Wall of Equations

Have been reading Asimov's Second Foundation on my daily commute, it's quite engaging and sometimes don't feel like putting the book down and starting the car on the green light.

I was amazed at the "wall of equations" which jump to life as you speak and gesture described in the book; leave no shadows as you move around in front of it... zoom-in and zoom-out based on your finger movements, have vibrant color and graphics! Amazing... because technology like that is actually now looking like a reality and some interesting prototypes are visible in the tech world.

Wonder if these guys read his description and then got inspired!

Here's the extract:
He depressed a lever on his side of the desk and the room was in darkness. But only for a moment, since with a gradually livening flush, the two long walls of the room glowed to life. First, a pearly white, unrelieved, then a trace of faint darkness here and there, and finally, the fine neatly printed equations in black, with an occasional red hairline that wavered through the darker forest like a staggering rillet.

"Come, my boy, step here before the wall. You will not cast a shadow. This light does not radiate from the Radiant in an ordinary manner. To tell you the truth, I do not know even faintly by what medium this effect is produced, but you will not cast a shadow. I know that."

They stood together in the light. Each wall was thirty feet long, and ten high. The writing was small and covered every inch.

A slow silence. The student pointed a finger and as he did so, the line of equations marched down the wall, until the single series of functions he had thought of - one could scarcely consider the quick, generalized gesture of the finger to have been sufficiently precise - was at eye-level.

"Before you obtain your Speakerhood," continued the First Speaker, "you yourself will have to make an original contribution to the Plan. It is not such great blasphemy. Every red mark you see on the wall is the contribution of a man among us who lived since Seldon. Why ... why-" He looked upward, "There!"

The whole wall seemed to whirl down upon him.

"This," he said, "is mine." A fine red line encircled two forking arrows and included six square feet of deductions along each path. Between the two were a series of equations in red.


Uma said…
Interesting! I'm not surprised that such technology may be within reach - almost every technological milestone seems to have been inspired by science fiction, including the moon landing (which was inspired by Jules Verne). More power to sci-fi!!

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