a slower speed of light

A Slower Speed of Light

Imagine breakfast. Pulling your spoon to your mouth, you see it shifts colours from silver to blue. Moving away it shifts to red.

If that’s the case, fear not, you’re at a Slower Speed of Light. The video game of the same name was developed at MIT and it simulates Einstein’s theory of special relativity but with the speed of light down-shifted to about a running speed.

If you’re wondering why that’s interesting, all it takes is a look at the game. The visuals are complex. As you move, surrounding objects change colours and can even start to emit light. It’s a psychedelic experience that teaches basic - if hard to conceptualize - physical laws, while exploring deep realities about colour and light. Guess what: they’re all relative!

Gerd Kortemeyer owns the game, and is an Associate Professor of Physics Education at Michigan State University:

“There’s beauty in relativity. You could look at relativity, and say it’s weird, it’s difficult, it’s only a thing for geniuses - you know you hear all these kinds of notions of what relativity is like - but actually, relativity is a very elegant and beautiful thing. And yes, much of the beauty is in the math and that is a little bit hard to convey. But other parts, if you move them to a human level, those aspects become accessible.”

Kortemeyer was inspired in part by George Garmow’s Mr Tompkins in Wonderland illustrated book series in which Mr Tompkins dreams worlds where physics is all out of balance. Kortemeyer thought a video game would express these worlds better than images, while correcting inaccuracies in the books.

“It’s all about relative motion. I mean, it’s called relativity, so it’s about relative motion. You only notice these things when things are in motion. You can’t really make a snapshot of this, it wouldn’t convey the message,” said Kortemeyer.

The game works off an open-source physics engine that accurately represents light from the infrared spectrum up to ultraviolet. The games themselves are simple: move around the environment and complete basic quests, like collect x number of floating orbs.

The more you move the more psychedelic it becomes. For example, hot objects will start to shine bright like a bulb.

It’s a cool way of understanding the deep realities of the universe.

“The idea of the game was: let’s play around - kids learn by playing - and make a game in which the speed of light is slow and see if people can get an intuition about it. Let’s see if people can start to feel native and start to function in a world like this. Let’s see if people can lose some of their fear of physics, and maybe lose some of that sense that this is all so weird,” said Kortemeyer.

- Tomek Sysak

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A Slower Speed of Light

Gaming engine developed by the MIT Game Lab that uses Einstein’s theory of relativity as a gaming mechanic. Time dilation and spectrum shifting everywhere.

(Link)

Freeware Review - A Slower Speed of Light

The story goes that Albert Einstein, during one of his many periods of daydreaming as a teenager, imagined himself chasing a beam of light and riding alongside it.  In this thought experiment, he tried to imagine the effects of travelling at that speed - the way the visible light spectrum would change, and how different movement would seem to observers. Einstein later said that the “germ” of his special relativity theory was contained in this daydream.

A Slower Speed of Light, created by the MIT Game Lab, is that thought experiment made into a game.  You spend the whole game gradually slowing down the speed of light and experiencing the effects of that in first person perspective.  It is fascinating, interesting and impressive, but it’s also the first time a game has ever made me physically ill.  The visual distortions can be nauseating at times, but this game still passes the uniqueness test with flying colors.  I definitely recommend that people play it, but if you have even a slight tendency towards motion sickness, I recommend playing it with a bucket nearby.

Keep reading

It’s a basic game where the object is to simply collect orbs. The more orbs you collect though, the closer to the speed of light you get.

It shows Special Relativity, and the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased brightness in the direction of travel); time dilation (differences in the perceived passage of time from the player and the outside world); Lorentz transformation (warping of space at near-light speeds); and the runtime effect (the ability to see objects as they were in the past, due to the travel time of light)

See the link. Some researchers at MIT created a small video game called “A Slower Speed of Light” where the speed of light gradually slows down, so the effects of special relativity start to become very apparent; which is awesome. There’s a link to download the game at the end of the blog post, give it a try!

A Slower Speed of Light

A Slower Speed of Light

A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased brightness in the direction of travel); time dilation (differences in the perceived passage of time from the player and the outside world); Lorentz transformation (warping of space at near-light speeds); and the runtime effect (the ability to see objects as they were in the past, due to the travel time of light). Players can choose to share their mastery and experience of the game through Twitter. A Slower Speed of Light combines accessible gameplay and a fantasy setting with theoretical and computational physics research to deliver an engaging and pedagogically rich experience.

A new game by MIT:

A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay.

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Wow… games just got pushed to new hights º.º

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A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. A custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics engine allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay.

youtube

A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay.

youtube

“A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased brightness in the direction of travel); time dilation (differences in the perceived passage of time from the player and the outside world); Lorentz transformation (warping of space at near-light speeds); and the runtime effect (the ability to see objects as they were in the past, due to the travel time of light).”

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A Slower Speed of Light - Official Trailer