The goalie mask, at least the retro-styled fiberglass types from the 60s and 70s, hasn’t been used in hockey for about 50 years — it’s instead made many more appearances in horror movies than on ice rinks. Since then, though, there’s been very little innovation surrounding the goalie mask even though there’s much more modern technology that could theoretically give them even greater visibility. [Surjan Singh] is hoping to use his engineering and hockey backgrounds to finally drive some improvements.
The “uncage” is based on Dyneema thread, a polyethylene fiber known for its strength and durability. It’s often used in applications that demand high strength with minimal weight, such as for sails or backpacking equipment. Using strands of Dyneema woven through a metal support structure is what gives this mask its high strength while also improving the visibility through it dramatically. [Surjan] has been prototyping this design extensively, as there were some issues with the fibers chafing on attachment points on the metal frame, but most of these issues have been ironed out or are being worked on currently.
In the meantime, [Surjan] has been looking for a professional-level goalie to help refine his design further and does seem to have some interest, but it doesn’t seem to have progressed past testing in the more controlled test environments yet. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine this as the future of goalie masks in professional hockey though since some innovation after 50 years of relative stagnation seems to be due. For something more accessible to those of us not currently playing in the NHL, though, you can wheel, snipe, and celly on this air hockey table instead.
Continue reading “The Goalie Mask, Reenvisioned”
Lasers are known for the monochromatic nature of their light, so much so that you might never have thought there could be such a thing as a white laser. But in the weird world of physics, a lot of things that seem impossible aren’t really, as demonstrated by this dirt-cheap supercontinuum laser.
Of course, we’re not experts on lasers, and certainly not on non-linear optics, so we’ll rely on [Les Wright]’s video below to explain what’s going on here. Basically, a “supercontinuum” is just the conversion of a monochromatic source to a broader spectral bandwidth. It’s a non-linear optical process that’s usually accomplished with expensive bits of kit, like photonic crystal fibers, which are optical fibers with an array of tiny air-filled holes running down their lengths. Blast a high-intensity monochromatic laser down one end, and white light comes out the other end.
Such fibers are obviously fantastically expensive, so [Les] looked back in the literature and found that a simple silica glass single-mode fiber could be used to produce a supercontinuum. As luck would have it, he had been experimenting with telecom fibers recently, so along with a nitrogen laser he recovered from a Dumpster, he had pretty much everything he needed. The final setup uses the UV laser to pump a stilbene dye laser, which shoots a powerful pulse of 426 nanometer light into about 200 meters of fiber, and produces a gorgeous supercontinuum containing light from 430 nm to 670 nm — pretty much the entire visible spectrum.
It’s great to see projects like this that leverage low-cost, easy-to-source equipment to explore esoteric physics concepts.
Continue reading “A White-Light Laser, On The Cheap”
It’s a rare person who can pick up a cheap laser pointer and not wield it like a lightsaber or a phaser, complete with sound effects. There’s just something about the “pew-pew” factor that makes projecting a laser beam fun, even if it’s not the safest thing to do, or the most efficient way to the light from one place to another.
We suspect that [Les Wright] has pew-pewed his way through more than a few laser projects in his lab, including his latest experiments with fiber coupling of lasers. The video below is chock full of tips on connecting cheap communications-grade fiber assemblies, which despite their standardized terminations aren’t always easy to use with his collection of lasers. Part of the challenge is that the optical fiber inside the cladding is often very small — as few as 9 microns. That’s a small target to hit without some alignment help, which [Les] uses a range of hacks to accomplish.
The meat of the video demonstrates how to use a cheap fiber fault locator and a simple optical bench setup to precisely align any laser with an optical fiber. A pair of adjustable mirrors allow him to overlap the beams of the fault locator and the target laser precisely. The effects can be interesting; we had no idea comms-grade fiber could leak as much light through the cladding as this, and the bend-radius limits are pretty dramatically illustrated. [Les] teases some practical sensing applications for this in a follow-up video, which we’re looking forward to.
Looking for more laser fun with your remaining eye? Check out [Marco Reps] teardown of a 200-kW fiber laser.
Continue reading “Properly Pipe Laser Light Around With Homebrew Fiber Couplings”
What’s this? News about robot dogs comes out, and there’s no video of the bots busting a move on the dance floor? Nope — it looks like quadruped robots are finally going to work for real as “ground drones” are being deployed to patrol Cape Canaveral. Rather than the familiar and friendly Boston Dynamics “Big Dog” robot, the US Space Force went with Ghost Robotics Vision 60 Q-UGVs, or “quadruped unmanned ground vehicles.” The bots share the same basic layout as Big Dog but have a decidedly more robust appearance, and are somehow more sinister. The dogs are IP67-rated for all-weather use, and will be deployed for “damage assessments and patrols,” whatever that means. Although since this is the same dog that has had a gun mounted to it, we’d be careful not to stray too far from the tours at Kennedy Space Center.
Continue reading “Hackaday Links: August 14, 2022”
For a quick file transfer between two computers, SCP is a fine program to use. For more complex, large, or regular backups, however, the go-to tool is rsync. It’s faster, more efficient, and usable in a wider range of circumstances. For all its perks, [Michael Stapelberg] felt that it had one major weakness: it is a tool written in C. [Michael] is philosophically opposed to programs written in C, so he set out to implement rsync from scratch in Go instead.
[Michael]’s path to deciding to tackle this project is a complicated one. His ISP upgraded his internet connection to 25 Gbit/s recently, which means that his custom router was the bottleneck in his network. To solve that problem he migrated his router to a PC with several 25 Gbit/s network cards. To take full advantage of the speed now theoretically available, he began using a tool called gokrazy, which turns applications written in Go into their own appliance. That means that instead of installing a full Linux distribution to handle specific tasks (like a router, for example), the only thing loaded on the computer is essentially the Linux kernel, the Go compiler and libraries, and then the Go application itself.
With a new router with hardware capable of supporting these fast speeds and only running software written in Go, the last step was finally to build rsync to support his tasks on his network. This meant that rsync itself needed to be built from scratch in Go. Once [Michael] completed this final task, he found that his implementation of rsync is actually much faster than the version built in C, thanks to the modernization found in the Go language and the fact that his router isn’t running all of the cruft associated with a standard Linux distribution.
For a software project of this scope, we find [Michael]’s step-by-step process worth taking note of for any problem any of us attempt to tackle. Not only that, refactoring a foundational tool like rsync is an involved task on its own, let alone its creation simply to increase network speeds beyond what most of us would already consider blazingly fast. We’re leaving out a ton of details on this build so we definitely recommend checking out his talk in the video below.
Thanks to [sarinkhan] for the tip!
Continue reading “Building Faster Rsync From Scratch In Go”
These days, we’re blessed with wired and wireless networks that can carry huge amounts of data in the blink of an eye. However, some areas are underprovisioned with bandwidth, such as Schmallenberg-Oberkirchen in Germany. There, reporters ran a test last December to see which would be faster: the Internet, or a horse?
The long and the short of it is that Germany faces issues with disparate Internet speeds across the country. Some areas are well-served by high-speed fiber services. However, others deemed less important by the free market struggle on with ancient copper phone lines and subsequently, experience lower speeds.
Thus, the experiment kicked off from the house of photographer [Klaus-Peter Kappest], who started an Internet transfer of 4.5GB of photos over the Internet. At the same time, a DVD was handed to messengers riding on horseback to the destination 10 kilometers away. The horses won the day, making the journey in about an hour, while the transfer over [Kappest’s] copper connection was still crawling along, only 61% complete.
Obviously, it’s a test that can be gamed quite easily. The Internet connection would have easily won over a greater distance, of course. Similarly, we’ve all heard the quote from [Andrew Tanenbaum]: “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.”
Notably, [Kappest’s] home actually had a fiber line sitting in the basement, but bureaucracy had stymied any attempts of his to get it connected. The stunt thus also served as a great way to draw attention to his plight, and that of others in Germany suffering with similar issues in this digital age.
Top speeds for data transfer continue to rise; an Australian research team set a record last year of 44.2 terabits per second. Naturally, the hard part is getting that technology rolled out across a country. Sound off below with the problems you’ve faced getting a solid connection to your home or office.
[Yoel Fink] and his team at MIT have announced their creation of a fiber that can sense and store data. In addition, they can use data from a shirt made of the material to infer the wearer’s activity with high accuracy. The fiber contains hundreds of microscale silicon chips into a preform used to create a polymer fiber that connects the chips using four 25 micron tungsten wires. You can read the paper directly in Nature Communications.
The fiber contains temperature sensors and enough memory (24CW1280X chips) to store a short movie for two months without power. It also contains 1,650 neural network elements, which means the fiber can train to infer activity itself without additional help.
Continue reading “At MIT, Clothing Fiber Watches You”