MIT Light-Detecting Fibers Create Niven's Webeye

MIT scientists have developed an optical system made up of a mesh of light-detecting fibers. The fiber constructs are able to measure the direction, intensity and phase of light without any traditional optical components.


(MIT light-detecting optic fibers)

Professor Yoel Fink of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Research Lab of Electronics, is the leader of the team that developed the light-detecting fibers. The fibers are much lighter in weight than traditional optical systems (including the human eye); by shaping the fibers in a sphere, a full spherical view can be obtained from a single system.

The fibers used in the webs are about 1 millimeter in diameter. They consist of a photoconductive glass core with metal electrodes that run along the length of the core, all surrounded by a transparent polymer insulator.

While one fiber on its own cannot detect the exact location of an incoming beam of light, when many fibers are arrayed in a web, their points of intersection provide the exact coordinates of the beam. A computer assimilates the data generated by the web and translates it for the user.
(MIT researchers create visionary optic fibers)

Researchers see many possibilities for potential uses of the fibers; applications range from improved space telescopes to clothing that provides situational awareness to soldiers. It may even be possible to develop clothing that sees for the visually impaired.

In Is There In Truth No Beauty?, an original Star Trek episode aired on October 18, 1968, Diana Muldaur plays a blind woman who wore a dress covered with a web of sensors that allowed her to see. She was perfect for her job - escorting the Medusan ambassador Kollos, who is so disturbing to view that no human can remain sane after glimpsing him.


(Dress that allows the blind to 'see')

However, I'd probably have to credit Larry Niven with a fairly close approximation to this idea in his webeye, a device that is described as looking like a spider web with a black spider at the center.

Chmeee eyed the fish. "Your luck was good," he approved. His eyes roved the ceiling and walls. He found what he sought: a glittering fractal spiderweb just under the great orange bulb at the apex of the dome.

Chmeee said, "We have a spy. I thought as much, but now we know it. The puppeteer placed cameras among us."
(Read more about Larry Niven's webeye)

Thanks to Tom James for submitting the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/24/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Jet-Powered Flying Suits Tested By Navy
'With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, head foremost...' - Philip Frances Nowlan, 1928.

Pub Installs Electrified Fence Around Bar
'I start twelve immensely strong wires--naked, not insulated --from a big dynamo...' - Mark Twain, 1889.

Armano Remote Control Excavator
'The bulldozer moved through the... mine... ' - Niven and Pournelle, 1981.

Metalenses Now Reconfigurable With Liquid Crystal
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension...' - Frank Herbert, 1965.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Jet-Powered Flying Suits Tested By Navy
'With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, head foremost...'

Pub Installs Electrified Fence Around Bar
'I start twelve immensely strong wires--naked, not insulated --from a big dynamo...'

What Does A Tesla Full Self-Driving Car See?
'All objects within my panoramic gaze trembled and vibrated like quick motion pictures...'

BioVYZR Is Ready, Anti-Covid19 PAPR Lovers
'Some clad in the insulated space-suits, with their transparent glassite helmets.'

Tesla Will Have Metal Gear Snake Autocoupler, Musk Confirms
'Its motion was so swift, complex, and perfect that at first I did not see it as a machine, in spite of its metallic glitter.'

Starlink Satellites Leading Edge On-Orbit Debris Mitigation
Propulsion-assisted orbital decay, brought to you by SpaceX.

Healight Ultraviolet Endotracheal Device Has Covid-19 Treatment Potential
'He applied the tip of the instrument to the interior of the wound...'

Parents Use AI To See One Last Message From Their Deceased Son
'...what's to keep me from showing face, Man?'

Satoshi Tomizu Creates Pocket Universes And Worldcraft Bubbles In Glass
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'

Space Hero Inc. Offers Trip To ISS As Reality Show Prize
'This is Elmer Schmitz, presenting to you the finalists in our Aviation Quiz Program...'

I Love Ceiling-Mounted Robots
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'

Armano Remote Control Excavator
'The bulldozer moved through the... mine... '

OK, NASA 3D Printer Of Food Not Yet Star Trek Food Synthesizer
Maybe not, but we're seeing definite progress.

Kelly Clarkson Show Like Black Mirror '15 Million Merits'
'These people are pieces of software called avatars.'

Salto Jumping Robot Now Sticks Landing!
'Lucky touched the leap knob and the hopper's leg retracted.'

Gyroscopic Median-Straddling Mass Transit Vehicles
'It was among these leviathans that the little gyrocar was daring to thrust its puny self...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.