Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I don't know why I write science fiction. The voices in my head told me to!"
- Charles Stross

Oil Lens  
  Oil held in tension in an enclosing force field, used as an optical component.  

In the world of Dune, seeing has a variety of implications, religious (state of consciousness, prescient ability to see the future) as well as practical. The hawk, symbol of the ruling Atreides family, is also a far-seeing animal.

The oil lens is described as "hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube as part of a magnifying or other light-manipulation system."

Will you look at that thing! Stilgar whispered. Paul lay beside him in a slit of rock high on the shield wall rim, eye fixed to the collector of a Fremen telescope. The oil lens was focused on a starship lighter exposed by dawn in the basin below them. The tall eastern face of the ship glistened in the flat light of the sun, but the shadow side still showed yellow portholes from glowglobes of the night.
From Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

Since each oil lens element can be manipulated one micron at a time, these systems were considered the finest available for the manipulation of visible light (in the novel).

I've found references to ships in the 1920's that used oil lens lanterns, but they probably just burned the oil for illumination. And microscopes use oil lenses, but they are just regular glass lenses used with an immersion oil. So, I can't find anyone earlier than Herbert with this idea.

And, in a recent news story, researchers at Bell Labs, US, have made a 2mm-diameter liquid microlens with a position and focal length that can be adjusted by applying a voltage. The team is now using the lens in optical switching and optical signal processing. (Applied Physics Letters 82 316).

At the turn of the century, astronomers tried creating reflective mirrors for astronomical telescopes by putting a pool of mercury on a turntable, and then spinning the table at a constant rate. The resulting parabolic curve was obtained without the many hours of polishing; however, the surface was marred by irregularities caused by drive speed variations.

If you are interested in the ultimate in exotic lenses, take a look at the gravity lens from Larry Niven's 1973 novel Protector.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dune
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Dune
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

Oil Lens-related news articles:
  - Philips FluidFocus: Variable Focus Fluid Lens
  - Varioptic Liquid Lens For Phone Cameras
  - Liquid Camera Lens Controlled By Sound
  - Tunable Liquid Lens Glasses For The Masses
  - TruFocals Glasses Do Not Use Hufhuf Oil
  - Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses

Articles related to Engineering
Humans Use Mental Power For Turtle Slavery
Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
Smartflower Solar Panel Unfolds In Video
3D Printed Prosthetic Coral

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

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.

 

 

 

 

More News

Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...'

Project KOVR Fashion Protection From Infosphere
'... the entire shroudlike membrane took on whatever physical characteristics were projected at any nanosecond.'

Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'

'We're Not Creating A Terminator' Say Russians About Gun-Wielding Robot Fedor
Nobody is thinking about the Terminator. Westworld, maybe.

Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...'

Mercedes-Benz Autonomous Taxi Fleet In 3 Years
'... the taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings.'

Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

Someday, You Might Like VR Enough To Move In
'That barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Humans Use Mental Power For Turtle Slavery
Now we need to start looking for animals with fingers...

Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.