Rayform: Sculpting Light
Rayform (MC #923501) is a patented technology that allows users to project an image onto nearby surfaces by using a specially designed 3D surface that controls the distribution of light. Invented at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Rayform can be used to shape transparent materials such as PMMA (acrylic), glass, or crystal.
How it’s Done
Once the image to be projected is received (as a standard digital image in JPEG, PNG, or SVG formats), computer algorithms are used to calculate the 3D shape needed to create the image from light. This 3D shape is then used to directly engrave onto the material using a CNC machine. A mold is used for larger quantities of the same image. It is also possible to use 3D printing for quick prototypes. By slightly modifying the shape of a transparent or reflective surface according to the algorithm’s calculations, incoming light rays are redirected to form clear and highly detailed light images onto nearby surfaces.
There is no need for UV or laser light, as any direct light source, including the sun, a spotlight, or a smartphone flashlight can be used. By applying color to the transparent surface, or using colored light, full-color light images can be created. The end user can specify the desired image along with the setup details, such as light direction, object dimensions, and the focal distance.
This intuitive technology can also be used to protect the product authenticity via micro-engraving that can only be recreated with the original 3D file. Applications are for anti-counterfeiting as well as jewelry, watches, perfume and beverage bottles, interior design, architecture, and art.
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