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The eyeball camera connected to a custom made syringe for varying the  the curvatures of t...

Researchers have used the human eye as inspiration for a new type of camera that boasts the simple lens system of the eye, but features the variable zoom capability of a single-lens reflex (SLR) camera without the bulk and weight of a complex lens system. As a result, the “eyeball camera” measures less than an inch in diameter, is inexpensive to make and should be suited to a variety of applications, including night-vision surveillance, robotic vision systems, endoscopic imaging and consumer electronics.  Read More

PixelOptics' emPower! electronic focusing glasses

We have previously reported on the development of prototype adaptive focus glasses at the University of Arizona (UA) that were able to switch focus electronically. Unlike manually adjustable focus glasses, such as TruFocals, that place a flexible liquid lens between two rigid lenses, the lenses of the prototype glasses consisted of a layer of liquid crystals sandwiched between two pieces of glass. By applying an electric charge, the orientation of the liquid crystals – and therefore the optical path length through the lens – was able to be changed, resulting in glasses that changed focus electronically. This technology is now on its way to consumers with PixelOptics showing its emPower! glasses at CES 2011.  Read More

The liquid pistons are comprised of droplets of nanoparticle-infused ferrofluids (Image: R...

Researchers at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute have developed "liquid pistons" that could be suited to a variety of applications. Using electromagnets the liquid pistons, which are highly tunable, scalable and have no solid moving parts, can function as pumps for lab-on-a-chip systems or could be used for adaptive lenses in future mobile phone cameras and implantable lenses.  Read More

Samsung's design for a liquid zoom lens uses two liquid lenses stacked together (Image: fr...

Samsung has filed a patent for a new type of liquid lens that provides not only autofocus capability, but also true optical zoom capability. Liquid lenses, with their small form factor and lack of motors or moving parts, are ideal for use in compact cameras, phones, and other mobile devices. Where a conventional liquid lens may provide only autofocus, Samsung’s design uses two separately controllable liquid lenses in a single array to provide both functions.  Read More

The 3D-Spheric-Mouse from axsotic offers digital artists one-handed, high resolution manip...

Digital artists working in a three-dimensional graphic environment may find current input peripherals a little restricting. Before the creative juices can be let loose, the workspace needs to be moved, zoomed and rotated to the correct position for work to start. Then it's a case of repeatedly stopping to reposition before being able to apply just the right amount of texture, tone or shadow. The 3D-Spheric-Mouse from axsotic promises to make things a little easier by allowing for one-handed rotation and movement of the virtual object over six axes. Job done!  Read More

TruFocals can be instantly focused by the user, thanks to flexible lenses

If you wear bifocal or even trifocal eyeglasses, then you will know what a hassle it can be having to tilt your head up to see things that are nearby. The areas of image softness or distortion can also be distracting, and even cause nausea or headaches in some users. Using multiple pairs of single-vision glasses gets you around these problems, but introduces the problem of... well, of carrying around and using multiple pairs of glasses. TruFocals, however, allow users to wear one pair of glasses for near-, far- and mid-vision, without having different focal areas within the same lens at the same time. Instead, users actually focus the glasses by hand, not unlike a pair of binoculars.  Read More

Raizan and team used optical tweezers to suspend the bead and observe Brownian motion for ...

Einstein said it couldn't be done. But more than one hundred years later physicists at the University of Texas at Austin have finally found a way to witness “Brownian motion”; the instantaneous velocity of tiny particles as they vibrate. The “equipartition theorem” states that a particle's kinetic energy, that due to motion, is determined only by its temperature and not its size or mass, and in 1907 Einstein proposed a test to observe the velocity of Brownian motion but gave up, saying the experiment would never be possible – not so.  Read More

Georgia Tech's David Roberts with one of the laser testing glass boards

Traditionally, when someone wished to measure the total power delivered by a laser beam, they had to use something called a ball calorimeter. As the laser heated the interior of the ball, temperature readings would be taken. Now, however, a system has been created that utilizes reusable glass boards. It can measure a laser's total energy along with the total power and power density anywhere inside the beam more than one hundred times per second. It should be a boon to developers of high-energy laser weapons, as it will reduce the time required for testing, and get the weapons in the field faster.  Read More

Intel engineer, Dr. Mario Paniccia, holds the thin optical fiber used to carry data from o...

Today’s computer components are connected to each other using copper cables or traces on circuit boards. Due to the signal degradation that comes with using metals such as copper to transmit data, these cables have a limited maximum length. This limits the design of computers, forcing processors, memory and other components to be placed just inches from each other. Intel has announced an important breakthrough that could see light beams replace the use of electrons to carry data in and around computers, enabling data to move over much longer distances and at speeds many times faster than today’s copper technology.  Read More

One of the Fraunhofer fiber optic films

LEDs... is there anything they can’t do? Well yes, actually, there is. They can’t be something other than a point light source. That’s not ideal when it comes to flat – and increasingly thin – displays such as television and cell phone screens. How does one go about converting that three-dimensional point light source into a two-dimensional display, without losing much of its intensity? The answer could be found in a new machine that efficiently and inexpensively produces fiber optic film sheets.  Read More

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