pattern", and shipped hundreds of kinetic sculptures around the world, so you can trust in our service and ability to deliver. Our day job is making large-scale installation artwork which we've been doing for almost ten years, so this is something we are very comfortable with. See more of that work at http://bea.st .

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Funding period

- (30 days)