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Optical

The AirMouse wearable mouse

It’s no secret... Studies have shown that excessive mouse usage can cause repetitive stress injuries. Unfortunately for most of us, “excessive” can mean anything more than a few hours a day. Fortunately, however, there are alternative styles of mice out there designed to be easier on the hands and arms. One of the more interesting ones to come along in a while is the AirMouse, made by Canadian firm Deanmark Ltd. What makes it unique is the fact that you wear it like a glove.  Read More

The Kodak Slice Touchscreen camera combines a 2GB internal memory with facial recognition ...

No longer just a device intended to capture images, the digital camera becomes a veritable pocket photo album with the latest offering from Kodak, the Slice Touchscreen. Featuring a 3.5” LCD touchscreen 5X optical zoom and 14MP resolution, the Slice also packs a 2GB internal memory with tagging functionality. This not only recognizes up to 20 faces allowing the user to tag photos by person, place, date or occasion, but also lets the user tag photos for easy uploading to sites like Flickr and Facebook.  Read More

Sustail mouse concept needs the user to provide power by winding the mechanism

Designer Ahmet Bektes is proposing using centuries-old technology to provide the power for a familiar modern device. Rather than drawing energy from a computer or batteries, a user will need to remove a key from below the Sustail mouse and wind it up before being able to use it. It is hoped that the Bluetooth-connected input device would also encourage users to take regular breaks and have a more responsible attitude towards power consumption.  Read More

A laboratory mockup of a thin-screen LCD display with built-in optical sensors (Photo: Mat...

The gestural interface used by Tom Cruise in the movie Minority Report was based on work by MIT Media Lab’s Hiroshi Ishii, who has already commercialized similar large-scale gestural interface systems. However, such systems comprise many expensive cameras or require the user to wear tracking devices on their fingers. To develop a similar yet cost effective gestural interface system that is within reach of many more people other researchers at MIT have instead been working to develop screens with embedded optical sensors to track the movement of the user’s fingers that could quickly make touch screens seem outdated.  Read More

Scientists at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have devised a way to squeeze light b...

Scientists at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have put the squeeze on light. By discovering that light within optical fibers can be squeezed into much tighter spaces than was previously believed possible, the researchers at the University's Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) have claimed a breakthrough that could change the world's thinking on light’s capabilities, especially when it comes to its use in telecommunications, such as fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), computing and other light sources.  Read More

A bump on the metallic floor is hidden, but the cloak itself is visible due to surface ref...

Over the last few years we’ve covered the development of “invisibility cloaks” using metamaterials – man-made structured composite materials exhibiting optical properties not found in nature that can guide light to achieve cloaking and other optical effects. In 2006, scientists at Duke University demonstrated in the laboratory that an object made of metamaterials can be partially invisible to particular wavelengths of light - not visible light, but rather microwaves. A few groups have even managed to achieve a microscopically-sized carpet-cloak. Now researchers have developed software that can show what such a cloaked object will actually look like.  Read More

An image from the orbiting Hyperspectral Remote Sensor (HRS)

Combining sophisticated sensors in orbit with sensors on the ground and in the air has led researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) to create a “Hyperspectral Remote Sensor” (HRS) that can give advance warnings about water contamination after a forest fire, alert authorities of a pollution spill long before a red flag is raised on Earth, or inform the population where a monsoon will strike.  Read More

The principle of optical Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (oOFDM)

A new technology that applies the same principles used by ADSL to improve the capacity of data transfer over copper and wireless broadband could potentially increase the data capacity of optical fiber cables tenfold. It’s creators say the technology, known as optical Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (oOFDM), offers an inexpensive way drastically boost the capacity of increasingly strained broadband networks and improve download times around the world.  Read More

MIT researchers have found a way to make light travel  one-way without reflections in a lo...

Light normally bounces off obstacles in its way, and the part of the beam that is reflected back and captured by our eyes contributes to our perception of the world around us. However, every reflection dissipates a small part of the beam's energy, and can eventually weaken it significantly. A team of MIT researchers have developed an innovative waveguide that allows microwave light to travel one way only and without reflections, paving the way to much more efficient lightwave circuits and connections.  Read More

A section of a butterfly wing under a microscope (Photo: PSU/SINC)

Researchers have developed a technique to replicate biological structures, such as butterfly wings, on a nano scale. They focused on the tiny nano-sized photonic structures that are found in the insects’ cuticle, and which give insects their iridescence - that slightly metallic sheen that also seems to shift in color depending on the viewing angle. By replicating the biotemplate of butterfly wings, the researchers hope to be able to make various optically-active structures, such as optical diffusers or coverings that maximize solar cell absorption.  Read More

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