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Optical


— Good Thinking

Non-glare nanotextured multifunctional glass repels water and dust

Glass has a unique look - despite its clarity you can tell there is a material there by the way it reflects light, and that it isn't plastic or crystal. Glass, however, carries problems, like glare, fogging, and collects dirt. A group of MIT researchers has found a new way to create arrays of conical micron-scale surface nanotextures to produce glass that is self-cleaning, non-glare, and non-fogging. The researchers believe the nanotextured surface can be made at low enough cost to be applied to optical devices, the screens of smartphones and televisions, solar panels, car windshields and even windows in buildings. Read More
— Military

BAE Systems to provide new helmet display for F-35 pilots

When it enters service, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter will lay claim to the title of the most advanced warplane in the world. Its pilots will have the most advanced helmets as well ... and there's more to it than protecting the pilot's head against knocks. Unfortunately, the gap between designing the helmet and building it has proven wider than originally thought and issues such as poor image quality are so severe that the F35's testing program faces serious delays, so F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin brought in BAE Systems to provide a substitute. Read More
— Science

GelSight allows for portable 3D super-high-resolution imaging

Typically, if someone wishes to obtain three-dimensional images of micrometer-scale objects, they need to use a device such as a confocal microscope or a white-light interferometer. Such equipment is big, expensive, and often has to be mounted on a vibration-free table. Even then, it can take up to a few hours to get the finished images. Scientists at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, however, have created a system that can obtain the same kind of images almost instantly, using a soda can-sized sensor and a sheet of rubber. It’s called GelSight. Read More
— Music

Beep-It optical theremin - for budget weird music

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
— Around The Home

'First-ever' permanent anti-fog coating developed

Tired of your glasses fogging up on cold days, or of having to spit in your dive mask before putting it on? Those hassles may become a thing of the past, as researchers from Quebec City’s Université Laval have developed what they claim is the world’s first permanent anti-fog coating. Just one application is said to work indefinitely on eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses, or any other transparent glass or plastic surface. Read More
— Medical

Disposable endoscopic camera is the size of a grain of salt

Tiny video cameras mounted on the end of long thin fiber optic cables, commonly known as endoscopes, have proven invaluable to doctors and researchers wishing to peer inside the human body. Endoscopes can be rather pricey, however, and like anything else that gets put inside peoples’ bodies, need to be sanitized after each use. A newly-developed type of endoscope is claimed to address those drawbacks by being so inexpensive to produce that it can be thrown away after each use. Not only that, but it also features what is likely the world’s smallest complete video camera, which is just one cubic millimeter in size. Read More
— Science

University of Manchester unveils world's most powerful optical microscope

Scientists from the University of Manchester have announced the development of the world's most powerful optical microscope. Called the "microsphere nanoscope," the device captures non-diffracted near-field virtual images that are amplified via silica glass microspheres, which are tiny optically-transparent spherical particles. Those images are then relayed and further amplified by a standard optical microscope. The nanoscope reportedly allows users to see objects as small as 50 nanometers under normal lighting – this is 20 times smaller than what conventional optical microscopes can manage, and is in fact said to be beyond the theoretical limits of optical microscopy. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Researchers develop eyeball camera with zoom capabilities

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
— Wearable Electronics

PixelOptics to launch 'world's first electronic focusing eyewear'

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
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