Let me project you back in time…

During this semester I aim to work on projection throughout MEDA301, DIGC335 and DIGC310. This will work to my advantage, due to many cases I have stumbled across which have already led me down new topics of research in each class that I can bring together. In DIGC310 I am creating a board game that uses projection to add to the elements of the game that I will be creating. Motion gesture as well as augmented reality is also two concepts that I have been researching in order to incorporate them into the board game (or at least attempt).

Therefore, during this subject I will be exploring the limitations of projecting in different environments, on different objects, playing with what I am projecting and sharing my results with you as my DA. As an extension I will be showing you my completed board game with projection from my DIGC310 class.

So far I have played with Leap Motion as well as the Eyetoy in regards to motion gesture but I am yet to connect this to a projector for a projected play through gesture. I hope to achieve in making a projected board game that has interactive elements through motion.

The history of projection: 

Projection has a very ancient history, dating back to primitive shadow play as well as being connected to Camera obscura.’ Chinese Magic mirrors were also used to project images during the Chinese Han Dynasty as well as revolving lamps, also known as trotting horse lamps before 1000CE.

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Diagram of the camera Obscura

Around 1420, Giovanni Fontana, drew an image of a person projecting a demon- like image in his book Mechanical instruments, “Bellicorum Instrumentorum Liber.”

Concave mirrors were used in 1430 in order to reflect images onto a canvas board in order to aid the artist in the drawing or painting this is known as the Hockney-Falco thesis.

Leonardo Da Vinci was said to of had a projecting lantern with a lense, candle and chimmeny on a sketch during 1515. It is important to also mention that Dutch inventor, Cornelis Drebbel mentioned some sort of projector in a letter that was later found in the papers of Constantijn Huygens, father of the inventor of the magic latern Christiaan Huygens.

In 1612, Benedetto Castelli wrote about projecting images of the sun through a telescope (invented in 1608) to Galileo Gallilei.

During 1645, Athanasius Kirchers book described his invention, the steganographic Mirror. This was one of the main books that helped Christiaan Huygens overcome many limitations and invent the magic lantern in 1659.

The ‘solar microscope‘ was worked on by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, John Nathanael Lieberkuhn, John Cuff and Benjamin Martin during the 17th century. The Opaque Projector, more commonly known as the Episcope, worked on by Leonhard Euler, Jacque Charles and Henry Morton, was also a specific turning point during the 17th century in regards to the use of projectors on a large scale.

Belgian inventor Joseph Plateau and sons introduced the first distinctive idea of a projected moving image in 1832 before film was even invented. This was known as a Phenakistoscope, an optical illusion toy.  As you can see in the video below pictures on one disc viewed through slots in the other, appeared to move when the two were spun and viewed in a mirror.

During 1839, Henry Fox Talbot worked on printing photography onto glass slides in order to project using magic lanterns. Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre also invented the Daguerreotype in 1839. (A report of the Daguerreotype, written by Gay-Lussac can be found at: Gay-Lussac, J-L. (1839) ‘Report on the Dagerreotype’ rpt. in Harrison C, Wood P and Gaiger J (eds) 1998, Art in Theory 1815-1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 255-257)

Its also relevant to mention Oliver Wendell Holmes stereoscope made in 1881. (Holmes, O. W. (1859), ‘The Stereoscope and the Stereograph’ rpt. in Harrison C, Wood P and Gaiger J (eds) 1998, Art in Theory 1815-1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Blackwell, Oxford, pp.668-672

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Oliver Wendell Holmes Stereoscope

Emile Reynaud expands on his praxinoscope in 1882 and using mirrors and a lantern is about to project moving images onto a screen.Thomas A. Edison, inventor of the electric light bulb and the phonograph decides to design machines for making and showing moving pictures in 1888, with his assistant W.K.L Dickson (who did most of the work), Edison began experimenting with adapting the phonograph and tried to make rows of tiny photographs on similar cylinders.

During the early ancient history of projection, magicians were often related to projection work due to  augmented reality. People were often scared of projection due to this connection, believing it to be a dark magic or even a religious experience. This was due to the play on optical/ visual illusions. Here is a quick timeline of illusion/magic and media.

In my next post I will be exploring recent projection technologies as well as sharing limitations in projecting onto different objects.

Stay Tuned !




5 thoughts on “Let me project you back in time…

  1. Considering the long and vast history of projection, the use of modern augmented technologies in interactive motion available today will result in a very interesting DA! Do you expect to complete the entire game before presentation?


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