Is your keyboard made from lasers? If you have the Celluon Magic Cube it is!

Subject: General Tech | November 30, 2012 - 12:55 PM |
Tagged: input, laser, Celluon, Magic Cube, keyboard

Who needs a mechanical keyboard if you can have one made out of lasers with an IR sensor to detect where your fingers are typing?  With both USB and Bluetooth connectivity the Celluon Magic Cube will beam a virtual keyboard onto any flat surface allowing you to type on a full keyboard without having to cart one around with you.  This will be more handy for tablet and phone users but still might be worth using with a laptop just because it is made of frickin' laser beams.  Hardware.Info tried out one of these hard to get a hold of devices and loved it as it performed as advertised and even has a mouse mode.  You may not type quite as fast as you would on a normal keyboard but you will look far more impressive.

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"It still looks and feels like science fiction, but this actually works. With the Magic Cube from Celluon you can create a fully functional keyboard on any surface, that types much better than the mini-keyboards on your average smartphone. The added value for tablets is more limited, because for those there are many more alternatives in terms of external keyboards."

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Fujifilm Working On New Optical Disc Tech, Will Scale To 1TB Discs By 2015

Subject: General Tech | November 24, 2012 - 07:48 AM |
Tagged: optical disc, laser, 1TB disc

As flash drives become more ubiquitous and software installers increasingly moving to online downloads, optical drives have lost most of their relevancy. Even so, Fujifilm’s engineers are hard at work on new optical disc technology. The new technology would allow discs to store up to 1TB of data by 2015 with the expectation that it can scale to 15TB in the future with multi-layer, double sided discs.

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With the new discs, Fujifilm is using a multi-layer disc that has recording and material layers sandwiched between each other. The company is using a Ti/S laser rated at 405nm to write the data to the disc. The laser heats the surface of the disc, and a two-photon absorption method is used to record data using a conves shapes. To read the data, the drive measures the reflectivity of the recording layer as the laser hits the convex shapes. It uses the reflectance ratio of the laser hitting the recorded area versus the non-recorded areas on the recording layer to get the 1 and 0s necessary to store and read the binary data.

Fujifilm has stated that the technology currently acheives 25GB per layer, which is similar to existing Blu ray discs. However, Fujifilm’s discs can pack many more layers. As many as 20 layers per side of the disc are believed possible, which would provide 500GB for a single-sided disc or 1TB for a double-sided optical disc. The company is aiming to produce commercially available 1TB discs by 2015, and plans to pursue scaling the technology to 15TB (and beyond) discs in the future. One of the major issues is that it is currently a write-once technology, which means that it is not rewriteable like current disc technologies.

It is an interesting technology that might be handy for businesses looking for an alternative to tape, but the drives and discs will likely be expensive. Especially since high-capacity flash drives are continually dropping in price. Are you still using an optical (DVD, Blu ray) drive, and would you use a 1TB if they were available?

Tech On has put together an article that explains the intracacies of the new optical technology that is worth a read if you are interested in the nitty-gritty details.

Image courtesy Dwayne Bent via Flickr Creative Commons.

Source: Tech On

Increased Hard Drive Write Speed and Density - Using Frickin' Lasers

Subject: General Tech, Storage | February 8, 2012 - 08:34 AM |
Tagged: laser, hdd, Hard Disk

The big hoopla as of late has been wrapped around SSD's and flash memory technology, with constant die shrinks promising cheaper and faster solid state storage for your PC. Everyone seems to be slowly forgetting about good old HDD's, but spinning rust may have some life left after all.

A team of scientists formed iron and gadolinium into a series of alloy 'nanoislands'. These are basically isolated mini magnets. Each one carries a magnetic charge. Normally you would write to materials like this by hitting them with a much larger magnetic field (i.e. from your HDD write head). This team had a different trick up their sleeve - don't bother with the bigger magnet, just hit it with a burst of heat and get it to change state on its own.

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Magnetic nanoislands getting hit by a frickin' laser.

Picture a sling shot, stretched out, and frozen in a block of ice. If you melt the ice, the rubber band will just snap back to its unstretched state and stay there. The same kind of thing happens when you heat a magnet - it becomes demagnetized. Now imagine if you could melt the ice, but flash freeze it while the rubber band has extended in the opposite direction. You've reversed the direction of the sling shot. Pull off the same trick with a magnet, and you can flip its poles. The trick is finding just the right length of time to heat the magnet and catch the 'flip' on the other end of its resonance. This team appears to have figured it out, and the magic number (for their material) is 60 femtoseconds. They can heep hitting the same spot repeatedly, and each time causes another flip in the poles.

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Each pulse flips the bit.

To back this down into typical computer terms. A 1GHz CPU clock triggers every 1.00000 nanosecond, and 60 femtoseconds is 0.00006 nanoseconds. Ultrashort Pulse lasers have been around for a while. One was even used on my eyeballs a few years back. These pulses are so fast that the biggest issue would be getting information to the laser fast enough. The straight line theoretical speed of this technique ranges in the Terabytes per second, with densities limited by the capabilities of the nanotech used to create the islands.

To be clear, this isn't the first time heat or lasers has been used in magnetic media. TDK pioneered Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording tech years ago, but that tech is only heat *assisted*. This new breakthrough is writing, with heat, without the magnet at all. Now the only trick is figuring out how to read such a high density of tiny written bits. Since the laser writes much smaller than a magnetic head could accomplish, we might see a reversion back to optics for the reads.We're not sure how long before this technology appears on your desktop, but what we can say is that magnetic storage is not dead yet.

Source: Physorg.com

Got a bunch of old disposable cameras? Why not turn them into a clip for a pulse laser gun?

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2011 - 08:38 AM |
Tagged: pewpew, laser, DIY

There are a lot of instructions on the net covering the steps to build yourself a laser, from the large scale models at Power Labs which are not portable to smaller scale ones using DVD/Blu-ray lasers which can't be used for much more than driving the family pet insane.  Over at Hack a Day is a detailed project on how to build your own hand held pulse laser which can certainly burn holes through thin metals and other unsuspecting inanimate objects.  This particular build is powered by scrounged capacitors from disposable cameras and as long as you keep an even number and ensure the capacitors are all the same rating you can make it even more powerful.

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"Self-declared Mad Scientist and Instructables user [Trevor Nestor] recently built a pulse laser pistol and decided to share his build process, so that you too can build a ray gun at home. The gun is made up of mostly scavenged components, save for the Neodymium:YAG laser head, which he purchased on eBay for about $100. He does say however, that you can score an SSY-1 laser from an old rangefinder, providing you hang out near a stockpile of decommissioned Abrams tanks."

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Source: Hack a Day

Build your own frickin laser beam; Shark catching instructions not included

Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2011 - 09:05 AM |
Tagged: laser, DIY, Altoids

Wired offers you several ways to build your own laser, some powerful enough to burn holes in paper and other flammables but all able to ruin the eyesight of anyone you point it at ... so bear that in mind.  They range from a build claiming you need no soldering for those less technical people who want a laser to one built in an Altoids tin.  The power of the laser varies depending on the build, some even use re-purposed DVD lasers as the light source.  Perhaps the most impressive build lacks wattage but being able to project vector graphics with lasers more than makes up for it.

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"Even though lasers are as common as dirt now, appearing in everything from DVD players to supermarket scanners to computer mice, there's still a certain appeal to a beam of coherent, monochromatic light. Especially if it's dangerously powerful.

So it's no surprise that people can't resist playing with lasers, building their own, customizing them and, of course, setting stuff on fire with them."

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Source: Wired