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Optical

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

The bright green wings of the P. blumei butterfly result from the mixing of the different ...

Counterfeiting is a crime as old as money itself. It causes a reduction in the value of real money and can add to company losses, as they are not reimbursed for counterfeits. In 1996 Australia became the first country to have a full series of circulating polymer banknotes, which are difficult to counterfeit because they cannot be successfully reproduced by photocopying or scanning. Now scientists have discovered a way of mimicking the stunningly bright and beautiful colors found on the wings of tropical butterflies, that could help make banknotes and credit cards even harder to forge.  Read More

Synthetic cornea offers hope to thousands

Donor corneas are extremely rare, but for 40,000 people in Europe corneal transplantation from donors offer the only hope of addressing blindness in one or both eyes. That was, until Dr. Joachim Storsberg of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm created the first artificial cornea.  Read More

First germanium laser could pave way for optical computers

One of the issues of current chip design is the excessive power needed to transport and store ever increasing amounts of data. A possible solution is to use optics not just for sending data, but also to store information and perform calculations, which would reduce heat dissipation and increase operating speeds. Disproving previous beliefs in the matter, MIT researchers have demonstrated the first laser built from germanium which can perform optical communications... and it's also cheap to manufacture.  Read More

The Fujifilm FinePix XP10

Fujifilm has announced a host of upcoming digital camera releases, the most notable among them being the FinePix HS10 which packs 30X optical zoom and HD 1080p video at 30fps. The sophisticated bridge camera features a 10MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor with Triple Image Stabilization, can capture up to 10fps at full resolution and offers an impressive choice of shooting modes.  Read More

Panasonic's LUMIX DMC-ZR3 14.1Mp compact digital camera

Panasonic has revealed a new addition to its LUMIX family of cameras, the DMC-ZR3 slim compact digital. The successor to the ZR1, optical zoom has been boosted to eight times, the addition of AVCHD Lite video should extend recording time, the pixel count now stands at 14 megapixels and it supports the new SDXC card format.  Read More

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