Computational Glass Art

One of the great things social media is the ease at which you can find people interested in the same things you are. I’ve been photographing the patterns formed by concentrations of light, called “caustics”. Recently, I posted some of the photos on Instagram with the hashtag #caustics. I didn’t think many people were familiar with the term, so I was surprised to discover a number of other people had also tagged their photos “#caustics”! One particular posting by John Klein caught my attention. 

Caustic patterns from an illuminated 3D printed glass structure
Caustic patterns from an illuminated 3D printed glass structure

The pattern of caustics is exceptionally beautiful, but the object creating them is even more amazing: it is the result of a 3-D glass printing process. The process, created by collaboration between the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab, the Mechanical Engineering Department, the MIT Glass Lab and Wyss Institute, is called G3DP for short. According to their website:

“The tunability enabled by geometrical and optical variation driven by form, transparency and color variation can drive; limit or control light transmission, reflection and refraction, and therefore carries significant implications for all things glass.”

But for the best introduction, watch their video. It is well worth it!

My begining photographing caustics is discussed in my post The Dance of Light.

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