Technology Lateral

Tim Hawkinson implements technology into many of his art works. He uses things like hydraulics, electricity, recordings, televisions, infrared sensors, and air pressurization in his art. Some of his work can also be considered “Kinetic” 3D art/ Sculpture.

Here is a short film that portrays how Tim Hawkinson implements technology into his works of art.


“The word technology refers to the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species’ ability to control and adapt to their natural environments. The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: examples include construction technology, medical technology, and information technology.

The human species’ use of technology began with the conversion of natural resources into simple tools. The prehistorical discovery of the ability to control fire increased the available sources of food and the invention of the wheel helped humans in travelling in and controlling their environment. Recent technological developments, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale. However, not all technology has been used for peaceful purposes; the development of weapons of ever-increasing destructive power has progressed throughout history, from clubs to nuclear weapons.

Technology has affected society and its surroundings in a number of ways. In many societies, technology has helped develop more advanced economies (including today’s global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of the Earth and its environment. Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, a term originally applied only to machines, and the challenge of traditional norms.

Philosophical debates have arisen over the present and future use of technology in society, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar movements criticise the pervasiveness of technology in the modern world, opining that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition. Indeed, until recently, it was believed that the development of technology was restricted only to human beings, but recent scientific studies indicate that other primates and certain dolphin communities have developed simple tools and learned to pass their knowledge to other generations.”


“The use of the term technology has changed significantly over the last 200 years. Before the 20th century, the term was uncommon in English, and usually referred to the description or study of the useful arts. The term was often connected to technical education, as in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (chartered in 1861). “Technology” rose to prominence in the 20th century in connection with the Second Industrial Revolution. The meanings of technology changed in the early 20th century when American social scientists, beginning with Thorstein Veblen, translated ideas from the German concept of Technik into “technology.” In German and other European languages, a distinction exists between Technik and Technologie that is absent in English, as both terms are usually translated as “technology.” By the 1930s, “technology” referred not to the study of the industrial arts, but to the industrial arts themselves. In 1937, the American sociologist Read Bain wrote that “technology includes all tools, machines, utensils, weapons, instruments, housing, clothing, communicating and transporting devices and the skills by which we produce and use them.” Bain’s definition remains common among scholars today, especially social scientists. But equally prominent is the definition of technology as applied science, especially among scientists and engineers, although most social scientists who study technology reject this definition. More recently, scholars have borrowed from European philosophers of “technique” to extend the meaning of technology to various forms of instrumental reason, as in Foucault’s work on technologies of the self (“techniques de soi”).

Dictionaries and scholars have offered a variety of definitions. The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers a definition of the term: “the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area” and “a capability given by the practical application of knowledge”. Ursula Franklin, in her 1989 “Real World of Technology” lecture, gave another definition of the concept; it is “practice, the way we do things around here”. The term is often used to imply a specific field of technology, or to refer to high technology or just consumer electronics, rather than technology as a whole.[8] Bernard Stiegler, in Technics and Time, 1, defines technology in two ways: as “the pursuit of life by means other than life”, and as “organized inorganic matter.”

Technology can be most broadly defined as the entities, both material and immaterial, created by the application of mental and physical effort in order to achieve some value. In this usage, technology refers to tools and machines that may be used to solve real-world problems. It is a far-reaching term that may include simple tools, such as a crowbar or wooden spoon, or more complex machines, such as a space station or particle accelerator. Tools and machines need not be material; virtual technology, such as computer software and business methods, fall under this definition of technology.

The word “technology” can also be used to refer to a collection of techniques. In this context, it is the current state of humanity’s knowledge of how to combine resources to produce desired products, to solve problems, fulfill needs, or satisfy wants; it includes technical methods, skills, processes, techniques, tools and raw materials. When combined with another term, such as “medical technology” or “space technology”, it refers to the state of the respective field’s knowledge and tools. “State-of-the-arttechnology” refers to the high technology available to humanity in any field.

The invention of integrated circuits and the microprocessor (here, an Intel 4004 chip from 1971) led to the modern computer revolution.

Technology can be viewed as an activity that forms or changes culture. Additionally, technology is the application of math, science, and the arts for the benefit of life as it is known. A modern example is the rise of communication technology, which has lessened barriers to human interaction and, as a result, has helped spawn new subcultures; the rise of cyberculture has, at its basis, the development of the Internet and the computer. Not all technology enhances culture in a creative way; technology can also help facilitate political oppression and war via tools such as guns. As a cultural activity, technology predates bothscience and engineering, each of which formalize some aspects of technological endeavor.

The distinction between science, engineering and technology is not always clear. Science is the reasoned investigation or study of phenomena, aimed at discovering enduring principles among elements of the phenomenal world by employing formal techniques such as the scientific method.Technologies are not usually exclusively products of science, because they have to satisfy requirements such as utility, usability and safety.

Engineering is the goal-oriented process of designing and making tools and systems to exploit natural phenomena for practical human means, often (but not always) using results and techniques from science. The development of technology may draw upon many fields of knowledge, including scientific, engineering, mathematical, linguistic, and historical knowledge, to achieve some practical result.

Technology is often a consequence of science and engineering — although technology as a human activity precedes the two fields. For example, science might study the flow of electrons in electrical conductors, by using already-existing tools and knowledge. This new-found knowledge may then be used by engineers to create new tools and machines, such as semiconductors, computers, and other forms of advanced technology. In this sense, scientists and engineers may both be considered technologists; the three fields are often considered as one for the purposes of research and reference.

The exact relations between science and technology in particular have been debated by scientists, historians, and policymakers in the late 20th century, in part because the debate can inform the funding of basic and applied science. In the immediate wake of World War II, for example, in the United States it was widely considered that technology was simply “applied science” and that to fund basic science was to reap technological results in due time. An articulation of this philosophy could be found explicitly in Vannevar Bush’s treatise on postwar science policy, Science—The Endless Frontier: “New products, new industries, and more jobs require continuous additions to knowledge of the laws of nature … This essential new knowledge can be obtained only through basic scientific research.” In the late-1960s, however, this view came under direct attack, leading towards initiatives to fund science for specific tasks (initiatives resisted by the scientific community). The issue remains contentious—though most analysts resist the model that technology simply is a result of scientific research.”

Guston, David H. (2000). Between politics and science: Assuring the integrity and productivity of research. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-65318-5.


“is a topic in applied science and engineering dealing with the mechanical properties of liquids. At a very basic level hydraulics is the liquid version of pneumatics. Fluid mechanics provides the theoretical foundation for hydraulics, which focuses on the engineering uses of fluid properties. In fluid power, hydraulics is used for the generation, control, and transmission of power by the use of pressurized liquids. Hydraulic topics range through some part of science and most of engineering modules, and cover concepts such as pipe flow, dam design, fluidics and fluid control circuitry, pumps, turbines, hydropower, computational fluid dynamics, flow measurement, river channel behavior and erosion.

Free surface hydraulics is the branch of hydraulics dealing with free surface flow, such as occurring in rivers, canals, lakes, estuaries and seas. Its sub-field open channel flow studies the flow in open channels.

The word “hydraulics” originates from the Greek word ὑδραυλικός (hydraulikos) which in turn originates from ὕδωρ (hydor, Greek for water) and αὐλός (aulos, meaning pipe).”

Suirigaku, Ryutai-rikigaku, Asakura Shoten, p. 17, ISBN 4-254-26135-7.

The Perachora Waterworks: Addenda, R. A. Tomlinson, The Annual of the British School at Athens, Vol. 71, (1976), pp. 147-148


“Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric charge. Electricity gives a wide variety of well-known effects, such as lightning, static electricity, electromagnetic induction and the flow of electrical current. In addition, electricity permits the creation and reception of electromagnetic radiation such as radio waves.

Long before any knowledge of electricity existed people were aware of shocks from electric fish. Ancient Egyptian texts dating from 2750 BC referred to these fish as the “Thunderer of the Nile”, and described them as the “protectors” of all other fish. Electric fish were again reported millennia later by ancient Greek, Roman and Arabic naturalists and physicians.[2] Several ancient writers, such as Pliny the Elder and Scribonius Largus, attested to the numbing effect of electric shocks delivered by catfish andtorpedo rays, and knew that such shocks could travel along conducting objects.[3] Patients suffering from ailments such as gout or headache were directed to touch electric fish in the hope that the powerful jolt might cure them.[4] Possibly the earliest and nearest approach to the discovery of the identity of lightning, and electricity from any other source, is to be attributed to the Arabs, who before the 15th century had the Arabic word for lightning (raad) applied to the electric ray.[5]

Ancient cultures around the Mediterranean knew that certain objects, such as rods of amber, could be rubbed with cat’s fur to attract light objects like feathers. Thales of Miletos made a series of observations on static electricity around 600 BC, from which he believed that friction rendered amber magnetic, in contrast to minerals such as magnetite, which needed no rubbing.[6][7] Thales was incorrect in believing the attraction was due to a magnetic effect, but later science would prove a link between magnetism and electricity. According to a controversial theory, the Parthians may have had knowledge of electroplating, based on the 1936 discovery of the Baghdad Battery, which resembles a galvanic cell, though it is uncertain whether the artifact was electrical in nature.[8]

The movement of electric charge is known as an electric current, the intensity of which is usually measured in amperes. Current can consist of any moving charged particles; most commonly these are electrons, but any charge in motion constitutes a current.

By historical convention, a positive current is defined as having the same direction of flow as any positive charge it contains, or to flow from the most positive part of a circuit to the most negative part. Current defined in this manner is called conventional current. The motion of negatively charged electrons around an electric circuit, one of the most familiar forms of current, is thus deemed positive in the opposite direction to that of the electrons.[27] However, depending on the conditions, an electric current can consist of a flow of charged particles in either direction, or even in both directions at once. The positive-to-negative convention is widely used to simplify this situation.

An electric arc provides an energetic demonstration of electric current
The process by which electric current passes through a material is termed electrical conduction, and its nature varies with that of the charged particles and the material through which they are travelling. Examples of electric currents include metallic conduction, where electrons flow through a conductor such as metal, and electrolysis, where ions (charged atoms) flow through liquids. While the particles themselves can move quite slowly, sometimes with an average drift velocity only fractions of a millimetre per second,[17] the electric field that drives them itself propagates at close to the speed of light, enabling electrical signals to pass rapidly along wires.[28]

Current causes several observable effects, which historically were the means of recognising its presence. That water could be decomposed by the current from a voltaic pile was discovered by Nicholson and Carlisle in 1800, a process now known aselectrolysis. Their work was greatly expanded upon by Michael Faraday in 1833.[29] Current through a resistance causes localised heating, an effect James Prescott Joule studied mathematically in 1840.[29] One of the most important discoveries relating to current was made accidentally by Hans Christian Ørsted in 1820, when, while preparing a lecture, he witnessed the current in a wire disturbing the needle of a magnetic compass.[30] He had discovered electromagnetism, a fundamental interaction between electricity and magnetics. The level of electromagnetic emissions generated by electric arcing is high enough to produce electromagnetic interference, which can be detrimental to the workings of adjacent equipment.[31]

In engineering or household applications, current is often described as being either direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC). These terms refer to how the current varies in time. Direct current, as produced by example from a battery and required by most electronic devices, is a unidirectional flow from the positive part of a circuit to the negative.[32] If, as is most common, this flow is carried by electrons, they will be travelling in the opposite direction. Alternating current is any current that reverses direction repeatedly; almost always this takes the form of a sine wave.[33] Alternating current thus pulses back and forth within a conductor without the charge moving any net distance over time. The time-averaged value of an alternating current is zero, but it delivers energy in first one direction, and then the reverse. Alternating current is affected by electrical properties that are not observed under steady state direct current, such as inductance and capacitance.[34] These properties however can become important when circuitry is subjected to transients, such as when first energised.”

Physiological effects

A voltage applied to a human body causes an electric current through the tissues, and although the relationship is non-linear, the greater the voltage, the greater the current. The threshold for perception varies with the supply frequency and with the path of the current, but is about 0.1 mA to 1 mA for mains-frequency electricity, though a current as low as a microamp can be detected as an electrovibration effect under certain conditions. If the current is sufficiently high, it will cause muscle contraction, fibrillation of the heart, and tissue burns.The lack of any visible sign that a conductor is electrified makes electricity a particular hazard. The pain caused by an electric shock can be intense, leading electricity at times to be employed as a method of torture. Death caused by an electric shock is referred to as electrocution. Electrocution is still the means of judicial execution in some jurisdictions, though its use has become rarer in recent times.

Electrical phenomena in nature

“Electricity is not a human invention, and may be observed in several forms in nature, a prominent manifestation of which is lightning. “Many interactions familiar at the macroscopic level, such as touch, friction or chemical bonding, are due to interactions between electric fields on the atomic scale. The Earth’s magnetic field is thought to arise from a natural dynamo of circulating currents in the planet’s core.[72] Certain crystals, such as quartz, or even sugar, generate a potential difference across their faces when subjected to external pressure.[73] This phenomenon is known as piezoelectricity, from the Greek piezein (πιέζειν), meaning to press, and was discovered in 1880 by Pierre and Jacques Curie. The effect is reciprocal, and when a piezoelectric material is subjected to an electric field, a small change in physical dimensions takes place.[73]

Some organisms, such as sharks, are able to detect and respond to changes in electric fields, an ability known as electroreception,[74] while others, termed electrogenic, are able to generate voltages themselves to serve as a predatory or defensive weapon.[3] The order Gymnotiformes, of which the best known example is the electric eel, detect or stun their prey via high voltages generated from modified muscle cells called electrocytes.[3][4] All animals transmit information along their cell membranes with voltage pulses called action potentials, whose functions include communication by the nervous system between neurons and muscles.[75] An electric shock stimulates this system, and causes muscles to contract.[76] Action potentials are also responsible for coordinating activities in certain plants.[75]”

Cultural perception

“In the 19th and early 20th century, electricity was not part of the everyday life of many people, even in the industrialised Western world. The popular culture of the time accordingly often depicts it as a mysterious, quasi-magical force that can slay the living, revive the dead or otherwise bend the laws of nature.[77] This attitude began with the 1771 experiments of Luigi Galvani in which the legs of dead frogs were shown to twitch on application of animal electricity. “Revitalization” or resuscitation of apparently dead or drowned persons was reported in the medical literature shortly after Galvani’s work. These results were known to Mary Shelley when she authored Frankenstein (1819), although she does not name the method of revitalization of the monster. The revitalization of monsters with electricity later became a stock theme in horror films.

As the public familiarity with electricity as the lifeblood of the Second Industrial Revolution grew, its wielders were more often cast in a positive light,[78] such as the workers who “finger death at their gloves’ end as they piece and repiece the living wires” in Rudyard Kipling’s 1907 poem Sons of Martha.[78] Electrically powered vehicles of every sort featured large in adventure stories such as those of Jules Verne and the Tom Swift books.[78] The masters of electricity, whether fictional or real—including scientists such as Thomas Edison, Charles Steinmetz or Nikola Tesla—were popularly conceived of as having wizard-like powers.[78]

With electricity ceasing to be a novelty and becoming a necessity of everyday life in the later half of the 20th century, it required particular attention by popular culture only when it stops flowing,[78] an event that usually signals disaster.[78] The people who keep it flowing, such as the nameless hero of Jimmy Webb’s song “Wichita Lineman” (1968),[78] are still often cast as heroic, wizard-like figures.[78]”


“Television (TV) is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome (black-and-white) or colored, with or without accompanying sound. “Television” may also refer specifically to a television set,television programming, or television transmission.

The etymology of the word has a mixed Latin and Greek origin, meaning “far sight”: Greek tele (τῆλε), far, and Latin visio, sight (from video, vis- to see, or to view in the first person).

Commercially available since the late 1920s, the television set has become commonplace in homes, businesses and institutions, particularly as a vehicle for advertising, a source of entertainment, and news. Since the 1950s, television has been the main medium for molding public opinion.[1]. Since the 1970s the availability of video cassettes, laserdiscs, DVDs and now Blu-ray Discs, have resulted in the television set frequently being used for viewing recorded as well as broadcast material. In recent years, Internet television has seen the rise of television available via the Internet through services such as iPlayer and Hulu.

Although other forms such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) are in use, the most common usage of the medium is for broadcast television, which was modeled on the existing radio broadcasting systems developed in the 1920s, and uses high-powered radio-frequency transmitters to broadcast the television signal to individual TV receivers.

The broadcast television system is typically disseminated via radio transmissions on designated channels in the 54–890 MHz frequency band.[2] Signals are now often transmitted with stereo or surround sound in many countries. Until the 2000s broadcast TV programs were generally transmitted as an analog television signal, but during the decade several countries went almost exclusively digital.

A standard television set comprises multiple internal electronic circuits, including those for receiving and decoding broadcast signals. A visual display device which lacks a tuner is properly called a video monitor, rather than a television. A television system may use different technical standards such as digital television (DTV) and high-definition television (HDTV). Television systems are also used for surveillance, industrial process control, and guiding of weapons, in places where direct observation is difficult or dangerous. Some studies have found a link between infancy exposure to television and ADHD.[3]

Brief History:

In its early stages of development, television employed a combination of optical, mechanical and electronic technologies to capture, transmit and display a visual image. By the late 1920s, however, those employing only optical and electronic technologies were being explored. All modern television systems relied on the latter, although the knowledge gained from the work on electromechanical systems was crucial in the development of fully electronic television.

Braun HF 1 television receiver, Germany, 1958
The first images transmitted electrically were sent by early mechanical fax machines, including the pantelegraph, developed in the late nineteenth century. The concept of electrically powered transmission of television images in motion was first sketched in 1878 as the telephonoscope, shortly after the invention of the telephone. At the time, it was imagined by early science fiction authors, that someday that light could be transmitted over copper wires, as sounds were.

The idea of using scanning to transmit images was put to actual practical use in 1881 in the pantelegraph, through the use of a pendulum-based scanning mechanism. From this period forward, scanning in one form or another has been used in nearly every image transmission technology to date, including television. This is the concept of “rasterization”, the process of converting a visual image into a stream of electrical pulses.

In 1884 Paul Gottlieb Nipkow, a 23-year-old university student in Germany,[4] patented the first electromechanical television system which employed a scanning disk, a spinning disk with a series of holes spiraling toward the center, for rasterization. The holes were spaced at equal angular intervals such that in a single rotation the disk would allow light to pass through each hole and onto a light-sensitive selenium sensor which produced the electrical pulses. As an image was focused on the rotating disk, each hole captured a horizontal “slice” of the whole image.[5]

Nipkow’s design would not be practical until advances in amplifier tube technology became available. Later designs would use a rotating mirror-drum scanner to capture the image and a cathode ray tube (CRT) as a display device, but moving images were still not possible, due to the poor sensitivity of the selenium sensors. In 1907 Russian scientist Boris Rosing became the first inventor to use a CRT in the receiver of an experimental television system. He used mirror-drum scanning to transmit simple geometric shapes to the CRT.

Vladimir Zworykindemonstrates electronic television (1929).
Using a Nipkow disk, Scottish inventor John Logie Baird succeeded in demonstrating the transmission of moving silhouette images in London in 1925,and of moving, monochromatic images in 1926. Baird’s scanning disk produced an image of 30 lines resolution, just enough to discern a human face, from a double spiral of Photographic lenses.[8] This demonstration by Baird is generally agreed to be the world’s first true demonstration of television, albeit a mechanical form of television no longer in use. Remarkably, in 1927 Baird also invented the world’s first video recording system, “Phonovision”: by modulating the output signal of his TV camera down to the audio range, he was able to capture the signal on a 10-inch wax audio disc using conventional audio recording technology. A handful of Baird’s ‘Phonovision’ recordings survive and these were finally decoded and rendered into viewable images in the 1990s using modern digital signal-processing technology.

In 1926, Hungarian engineer Kálmán Tihanyi designed a television system utilizing fully electronic scanning and display elements, and employing the principle of “charge storage” within the scanning (or “camera”) tube.

On December 25, 1926, Kenjiro Takayanagi demonstrated a television system with a 40-line resolution that employed a CRT display at Hamamatsu Industrial High School in Japan.This was the first working example of a fully electronic television receiver. Takayanagi did not apply for a patent.

By 1927, Russian inventor Léon Theremin developed a mirror-drum-based television system which used interlacing to achieve an image resolution of 100 lines.

In 1927, Philo Farnsworth made the world’s first working television system with electronic scanning of both the pickup and display devices,[17] which he first demonstrated to the press on 1 September 1928.

WRGB claims to be the world’s oldest television station, tracing its roots to an experimental station founded on January 13, 1928, broadcasting from the General Electric factory in Schenectady, NY, under the call letters W2XB.[19] It was popularly known as “WGY Television” after its sister radio station. Later in 1928, General Electric started a second facility, this one in New York City, which had the call letters W2XBS, and which today is known as WNBC. The two stations were experimental in nature and had no regular programming, as receivers were operated by engineers within the company. The image of a Felix the Cat doll, rotating on a turntable, was broadcast for 2 hours every day for several years, as new technology was being tested by the engineers.

In August 1936 the Olympic Games in Berlin were carried by cable to television stations in Berlin and Leipzig where the public could view the games live.

In 1935 the German firm of Fernseh A.G. and the United States firm Farnsworth Television owned by Philo Farnsworth signed an agreement to exchange their television patents and technology to speed development of television transmitters and stations in their respective countries.

On 2 November 1936 the BBC began transmitting the world’s first public regular high-definition service from the Victorian Alexandra Palace in north London. It therefore claims to be the birthplace of television broadcasting as we know it today.

In 1936, Kálmán Tihanyi described the principle of plasma display, the first flat panel display system.[23][24]

Mexican inventor Guillermo González Camarena also played an important role in early television. His experiments with television (known as telectroescopía at first) began in 1931 and led to a patent for the “trichromatic field sequential system” color television in 1940,.

Although television became more familiar in the United States with the general public at the 1939 World’s Fair, the outbreak of World War II prevented it from being manufactured on a large scale until after the end of the war. True regular commercial television network programming did not begin in the U.S. until 1948. During that year, legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini made his first of ten TV appearances conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra,[26] and Texaco Star Theater, starring comedian Milton Berle, became television’s first gigantic hit show.[27] Since the 1950s, television has been the main medium for molding public opinion.[1]

Amateur television (ham TV or ATV) was developed for non-commercial experimentation, pleasure and public service events by amateur radio operators. Ham TV stations were on the air in many cities before commercial TV stations came on the air.[28]

In 2012, it was reported that television revenue was growing faster than film for major media companies’.[29]”

Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, New York, Riverhead (Penguin), 2005, 2006, ISBN 1-59448-194-6.

In the Absence of the Sacred, Sierra Club Books, 1992, ISBN 0-87156-509-9.

Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, New York, Penguin US, 1985, ISBN 0-670-80454-1.

Evan I. Schwartz, The Last Lone Inventor: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of Television, New York, Harper Paperbacks, 2003, ISBN 0-06-093559-6.

Beretta E. Smith-Shomade, Shaded Lives: African-American Women and Television, Rutgers University Press, 2002.

Alan Taylor, We, the Media: Pedagogic Intrusions into US Mainstream Film and Television News Broadcasting Rhetoric, Peter Lang, 2005, ISBN 3-631-51852-8.


“light is electromagnetic radiation with longer wavelengths than those of visible light, extending from the nominal red edge of the visible spectrum at 0.74 micrometres (µm) to 0.3 mm. This range of wavelengths corresponds to afrequency range of approximately 430 down to 1 THz, and includes most of the thermal radiation emitted by objects near room temperature. Infrared light is emitted or absorbed by molecules when they change their rotational-vibrationalmovements. The existence of infrared radiation was first discovered in 1800 by astronomer William Herschel.

Much of the energy from the Sun arrives on Earth in the form of infrared radiation. Sunlight at zenith provides an irradiance of just over 1 kilowatt per square meter at sea level. Of this energy, 527 watts is infrared radiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultraviolet radiation. The balance between absorbed and emitted infrared radiation has a critical effect on the Earth’s climate.

Infrared light is used in industrial, scientific, and medical applications. Night-vision devices using infrared illumination allow people or animals to be observed without the observer being detected. In astronomy, imaging at infrared wavelengths allows observation of objects obscured by interstellar dust. Infrared imaging cameras are used to detect heat loss in insulated systems, to observe changing blood flow in the skin, and to detect overheating of electrical apparatus.

Light comparison[3]
Name Wavelength Frequency (Hz) Photon Energy (eV)
Gamma ray less than 0.01 nm more than 10 EHz 124 keV – 300+ GeV
X-Ray 0.01 nm to 10 nm 30 EHz – 30 PHz 124 eV to 124 keV
Ultraviolet 10 nm – 380 nm 30 PHz – 790 THz 3.3 eV to 124 eV
Visible 380 nm – 700 nm 790 THz – 430 THz 1.7 eV – 3.3 eV
Infrared 700 nm – 1 mm 430 THz – 300 GHz 1.24 meV – 1.7 eV
Microwave 1 mm – 1 meter 300 GHz – 300 MHz 1.24 µeV – 1.24 meV
Radio 1 mm – 100,000 km 300 GHz – 3 Hz 12.4 feV – 1.24 meV

Infrared imaging is used extensively for military and civilian purposes. Military applications include target acquisition, surveillance, night vision, homing and tracking. Non-military uses include thermal efficiency analysis, environmental monitoring, industrial facility inspections, remote temperature sensing, short-ranged wireless communication, spectroscopy, and weather forecasting. Infrared astronomy uses sensor-equipped telescopes to penetrate dusty regions of space, such as molecular clouds; detect objects such as planets, and to view highly red-shifted objects from the early days of the universe.

Humans at normal body temperature radiate chiefly at wavelengths around 10 μm (micrometers), as shown by Wien’s displacement law.

At the atomic level, infrared energy elicits vibrational modes in a molecule through a change in the dipole moment, making it a useful frequency range for study of these energy states for molecules of the proper symmetry. Infrared spectroscopy examines absorption and transmission of photons in the infrared energy range, based on their frequency and intensity.

Infrared radiation is popularly known as “heat radiation”, but light and electromagnetic waves of any frequency will heat surfaces that absorb them. Infrared light from the Sun only accounts for 49%[14] of the heating of the Earth, with the rest being caused by visible light that is absorbed then re-radiated at longer wavelengths. Visible light or ultraviolet-emitting lasers can char paper and incandescently hot objects emit visible radiation. Objects at room temperature will emit radiation mostly concentrated in the 8 to 25 µm band, but this is not distinct from the emission of visible light by incandescent objects and ultraviolet by even hotter objects (see black body and Wien’s displacement law).


The concept of emissivity is important in understanding the infrared emissions of objects. This is a property of a surface which describes how its thermal emissions deviate from the ideal of a black body. To further explain, two objects at the same physical temperature will not “appear” the same temperature in an infrared image if they have differing emissivities.

Infrared is used in night vision equipment when there is insufficient visible light to see. Night vision devices operate through a process involving the conversion of ambient light photons into electrons which are then amplified by a chemical and electrical process and then converted back into visible light. Infrared light sources can be used to augment the available ambient light for conversion by night vision devices, increasing in-the-dark visibility without actually using a visible light source.

The Earth’s surface and the clouds absorb visible and invisible radiation from the sun and re-emit much of the energy as infrared back to the atmosphere. Certain substances in the atmosphere, chiefly cloud droplets and water vapor, but also carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, and chlorofluorocarbons, absorb this infrared, and re-radiate it in all directions including back to Earth. Thus the greenhouse effect keeps the atmosphere and surface much warmer than if the infrared absorbers were absent from the atmospher”


“Kinetic art is art from any medium that contains movement perceivable by the viewer or depends on motion for its effect. Canvas paintings that extend the viewer’s perspective of the artwork and incorporate multidimensional movement are the earliest examples of kinetic art.[1] More pertinently speaking, kinetic art is a term that today most often refers to three-dimensional sculptures and figures such as mobiles that move naturally or are machine operated. The moving parts are generally powered by wind, a motor or the observer. Kinetic art encompasses a wide variety of overlapping techniques and styles.
There is also a portion of kinetic art that includes virtual movement, or rather movement perceived from only certain angles or sections of the work. This term also clashes frequently with the term apparent movement, which many people use when referring to an artwork whose movement is created by motors, machines, or electrically-powered systems. Both apparent and virtual movement are styles of kinetic art that only recently have been argued as styles of op art.[2] The amount of overlap between kinetic and op art is not significant enough for artists and art historians to consider merging the two styles under one umbrella term, but there are distinctions that have yet to be made.
“Kinetic art” as a moniker developed from a number of sources. Kinetic art has its origins in the late 1800s impressionist artists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Edouard Manet who originally experimented with accentuating the movement of human figures on canvas. This triumvirate of impressionist painters all sought to create art that was more lifelike than their contemporaries. Degas’ dancer and racehorse portraits are examples of what he believed to be “photographic realism”;[3] artists such as Degas in the late 1800s felt the need to challenge the movement toward photography with vivid, cadenced landscapes and portraits. By the early 1900s, certain artists grew closer and closer to ascribing their art to dynamic motion. Naum Gabo, one of the two artists attributed to naming this style, wrote frequently about his work as examples of “kinetic rhythm”.[4] He felt that his moving sculpture Kinetic Construction (also dubbed Standing Wave, 1919–20)[5] was the first of its kind in the 20th century. From the 1920s until the 1960s, the style of kinetic art was reshaped by a number of other artists who experimented with mobiles and new forms of sculpture.”

Kinetic Art by Guy Brett

Oxford Art Online: Kinetic Art in America

Oxford Art Online: Kinetic Art – firsthit

The Origins and Development of Kinetic Art by Frank Popper

Kinetics by Frank Popper

Calder by Ugo Mulas, H. Harvard Arnason with comments by Alexander Calder

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