June 28, 2002 The Fourth of July is synonymous with fireworks displays, but before all the bright colors and thunderous booms, scientists are hard at work behind the scenes making each firework display its best. Computer scientists at Infinity Visions Inc. in Bellevue, Washington have teamed up with the pyrotechnic magicians at Pyrodigital Consultants in Pebble Beach, California to develop software that makes any firework imaginable.
"With the Visual Show Director 4D fourth dimension) software we can design any color, height, size, speed, or combination of firework effects," says Alberto Navarro, President and Art Director with Infinity Visions Inc. "The fourth dimension is timing, which means that we can create effects that seem impossible."
The software combines the laws of gravity and meteorological conditions such as wind. The result is 'virtual' firework display on screen. Not only do the pyrotechnicians get to preview the display, but they also receive the list of the chemicals needed to make the colors, and the timing for igniting each firework shell to match the rhythm of the virtual show.
Timing is very important in pyrotechnics. Especially when a firework needs to hit a musical note with a bang. The key is a special computer chip located inside the firework shell. "We use the Magic Fire electronic time chip to fire each and very fireworks shell to burst at the correct time as visualized on the computer," says Ken G. Nixon, President of Pyrodigital Consultants, "That way, we can ensure we have absolute precision between the 'virtual' firework display and the actual display."
Thanks to computer technology and science, this year's Fourth of July fireworks displays will be a dream come true.
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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by American Institute Of Physics.
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