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Lytro's consumer light field camera, which allows users to adjust a photograph's focus aft...

So, you’re looking at that one photo you took, and wishing that the flower in the foreground was in focus instead of the person behind it? Well it’s no big deal, just go in and shift the focus. Oh yeah, that’s right, you can’t ... but you will be able to soon. California-based Lytro, Inc. announced today that its consumer light field camera is now available for preorder, and should be shipping early next year. It is the first camera of its kind made for the general public.  Read More

Cornell researchers have demonstrated a working temporal cloak that creates a gap in the f...

Last year researchers at Imperial College London proposed that along with being used to cloak physical objects metamaterials could also be used to cloak a singular event in time. A year later, researchers from Cornell University have demonstrated a working "temporal cloak" that is able to conceal a burst of light as if it had never occurred.  Read More

The idea of matter traveling faster than light may no longer be limited to the realm of sc...

According to Einstein’s restricted theory of relativity, nothing can travel faster than light in a vacuum. Up until today, that had pretty much seemed to be the case, too. Early this morning, however, researchers from the Geneva-based OPERA project announced that the results from one of their recent experiments indicate that neutrinos can in fact outrun light particles.  Read More

Scientists have developed heart tissue that contracts when exposed to light, which could p...

There's no denying that pacemakers are life-saving devices, but they do have their limitations. These include the facts that their metal leads can break, they need to be surgically accessed if their batteries run out, and they can be disrupted by strong magnetic fields. Some or all of these problems may one day become things of the past, however, due to research currently being conducted at New York's Stony Brook University - scientists there are working towards the development of pacemakers that control the heart through pulses of light.  Read More

The Beep-It optical theremin produces eerie tones when exposed to various light sources

If you’ve ever heard the eerie electronic music at the beginning of a 1950s science fiction movie (The Day the Earth Stood Still, for example), then you’ve heard a theremin. Invented in Russia in the 1920s, the instrument is unique, in that the person playing it doesn’t touch it at all. Instead, they move their hands around its two antennas, causing it to emit different sounds by altering radio frequencies that the machine emits. Although still used by some modern musicians, theremins can be a little pricey, and somewhat difficult to master. That’s where the $35 Beep-It optical theremin comes in.  Read More

An experimental energy-saving streetlight system automatically dims the lights when no peo...

Of all the energy-saving tips out there, probably the one we hear most often is to not leave lights on when we leave a room. It’s good advice, yet cities around the world are not following it in one key way – their streetlights stay on all night long, even when no one is on the street. The Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology is experimenting with a new streetlight system on its campus, however, in which motion sensor-equipped streetlights dim to 20 percent power when no people or moving vehicles are near them. The system is said to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent, plus it lowers maintenance costs and reduces light pollution.  Read More

A newly-developed optical amplifier is said to allow fiber optic signals to travel four ti...

As the amount of information being electronically shuttled around the planet continues to grow, so does the need for effective means of relaying it. The use of optical fibers has definitely helped in that regard, although thanks to a recent breakthrough at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, optical fiber signals may soon be able to travel four times farther than they are presently able to. Researchers there have created an optical amplifier, capable of amplifying light while maintaining a relatively noise-free signal.  Read More

Huey the Color Copying Chameleon Lamp identifies any color that it's placed on, then glows...

Suppose you just love the sage green color of your new desk blotter, and think “If only I could instantly make my whole office this color.” Well, now you can ... sort of. The designers over at ThinkGeek have created a gizmo called Huey the Color Copying Chameleon Lamp, that automatically “reads” any color that it’s placed upon, then glows in that color.  Read More

A new discovery by U-M researchers could see energy from the sun harnessed without solar c...

It has long been thought that, even though light has electric and magnetic components, the effects of the magnetic field are so weak that they could effectively be ignored. Now researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) have discovered that under the right conditions, a light field can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than previously expected. The researchers say the discovery paves the way for the creation of an "optical battery" that could harness power from the sun without the use of solar cells.  Read More

Scientists have created a new type of fiber optic cable with a zinc selenide core, that is...

Fiber optic cables can transmit over a terabyte of information per second – but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t room for improvement. One of those improvements, which was officially announced today, involves replacing the silica glass core of fiber optic strands with semiconductive zinc selenide. This new class of fiber optics, invented and created at Penn State University, is said to “allow for a more effective and liberal manipulation of light.” The technology could have applications in the fields of medicine, defense, and environmental monitoring.  Read More

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