Reverse
Waterfall

Water drops defying gravity

In Short

Is this even real? Gleaming water droplets slowly hover upwards through the air, seeming to defy gravity. In the upward-facing palms of our hands, these same droplets seem to form in reverse – starting from a splash, then merging into a perfect sphere. This reverse waterfall counteracts our intuition and questions our perception.

Details and Theory

The set-up consists of a series of loudspeakers equipped with nozzles, arranged in a straight line. From each nozzle single water droplets are released. The droplets are created and thereafter fall in the frequency of the vibration of the loudspeakers.

The illusion itself is created by the addition of a stroboscope, which emits light flashes at a slightly different frequency relative to the falling droplets. If this offset in frequency is chosen carefully, the water begins to slowly travel upward, through the same effect as with stop-motion. The drops are illuminated a little earlier in their fall with every flash of the strobe, tricking our mind into seeing them suddenly flowing skyward, supposedly eluding the pull of gravity.