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Thanks to the Tireless Efforts of Science, Your Favorite Celebrity's Ponytail Can Be Accurately Animated

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | February 16, 2012 | Comments ()


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A team of British physicists, apparently with a lot of time on their hands, have solved a problem that has long been an issue for scientists: How can you predict the shape of a ponytail based on the person's hair; specifically, how widely will the hair would spread out at the base?

The team explored the issue using a selection of human hair ponytails in the lab and concluded that a "remarkably simple equation," dubbed the Rapunzel number, was sufficient. It takes into account several forces: the strength and elasticity of human hair, the natural waviness or curliness of the hair, the collisions between the individual hairs (which create an outward pressure on the ponytail as the hairs are pushed apart), and gravity (which pulls hairs down and thus closer together).

Wow! That's really not exciting at all. But, apparently, the Rapunzel number is important with respect to movies and video games, and specifically an animator's ability to produce more realistic depictions of hair.

Now that is important (no, it's not). It means that, when the animators ultimately in charge of the Kardashian animated series have to depict Kim's ponytail, they'll use the Rapunzel number so that it won't look fake at all, or at least anymore fake than a Kardashian naturally looks. It will also do wonders when animators have to duplicate the ponytails of these celebrities for video games, animated dream-sequences, and -- of course -- virtual reality porn.

(Source: Geeks Are Sexy)

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