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Light

Hyperspace as depicted by popular movies and TV shows (Image: Shutterstock)

The two Star franchises (Wars and Trek) and countless science fiction movies have given generations of armchair space travelers an idea of what to expect when looking out the window of a spaceship making the jump to light speed. But it appears these views are – if you’ll excuse the pun – a bit warped. Four students from the University of Leicester have used Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity to calculate what Han and Chewie would actually see as they made the jump to hyperspace.  Read More

A Photuris firefly, which was the focus of the research (Photo: Optics Express)

Fireflies ... they’ve allowed us to image the bloodstream and they’ve inspired the creation of a light that could run on waste. Now, they’ve helped an international team of scientists get over 50 percent more light out of existing LED bulbs. The secret lies in the insects’ scales.  Read More

The colorful frame of Victor Vetterlein's 'BITE ME' desk lamp is made from edible bio-plas...

When it comes to a light meal, Victor Vetterlein's "BITE ME" desk lamp has got you covered. The body of the brightly colored creation is made from bio-plastic that can be safely consumed at the end of its useful life. If eating lamps doesn't start your digestive juices flowing, the frame can also be thrown in the compost. Either way, the rather attractive electronics strip can be peeled away from the body and re-used elsewhere.  Read More

Electrons bent into a circular path by moving through a magnetic field (Photo: Marcin Bial...

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

The Re-Timer resets the body's internal clock using green light

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

M&C Lighting has added two new models to its range of LED desk lamp which all feature inte...

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

A Slower Speed of Light

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

The Weizmann technique de-scatters light and makes frosted glass transparent

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

Xfire’s Bike Lane Safety Light in use

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

A recent study of gamma-ray bursts (that originate from the collapse of a massive star) fi...

A recent study of gamma-ray bursts by Professor Robert Nemiroff and his colleagues at Michigan Technological University provides the first strong evidence concerning the small-scale smoothness of spacetime. Oddly, this examination of the very small is accomplished by measuring a handful of gamma-rays after they traveled over ten billion light years.  Read More

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