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Light

— Telecommunications

10 Gbps Li-Fi system shows wireless data transfer in a new light

By - July 15, 2014 2 Pictures
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
— Electronics

"Smart glass" iris could bring greater quality and flexibility to smartphone cameras

By - June 19, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Space

Exoplanet-hunter SPHERE achieves first light

By - June 6, 2014 7 Pictures
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
— Electronics

WORM display lets you write with light

By - May 27, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Medical

LEDs may replace magnetism and radiation for neuroimaging

By - May 26, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Science

Crystal-forming microparticles could lead to color-changing tanks and planes

By - April 23, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Electronics

BAE Systems develops a flat lens that acts like it's curved

By - April 21, 2014 2 Pictures
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
— Good Thinking

Rooftop panels could bring more light to shady alleyways

By - April 14, 2014 3 Pictures
Everyone knows that downtown alleyways are dark at night, but even in the daytime, shadows cast by the tall buildings on either side can make them quite gloomy. While that might not matter much for little-used alleys, it's certainly a factor in cities where people live and work in them. That's why researchers from Egypt's Ain Shams University are developing a new type of panel that diverts sunlight from buildings' roofs down into the alleyways beside them. Read More
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