[Dino] celebrates the 131st anniversary of the Photophone

photophone_demonstration

[Dino Segovis] wrote in to share yet another installment of his Hack a Week series, though this one is quite timely.

It was 131 years ago today that [Alexander Graham Bell] unveiled the Photophone to the world. A precursor to fiber optic technology, [Bell’s] incredibly important invention can be easily replicated in your garage, as [Dino] shows us.

The original Photophone was constructed using a megaphone and crystalline selenium cells at the focal point of the receiver, however this version can be made with easy to obtain parts. [Dino] rigged his laptop up to a speaker on which he mounted a mirror, before setting it out in the sun. The vibrations of the mirror modulate the sunlight, reflecting it onto a solar cell positioned at the end of a long, black PVC tube. The solar cell’s leads are fed into an amplifier followed by a speaker, which broadcasts the audio.

The demonstration goes off without a hitch, and while some might be underwhelmed by the technolgy, imagine how incredible it would have looked 131 years ago!

24 thoughts on “[Dino] celebrates the 131st anniversary of the Photophone

  1. Underwhelmed?! It still never ceases to amaze me just how amazing some of this stuff is. We live in the future.

  2. He didn’t invent the Bell
    I know lots of people with the surname Bell and none of them invented anything Bell related
    Maybe its just a coincidence?
    yep thought so get over it

  3. @pff – “I know lots of lots of people with the surname Bell and none of them invented anything Bell related”…

    Are you wearing a lab-coat and occasionally consulting notes on a clipboard whilst speaking in a flat Germanic monotone?

  4. Graham Bell was way way way way way ahead of his time, I wonder what he would be inventing if he was alive today?

  5. Well, you diss me, I kick back! – Simples : )

    (My riposte was an allusion to the film cliche of the Logic-Driven Nazi Scientist who knows everything except humanity, kindness & humour – Yep – a bit extreme – din really mean it at all – jus kidding – all the best to you now!)

  6. @Dino Yes, it shows relevant patent but there are a bunch of those and with various dates and on various aspects of the concept, so a single link to a single patent would not do.
    And besides, it’s google that provides the patent reading interface so it’s google anyway if I did a direct link to a specific one.

  7. “He didn’t invent the Bell
    I know lots of people with the surname Bell and none of them invented anything Bell related
    Maybe its just a coincidence?
    yep thought so get over it”

    Last names usually indicate the family profession. His family most likely at some point made bells for a living, not that they invented them.

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