WHAT?! Cell Phone Camera Lenses!

If I haven’t seen it, it’s news to me!

I’ve been using my iPhone pretty much exclusively for images that I need in a hurry, or just images I want to take.  I do use my little point-and-shoot from time to time as well, but since some asshole thief stole my camera (and lenses) when I taught at Oklahoma City University, I’ve not had the bones to get a new one.  And then I come across THIS:

From PhotoJoJo:

Presenting three small yet powerful lenses: the Fisheye, Telephoto, and Macro/Wide Angle Cell Phone Lenses. These finely constructed lenses transform your standard phone photos into wide, up-close, super zoomed and wonderfully warped wonders.

They work with any camera phone (even the slick glass on your new iPhone 4!) and attaching them is easy breezy! A detachable magnetic ring sticks to your cell, providing a sturdy, shake-free hold between the lens and your phone.

The Wide Angle/Macro Lens is the perfect pairing. The removable Macro ring captures shocking high quality close-up detail while the Wide Angle Lens allows you to cram more into one shot. Perfect for video chatting or group shots.

The Fisheye Lens creates fun-tastic curved edges with a 180-degree angle that makes everyone look like they live in a plastic bubble (or a Beastie Boys music video).

Then there’s the latest addition to the phone lens family: the super handy Telephoto lens. It gives your little-phone-lens-that-could super duper 2x zooming powers. Look at you, paparazzi!

AWESOME!  FYI, PhotoJoJo didn’t pay me or ask me to post this, I just think it is awesome.  I am really considering ordering the set!  They’re basically $20 a pop ($25 for the Fisheye) or you can buy all three for $49, which saves you $16!

More pics, these things are cool as hell!

That’s right, stuck on a LAPTOP CAM!

After-Image Woman – Check It Out!

Alright, alright, this is the last optical illusion for a few days.  Otherwise, Brad Schiller is gonna be breaking down my door with a baseball bat!  [love you, sugar Brad!]

Ok – stare at the red dot on this woman’s schnoz for about a half a minute as hard as you can.  Once the 30 or so seconds are up, stare at something white.  Allow the flippage to ensue.  The longer you stare, the longer your vision has a chance to burn in, and the closer you stare at that red dot the better – try to get your eyes around 12″ away.

Is that not just totally f*cking trippy or WHAT?!  It’s called an afterimage.  it’s what happens when we over-stimulate our cones – they essentially go on break, and the cones around them, which aren’t overstimulated, kick into gear, allowing the brain to interpret the exact opposite of the image.

HAPPY THURSDAY MORNING!

Rotary Photon Drag Enhanced by a Slow-Light Medium. Right? Right.

Remember that scene in the Jody Foster movie called Contact when they got all of those drawings of “the machine?”  There was a part of the movie where Ellie realized that the images were encoded somehow, and the key to encoding them was by looking at them in three dimensions.  Remember that minute little detail?

I read an article on this just the other day, and after I read the entire article in the journal Science, I really want to share the gist of this thing with you all.  It totally reminds me of this for some reason.  I was explaining this all to a friend on Skype, and I got tired of typing, and then the researcher slice of my brain started going ape-sh**.  Pardon me.

First, read the abstract of the article written by Sonja Franke-Arnold (School of Physics and Astronomy (SUPA), University of Glasgow, Scotland), Graham Gibson and Robert W. Boyd (Department of Physics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada), and Miles J. Padgett (The Institute of Optics and Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY):

Transmission through a spinning window slightly rotates the polarization of the light, typically by a microradian. It has been predicted that the same mechanism should also rotate an image. Because this rotary photon drag has a contribution that is inversely proportional to the group velocity, the image rotation is expected to increase in a slow-light medium. Using a ruby window under conditions for coherent population oscillations, we induced an effective group index of about 1 million. The resulting rotation angle was large enough to be observed by the eye. This result shows that rotary photon drag applies to images as well as polarization. The possibility of switching between different rotation states may offer new opportunities for controlled image coding.

Ok, got it?  Yeah, read it a few times, but generally the concept of the experiment is pretty simple, and the results are very interesting!  What these folks were doing was shining a shaped, collimated beam of light through a spinning ruby disk rotating at a given speed – in this case a maximum of 30 cycles per second.  The ruby disk causes a bit of “drag” on the photons travelling through it, causing the light to refract and exhibit some interesting behavior.  Check out this little video, from the paper and from the journal Science:

to view the .MOV file, click here

Ruby has a heavy Index of Refraction, which means the light is slowed down (refracted) at a rate of X when it leaves the air and enters the ruby itself.  If you imagine the 1.0 value of the Index of Refraction as how light travels through regular ol’ air (and not taking into account humidity, pollution, or any of that schtuff), anything greater than 1.0 is refracting.  Diamond has an Index of Refraction of about 2.42, and Ruby’s Index of Refraction is about 1.77.  Ruby refracts less than diamond.  Make sense if you didn’t already get it?

Here’s the weird thing – Ruby is not what we consider isotropic – meaning that no matter what the incidence angle is and no matter what the orientation of the crystal is, the light travels through the crystalline matrix equally as it travels through the medium.  Glass, sodium chloride crystals, and a lot of polymers exhibit this kind of “perfect” structure.  Sodium chloride is basically a cubic structure, relatively perfectly bonded in a cube matrix.  Ruby, on the other hand, is an anisotropic crystalline structure, meaning that there are more than one axes that are different within the structure of the crystal matrix.

Here’s a good image of the difference between an isotropic and anisotropic crystal structure, optically, from Olympus America’s Microscopy Resource Center.  Figure A is a sodium chloride crystal, which is isotropic.  Figure B is a calcite crystal, which has calcium ions and carbonate ions in it.  Calcite is anisotropic.  Check it:

Ok – now if you think of a crystal structure with light shining through its matrix, and the light is going to pass through two different planes of refraction, essentially – what do you expect to happen to one beam of light as it enters the anisotropic crystal structure and slows down?

Who said it’s going to split into two beams?  (DJ Lemma, pout your hand down, I know you already know the answer!)  You’d be correct – the incident beam splits into two beams, each sort-of along that individual crystal plane.  Take a look at this image of a calcium carbonate crystal, and how it is creating a double image:

This phenomenon is called birefringence.  Deep breath – bi-re-frin-gence.  Ruby, the gem used in the experiment, is also an anisotropic crystal, and it exhibits traits of birefringence.

So, imagine taking that birefringent crystal disk, spinning it at a relatively high rate (30 Hz), and shining a very specific wavelength of light (ie, a laser), that is in a certain shape through the ruby disk as it spins.  A bunch of stuff was discovered with this experiment, all related to the image.  The generalities of the experiment, as I paraphrase, is that the group shone a very bright laser with a square-ish shape through the ruby disk, noted the position that the laser had ont he other side of the ruby disk after it was on the other side of the disk.  When you shine a shaped laser beam at 532 nanometers (green) through a spinning ruby disk (which is a very slow-light medium, slowing the light down to just a few tens of meters per second) spinning at a rate between not spinning and 30 rotations per second, the image refracts from about a third of a degree to about ten degrees as the ruby disk increases from slow revolutions per second to thirty revs per second.

What a crazy experiment, huh?  I needed a good dose of photonics and optics in my Thursday!

The ramifications of this experiment have to do with encoding images with extra data – if you can imagine an image that has more information in it depending on which way the image is spinning, that is some trippy Minority Report shizzyhizzle.  “Oh, you’ve stolen my image!  But since you don’t know which wavelength to use and at which speed to spin the image, you’ll never decode my super secret plans of world domination!!!

Yeah, I have a vivid imagination.

HUGE number of thanks:
the journal Science
PhysOrg
PhysicsWorld
the Index of Refraction of Ruby and Sapphire (actually a very cool fact doc, check it out!)

How It’s Made – Optical Lenses

Yet another very interesting process installment of the How It’s Made series – the creation of optical lenses for cameras and photographic equipment.  this process is pretty complicated and awesome.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did – I have been learning new stuff all week!

Check it out:

Another interesting video, this one from Kodak:

and this video, on lenses and types, is just fun:

OH GOD, THEY TATTOOED THEIR EYEBALLS

So last night I was lying in bed looking at the news, and all of the sudden I click on something that to me read as “prison inmates tattoo eyeballs.”  What it actually was completely shocked me, so I figured, hey – I bet JimOnLight readers would LOVE this (or totally despise it), so I should certainly post about it.

The video below depicts nothing about the actual performing of the subject matter, just the results, but it’s still freaky.

These prison inmates tattooed the sclera of their eyeballs!  Can you believe that?!  How were they sure that they were only injecting that “ink” into their sclera only? I mean, under the right circumstances and on your skin tattoos can and usually do look pretty neat.  But your EYE?  Don’t they know how important that is?!  There is a reason that people who sustain damage to their eyes or even a single eye lose their vision – to my knowledge, we cannot manufacture or generate vitreous gel for the eye.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Holy cow.  The second subject interviewed in the film is in prison for 73 years, so more than likely he doesn’t have to worry about ever having non-prison employment again – but the other guy (the one with the red eyes) is in for 4 years.  Both of these men are going to have disciplinary action taken against them.

The subject said that they have no color tint in their vision, and that they still see fine. For now. I wonder what was in that “ink” they used.

Watch the video:

LDI 2009: SeaChanger’s Booth

seachanger-ldi-jimonlight-4

One of my favorite booths this year was SeaChanger’s booth.  Besides the fact that they have a great product and are using the LIFI lamp like rockstars, SeaChanger had their standard setup – Eileen Morris (gourmet chef and wife of Tom Morris at SeaChanger) cooked those of us at the conference some of the finest food I’ve ever eaten.  Most definitely the best omelet I’ve ever eaten.

The entire booth was lit by plasma sources – I have completely forgotten the percentage that Tom Stanziano gave me about how much less power the SeaChanger booth was using by having plasma lamps in their fixtures – but at least 30% less comes to mind.  The light from these LIFI sources and the SeaChanger optics is pretty stunning.  The booth itself is set up like a kitchen show – broadcast camera feeds to plasma screens, showing how nice the light appears on camera.

Quite frankly, it is a damned beautiful light.

Okay – omelets, Grand Marinier whipped creme on crepes, the SeaChanger color engine, and the LIFI lamp.  This was a good combination for LDI 2009 for me!

I have some really interesting stuff coming up about SeaChanger this week – you have to stay tuned, especially if you like glass color filters…

Check out some images of SeaChanger’s LDI 2009 exhibit:

seachanger-ldi-jimonlight-3

That’s my hand, and it’s resting on the cooling fins of the SeaChanger below using a LIFI lamp.  Awesome.

seachanger-ldi-jimonlight-10

SeaChanger Wash:

seachanger-ldi-jimonlight-11

Look!  It’s a Nautilus, a Profile, and a Wash!

seachanger-ldi-jimonlight-7

seachanger-ldi-jimonlight-9

seachanger-ldi-jimonlight-12

Thanks for the omelet, Eileen!

LER: Luminaire Efficacy Rating

Have you ever heard of a factor called the Luminaire Efficacy Rating, or LER?

Luminaire Efficacy Rating is exactly what it sounds like – it is a measure of how efficient a luminaire is, which basically means “how much light does it put out based on how much energy it consumes?”  Imagine it as “miles per gallon” for lighting fixtures; that example is pretty oversimplified, but it’s a good comparison of how the LER relates to the overall efficiency of a luminaire.  LER is expressed in “lumens per watt,” which makes sense if you think about it very briefly – how many lumens does a fixture produce per each watt of power that it uses, or how much light does this thing produce when it eat this much power?

The Luminaire Efficacy Rating generally deals with three important criteria:

  • the efficacy of the luminaire, or how much light it delivers per watt
  • the ability for the luminaire to direct light outside of itself
  • the ability of the luminaire’s ballasts to deliver power to the lamps efficiently

The LER is a factor that the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has put into play – fluorescent luminaires are one of the categories being compared in the case of LER, and the figure compares many factors.  There are three major categories of luminaire types that are broken down with the Luminaire Efficacy Rating – fluorescent luminaires, high-intensity discharge industrial luminaires (arc lamps), and commercial, non-residential downlight luminaires.

I put together an image with the breakdown of the terms and basic definitions – I hope it is helpful!

LER-jimonlight

NEMA breaks down the standards for Luminaire Efficacy Rating in the following documents:

  • Fluorescent Luminaires:
    NEMA LE5
  • High-Intensity Discharge Luminaires:
    NEMA LE5B
  • Commercial (non-residential) Downlights:
    NEMA LE5A

The LER factor mostly deals with luminaires using a ballast.  You can certainly calculate the LER for a luminaire using an incandescent lamp – the difference is that you wouldn’t multiply the Ballast Factor into the equation.  Your new equation would be:

LER = (EFF x TLL)/input watts
Luminaire Efficacy Rating for an incandescent luminaire = the product of the luminaire’s efficiency multiplied by the total lamp lumens of the luminaire, divided by the input watts of the luminaire.  Makes sense, right?  No ballast in an incandescent luminaire!

Let’s look a bit at the definitions in this LER equation.  Not everyone might have heard of all of these figures, and some people might be saying “SAY WHAAAT?”

EFF, or Luminaire Efficiency:
This term refers to the output of the luminaire proportionally to the lamp or lamps’ output.  Technically, it is a measure of the amount of luminous flux of the luminaire divided by the amount of luminous flux of just the lamp itself.

(HEY JIM!  What the heck is luminous flux?)

Luminous flux is the measure of the perceived brightness or “light power” – it’s different than radiant flux, which measures all of the light emitted.  Luminous flux is geared towards what the eye can see and the brain can interpret.

TLL, or Total Lamp Lumens:
This term refers to the total measured (rated) quantity of lumens coming from the lamps.  This amount is also multiplied by how many lamps are in the luminaire.  Pretty understandable, right?  So, for example, if I have a luminaire with 3 lamps with a 2000 lumen output each, the total lamp lumens is 6000 lumens – 2000 lumen lamps multiplied by 3 lamps = 6000 lumens.  Cake.

BF, or Ballast Factor:
Ballast Factor isn’t a difficult thing to understand, but there are a few components to understanding it.  Ballast Factor deals with both parts of the creation of light – the ballast and the lamp.  Ballast factor is the ability of a ballast to produce light from the lamp or lamps that it energizes.  A ballast not only fires up the lamp, but after it’s started, it maintains the processes of the lamp.  The Ballast Factor is measured by taking the lumen output of  lamp and ballast combination and dividing it by a reference lamp/ballast combination.

Reference Ballasts are ballasts that are designed to be nearly “perfect” in order to perform under a particular set of conditions.  NEMA has guidelines set forth for Reference Ballasts, which is how we are able to use them to compare other ballast/lamp combinations.

Luminaire Watts Input:
Another very easy thing to understand – Luminaire Watts Input (also called Watts Input, Input Watts, or a number of terms generally related to the idea) is how many watts of power that the luminaire consumes.

I hope this makes a bit more sense if you didn’t know about it before.  Please send me an email through the contact form if you have any questions!

An Implanted Macular Degeneration Telescope

amdtelescope3

A week or so ago I wrote a post about a new treatment that doctors in the UK had discovered to help stop age-related macular degeneration – I just found another instance of technology fighting AMD, and it’s pretty cool.

Check this out:

amdtelescope

The company who invented this technology, VisionCare, has a really interesting description of the procedure on their site:

amdtelescope2

The prosthetic telescope, together with the cornea, acts as a telephoto system to enlarge images 3X or 2.2X, depending on the device model used. The telephoto effect allows images in the central visual field (‘straight ahead vision’) to not be focused directly on the damaged macula, but over other healthy areas of the central and peripheral retina. This generally helps reduce the ‘blind spot’ impairing vision in patients with AMD, hopefully improving their ability to recognize images that were either difficult or impossible to see.

The prosthetic telescope is implanted by an ophthalmic surgeon in an outpatient surgical procedure. The device is implanted in one eye, which provides central vision as described above, while the non-implanted eye provides peripheral vision for mobility and navigation. After the surgical procedure, the patient participates in a structured vision rehabilitation program to maximize their ability to perform daily activities. Situated in the eye, the device allows patients to use natural eye movements to scan the environment and reading materials.

A Phase II/III clinical trial which enrolled over 200 patients is complete.

There are two types of this crappy macular degeneration- a “wet” version, and a “dry” version:

Dry (atrophic) AMD accounts for approximately 90% of all AMD cases. Dry AMD is usually evident as a collection of small, white-yellow fatty deposits called drusen, which accumulate under the macula. This condition results in degeneration of the macula from the aging and thinning of macular tissue. Late stage dry AMD is called geographic atrophy. This condition accounts for many of the new cases of legal blindness due to AMD each year in the US. It is also responsible for a significant portion of permanent vision impairment associated with AMD. There are currently no accepted therapies for dry AMD.

Wet (exudative) AMD is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels, or choroidal neovascularization (CNV), under the macula. These abnormal vessels are fragile and leak fluid and blood under the macula, resulting in scarring of the macula. Wet AMD develops in only 10 to 15% percent of individuals with AMD, but usually dramatically affects vision. The end stage of wet AMD is called disciform scar and is often associated with permanent central vision loss. Current and investigational therapies for wet AMD focus on slowing or halting the progression of the disease and include laser photocoagulation, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and investigational anti-angiogenesis drug therapies injected into or in back of the eye. There are currently no accepted therapies for end stage (disciform scar) wet AMD.

Another technological advance in helping people keep their eyesight. I couldn’t imagine this kind of misery, so I hope as many people who need to read this get to read it.

Thanks, VisionCare, for all the info!