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Light

An illustration of an air waveguide, with the four laser-produced 'holes' (orange) and the...

Efficient as fiber optic cables are at transmitting data in the form of light pulses, they do need to be physically supported, and they can only handle a finite amount of power. Still, what's the alternative ... just send those focused pulses through the air? Actually, that's just what scientists at the University of Maryland have already demonstrated in their lab.  Read More

The smart forfour and fortwo enter their third generation with a new design and new engine...

Since being introduced in 1998, over 1.5 million of the smart fortwo city cars have been produced. The company has now revealed the third-generation, with the new fortwo and forfour models boasting a colorful new design, a range of modern engines and turning circles tight enough to take on the narrowest city streets.  Read More

A team from Mexico has achieved transfer rates of 10 Gbps using a visible light Li-Fi syst...

Light might be the preferred option for transmitting data over long distances via cables, but when it comes to short range wireless, radio waves rule in the form of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Now Mexican company Sisoft, working with researchers from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), has developed a wireless technology that transmits data in visible light emitted from LED lamps, while lighting the room at the same time.  Read More

A 'smart glass' iris may provide much greater image quality in future smartphones

In a conventional camera lens, the iris consists of a set of overlapping mechanical blades that control the amount of light entering the camera. As efficient as this mechanical system is, it is too bulky and too difficult to miniaturize to be incorporated in smartphones and other compact devices. To address this, a team of researchers has used "smart glass" to create a micro-sized electronic iris that may bring much greater image quality and flexibility to smartphone cameras.  Read More

This infrared image, one of the first taken by SPHERE, displays a dust ring orbiting a nea...

A new scientific instrument for detecting and observing remote exoplanets has been successfully installed on Unit 3 of the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT). The Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument, or SPHERE, recently returned its first set of images and is promised to revolutionize the exploration and study of these distant celestial bodies.  Read More

Thermometer made of light is claimed accurate to 30 billionths of a degree  (Image: Dr. Ja...

By exploiting the difference between the speed of two different beams of colored light when traveling through a heated crystalline disk, University of Adelaide researchers claim to have produced the world's most sensitive thermometer – with an accuracy of 30 billionths of a degree.  Read More

WORM displays can be imprinted with words or pictures using UV light (Photo: UMP)

Scientists at Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) have developed displays that can be written on and erased with light. The WORM (Write Once Read Many) display is an optical storage device whose molecular geometry can be altered by shining light on it, allowing information in the form of words or pictures to be impressed on it in as little as 20 seconds. The environmentally-friendly display is also easy to dispose of, the researchers report, as users only have to scratch its surface to remove its protective coating and dip it in water to dissolve it.  Read More

Diffuse optical tomography could offer a safer alternative to fMRI and PET scans (Photo: T...

When doctors want to monitor someone's brain activity, they generally use either functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or positron emission tomography (PET). One subjects the patient to strong magnetic fields, while the other involves radiation exposure. Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, however, have recently had success using diffuse optical tomography (DOT). Although it may look kind of extreme, it basically just involves shining LEDs into the subject's head.  Read More

The University of Michigan M, formed by exposing the microparticles to light

Military vehicles that change color to be dark at night, and camo-green in the daylight ... could such a thing be possible? Well, it's certainly closer to reality, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Michigan. Scientists there have created a solution that changes color when exposed to light, then changes back when the light is removed. If incorporated into a thin film coating, the result could be chameleon-like surfaces.  Read More

The technology could allow antennas to fit seamlessly into the skins of aircraft and other...

Anyone who’s ever needed a pair of thick eyeglasses has a firm idea that lenses are the one thing where form follows function. However, BAE Systems and Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science in London have put paid to that idea with a flat lens that works like a conventional curved lens, yet without any reduction in bandwidth performance. Using a combination of composite metamaterials and transformational optics for the first time, they have created a lens that's able to bend electromagnetic waves, yet isn't bound by its shape for its function.  Read More

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