Professor develops solar-powered machine to create rainbows
Eco Factor: Machine utilizes solar energy and harvested rainwater to create rainbows.
Michael Jones McKean, a former resident at the Bemis Center and now a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University, has created a machine that can create artificial rainbows using natural materials. McKean has been practicing the feat in parking lots for years and is now preparing for a larger installation at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska.
Next June McKean hopes to produce rainbows twice a day for 15 minutes using rainwater harvested from the roof the Bemis Center and renewable solar energy. The unique project utilizes a system of high-powered jet pumps and custom fountain nozzles that spray water into the air, creating all necessary conditions for rainbows to be formed.
The pumps are powered by a system of photovoltaic panels generating renewable electricity. McKean believes that visitors may be able to see rainbows from up to 1000 feet away and even walk through them.