In 1978, the 76477 Complex Sound Generation chip was foundational to creating the sound effects in many popular games, notably Space Invaders; it was also popular with hobbyists who could buy the chip at Radio Shack -- it could do minor miracles, tweaking a white noise generator to produce everything from drums to explosions, using an integrated digital mixer to layer and sequence these sounds. Read the rest
Physicists at BYU have demonstrated a volumetric projection system that works by using a laser to unevenly heat single cellulose molecules in order to shove them around in 3D space, then painting the positioned molecules with lasers that cause them to glow; by choreographic both sets of lasers, extremely high-resolution moving images can be attained. Read the rest
Triad's Omoshiro Block ("fun block") are blocks of notecards from architectural model company Triad that have been pre-scored by a laser-cutter so that the pages separate to leave behind -- and gradually reveal -- detailed, delicate and exquisite models of Japanese architectural landmarks. Read the rest
In the early days of TV, it was routine to tape over the recording medium after the initial air-date, which means that no video record exists of many of the pioneering moments in television. Read the rest
The 2,500-watt LaserSharp Denim HD Abrasion System adds precision wear-marks to fresh denim jeans to make them look sort-of worn-ish, making it the latest successor to acid-washing in the long battle to figure out how to make jeans look cool and authentically patina-ed without having to wear them every day for six months without washing them. (via Interconnected) Read the rest
In development for several years, the Photonic Fence is an anti-mosquito laser weapon that's apparently now being tested in a real world situation. I hope when it hits the market it still looks like a crazy contraption from a 1960s science fiction film! From the company site:
One potential use of the Photonic Fence is to create a virtual fence that detects insects as they cross its plane. When an invading insect is detected, our software is able to estimate the insect’s size and measure its wing beat frequency. Using this method, not only can the system distinguish between mosquitoes, butterflies, and bumblebees, but it can even determine whether a mosquito is male or female. This is important to know because only female mosquitos bite humans. Once the software establishes that the insect is a valid target, it tracks the mosquito in flight, runs a safety check to ensure no innocent bystanders are in view, and then activates a laser to zap the mosquito. The Photonic Fence could be set along the perimeter of clinics or other strategic areas to control mosquitoes without endangering humans or other animals.
From Wired UK:
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When Intellectual Ventures co-founder and former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold came up with the idea of a bug-killing fence in 2010, the intention was to use it to improve public health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, however, the Photonic Fence has become a commercial project with a particular target: the Asian citrus psyllid. This insect invader has reduced citrus production in Florida by at least 70 per cent over the last 15 years.
Eric Harshbarger's weird, laser-engraved dice are a tour-de-force: a pair of D6s for figuring out where to go for dinner in NYC; another D6 to figure out which die you should roll; an all-20s critical hit D20; Sicherman D6s that have different faces to a normal D6 pair, but the same probability distribution; punctuation mark dice (I've had students who were definitely using these); dice for indecisive people, and so on. Read the rest
Researchers at UC Riverside and Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada have published a paper describing their ongoing success in setting a "transparent nanocrystalline yttria-stabilized-zirconia" into patients' skulls, which reveal the patients' brains so that the patients' brains can be zapped with therapeutic lasers. Read the rest
Clive Roddy's Etsy store has a number of beautiful landscape rings made from stacked thicknesses of laser-cut birch, which you can mix and match -- there are houses, trees and mountains (there's also an acrylic tsunami). They're $24 each and ship from the UK.