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Light


— Science

Stanford researchers control light using synthetic magnetism

Left to its own ways, light will follow the same path through an optical system whether the system is being used as a camera lens or as a projector. This is called time-reversal symmetry, or reciprocity. As many new applications and methods would be enabled by access to a non-reciprocal optical system, it is unfortunate that they have been so difficult to come by. But now researchers at Stanford University have discovered how to make such non-reciprocal systems by generating an effective magnetic field for photons. Read More
— Wearables

Re-Timer resets body clock to counter jet lag

It’s taken a few years, but the LED light glasses developed at Australia’s Flinders University that first attracted our attention back in 2003 are finally seeing a commercial launch. Now called Re-Timer, the wearable device emits a soft green light onto the eyes to reset the body’s internal clock to counter jet lag, improve the alertness of shift workers and make waking up in the morning easier. Read More
— Around The Home

iPhone-charging desk lamps declare war on cable clutter

Unfortunately, as our collection of consumer gadgetry increases, so does the number of different power charging cables piled up at the edge of the desk. Hong Kong's M&C Lighting t'Light desk lamps promise to help reduce the tangled mound by incorporating charging ports in the base. Each of the company's four models packs a USB charging port and comes supplied with multi-tip cables compatible with various brand mobile phones and notebooks. Two of them also have an integrated iPod/iPhone dock and a power outlet for notebooks, and there's one with built-in stereo speakers. Read More
— Games

MIT releases time-bending, relativistic clusterfuddle of a game

A bite-sized computer game exploring the effects of Einstein's special theory of relativity is the first output from the MIT Game Lab made available online. In A Slower Speed of Light, the player navigates a seemingly rudimentary 3D environment with the goal of collecting 100 orbs. Thing is, each orb slows down the speed of light until, by the 90th or so orb, it has slowed almost to walking pace. The slower light travels, the trippier the effects, and the more taxing the game becomes. Read More
— Science

Israeli scientists find way to see through frosted glass

Taking a shower while secure in the knowledge that no one can see through the curtains may soon be a thing of the past. Researchers Ori Katz, Eran Small and Yaron Silberberg of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, have developed a method for de-scattering light to form coherent images in real time. In other words, they have found a way to look through shower curtains, frosted glass and other image-blurring materials. The technique may one day aid scientists in seeing through living tissue or around corners. Read More
— Urban Transport

Xfire system projects a bike lane onto the road

A lot of people won’t ride a bicycle on city streets because they’re scared that a vehicle will run into them. This fear certainly isn’t helped by the many drivers who unknowingly get dangerously close to cyclists while driving alongside them. Xfire’s Bike Lane Safety Light is designed to address that problem by using lasers to project a virtual bike lane on the road around the bike. Read More
— Robotics

Light-activated skeletal muscle “blurs the boundary between nature and machines”

In Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s 1972 novel Rendezvous with Rama, the explorers of a seemingly deserted alien spaceship passing through our Solar System encounter a strange three-legged creature that turns out to be an organic robot. In the ‘70s, this seemed so incredible that it could only be the product of an alien civilization thousands of years ahead of us. In 2012, scientists at MIT and the University of Pennsylvania are proving otherwise by starting work on organic robots here on Earth. Using genetically engineered muscle tissue that responds to light, they are blurring the line between animal and machine at the cellular level. Read More
— Science

Scientists use light to alter properties of high temperature superconductors

When people have a difficult problem they often talk about “shining a light on it.” Creating and controlling high-temperature superconductors has been a problem for scientists and engineers for over two decades. Now, Yoram Dagan, a professor at Tel Aviv University's (TAU) Department of Physics and Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, has made a breakthrough in superconductors by literally shining a light on them. By doing this, he is able to control their properties. Read More
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