Tag Archive: science fiction

  1. How do touch screens work?

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    r1121289_13728340Touch screens are everywhere.  You swipe your finger across a screen and magic happens, but that magic is really technology.

    I find a lot of interesting stories on ABC Science, including this one on how touch screens work.

    Touch screens have totally changed the way we use mobile phones. But how does wiping your finger on a glass screen make things happen inside your phone?

    By Bernie Hobbs

    Don’t be fooled by the mild-mannered glass surface; you’re poking your finger fair smack into an electric field or two when you swipe your phone.

    Touch screens on phones and tablets really have the X factor. Being able to text, phone or film something just by swiping your finger on glass almost makes up for all those other failed sci-fi promises of the 60s.

    But considering how futuristic touch screens seem, they rely on a bit of physics that’s almost as old as Newton — capacitance — and the fact that your finger is three parts salty water.

    If you stick your finger on a regular piece of glass, the most you can hope for is a smudge.

    Read more here.

  2. Advanced Polymer GRIN Optics Lens Mimics Human Eye

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    Celebrity City

    Science fiction fans are familiar with Steve Austin and Geordi LaForge.  CLiPS researchers have been working in areas that previously might have been viewed as science fiction with the development of an optical lens that mimics the way human eye lenses work. This research may lead to more natural acting implantable lenses, as well as providing applications for optical equipment and surveillance technology.

    GRIN lens

    A recent article in Optics Express described research coming out of CLiPS technology that has led to advanced polymer, multi-layered lenses.  This article published online by The Optical Society describes the research and its potential, quoted here in part:

    “The research team’s new approach was to follow nature’s example and build a lens by stacking thousands and thousands of nanoscale layers, each with slightly different optical properties, to produce a lens that gradually varies its refractive index, which adjusts the refractive properties of the polymer.”

    This story was picked up by UPI and, understandably, has generated a great deal of interest both in the technical and popular press.

    Click HERE for more information about CLiPS research; and HERE to learn more about the GRIN lenses.