Oct 20, 2009

Design that explains our world

This week a new video came out that gives a practical visualization of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology (the controversial gadget in a lot of small devices that allows machines to communicate when in short distance with each other; a lot of major gas stations, for example, allow you to swipe a keychain piece that's linked to your credit card so you save 6 seconds when paying for gas).

Immaterials: the ghost in the field from timo on Vimeo.

What seems to have been an emerging trend in the last few years (and I think will only grow) is motion-graphic visualizations like this. We've seen print graphics that describe the principles of radioactivity, for example, and how distance and lead matter in a nuclear meltdown, but the images were always too theoretical to be taken seriously and the concepts so abstract that there was nothing to connect to. However out of video imaging now capable of doing abstract concepts affordably, and Hollywood films exhaustively visualizing abstract concepts ("Bullet Time" to depict sonic-speed), that designers are just moving forward with depicting science.

Magnetic Movie from Semiconductor on Vimeo.

In this video depicting concepts of magnetic fields, we're given stylistic representations of non-physical elements in a physical world. That still doesn't change the fact that it's an abstract concept: what's the difference between the red loops and blue loops? Not sure. Do I care? Not really; I'm watching a pretty video and feeling smart about it. Win/win.