May 1, 2012 at 3:09 PM ET
Science and art aren't always the best of friends, but sometimes they go together extraordinarily well. "Patterned by Nature," a huge 90-foot LCD array commissioned for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, is certainly a good example.
Each of the 3600 tiles of glass in "Patterned by Nature" is a black-and-white LCD display that can vary its transparency, producing Aa giant monochrome display. It's a bit low-resolution at 180x20 (a 1080p TV has over 500 times as many pixels), but it makes up for that in the stark beauty of what it displays.
You can watch it below, but the official HD version is here at Vimeo.
The creators (Plebian Design, Soso Limited, and Hypersonic Engineering and Design) captured patterns from nature and recreated them algorithmically: everything from flocks of birds to water ripples to colonies of bacteria. They're all represented in beautiful spreading patterns or charming low-resolution analogues. There's also a soundtrack, helping viewers clue in on what exactly they're watching, if it's not immediately obvious (not everyone has seen black hole emanations).
And lest you think such a huge display is a waste of energy, the 3600 tiles run on a total of 75 watts -- less than most laptops. You can learn more about the project and its construction at Hypersonic's site.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.