The Engineering Guy explains fiber optics

engineering_guy_fiber_optics

[Bill the “Engineer Guy” Hammack] is back with another lesson in the science behind the technology we know and love, but might not fully understand. This time around he discusses fiber optic cabling and how it is used to relay data across distances both small and large.

He starts off by showing how laser light can be easily transmitted from one end of an audio-grade fiber optic cable to the other. To show us how this is accomplished, he sets up a simple table top demonstration involving a bucket, some propylene glycol, and a green laser pointer. The bucket has been modified to include a clear window at one side and a spout at the other. The laser is carefully lined up, and when the spout is unplugged, a steady stream of propylene glycol is released into a second bucket. As [Bill] explains, the laser stays within the stream of fluid due to total internal reflection, and can be seen shining in the second bucket.

[Bill] also discusses how fiber optics were employed in the first transatlantic telecommunications cable, as well as how pulse code modulation was used to send analog voice data over the undersea digital link.

As always, [Bill’s] video is as entertaining as it is enlightening, so be sure to check it out below.

Continue reading “The Engineering Guy explains fiber optics”

Laser microscope projection

looks totally safe to me

Ok, we’ll start this off by saying, looking at lasers can damage your eyes. Be careful. Now that we’ve got that absolutely clear, we couldn’t help but find this super quick and dirty laser microscope fascinating. Basically, they are just pointing a laser through a drop of water suspended from the tip of a syringe. The image of the contents of the drop are projected on a nearby wall. The drop seen in the video after the break was taken from a potted plant and you can see all kinds of life squirming around in there. Just don’t try it with this laser.

[via HackedGadgets]

Continue reading “Laser microscope projection”

Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition 2010 Day Two Report

Culture Shock II, a robot by the Lawrence Tech team, first caught our eye due to its unique drive train. Upon further investigation we found a very well built robot with a ton of unique features.

The first thing we noticed about CultureShockII are the giant 36″ wheels. The wheel assemblies are actually unicycles modified to be driven by the geared motors on the bottom. The reason such large wheels were chosen was to keep the center of gravity well below the axle, providing a very self stabilizing robot. The robot also has two casters with a suspension system to act as dampers and stabilizers in the case of shocks and inclines. Pictured Below. Continue reading “Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition 2010 Day Two Report”

Das Uber Airsoft Gun Turret


Hot on the heels of the Wii missile launcher, Das Uber Airsoft Gun Turret is here to put our past airsoft turrets to shame. Made by [Miltron_B], this autonomous beast not only has gorgeous LED indicators, it has lasers. Three of them. Three freaking lasers. Take a moment to wipe the drool from your chin.

We’ve seen plenty of turrets before, but this one really excels in design. It features two webcams for more precision detection and tracking and when set to manual mode, it can be controlled with an XBox 360 controller. He’s posted great pictures of the process with a step by step break down. Tons of useful links are included to help you out.

Someone should construct a Portal sentry gun case for this thing and add voice clips.

RGB laser diode projector


[fl-consult] published this interesting RGB laser diode projector. The build uses three lasers, 532nm green, 660nm red and a 405nm blue diode from an XBox 360 HD-DVD drive. Aside from the salvaged diodes, it uses some off the shelf hardware to power and scan the lasers to make the display. Details are a bit lacking, but google translate helps a bit. If you’re not quite sure what’s going on: the three lasers bounce off of a set of mirrors that scan from side to side as well as up and down to create images.

HP Color LaserJet 2600n teardown


In the ongoing quest to find parts for new projects by scavenging old devices, the curiously sane and benevolent team at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories took apart an HP Color LaserJet 2600n. They wanted to see what makes it tick and what parts can be culled from it for later use.

Continue reading “HP Color LaserJet 2600n teardown”