I just ordered my Lytro camera.

Available February/March next year. The “Lytro”:http://www.Lytro.com features a technology they call “light field” — they grab sufficient photon data at capture time to allow refocusing, zooming, etc as a post-capture option. The Lytro is a simple step on the way to a full software-defined lens — I first wondered about such a lens in 2003, should have filed a bunch of patents. Other people are pushing the idea ahead, see for instance “Software Defined Lensing”:http://www.creative-technology.net/CTECH/SDL.html.

As the writeup points out, you can view a traditional glass lens as a kind of quantum computer with a single fixed purpose, established at manufacture time. The lens captures all the incident photons, does some photonic/quantum computation, and spits an answer out on the CCD. But if we can replace the lens with something that has much more dynamic, programmable behaviour, well very cool things could be done — arbitrary refocusing and zooming being just the simplest example. A much broader set of incident radiation could be captured, spectral analysis of the image could be performed, filtering of the image, incredible levels of zoom, etc.

The Lytro is a very modest step in this direction but exciting.

Feed by Mira Grant

Silk and Timber electronics

“Paper and Lignin-based RFID tags”:http://www.physorg.com/news200760151.html. “Silk electronic metamaterials”:http://www.physorg.com/news200841751.html.

Seems like we are not far away from having processing power embedded in damn near everything. Not lots of processing power, but enough to do identification and limited sensing. Interesting times.

Spring Coursework

Continuing my educational adventure this spring:

ME 568 Active and Sensing Materials:  Fundamental knowledge of the nano-structure property relations of active and sensing materials, and their devices. Examples of the active and sensing materials are: shape memory alloys (SMAs), ferromagnetic SMAs, ferroelectric, pyroelectric and piezoelectric materials, thermoelectrics, electroactive and conducting polymers, photoactive polymers, photovoltaics, and electrochromic materials.

ME 518 Seminars on Advances in Manufacturing & Management: Current topics and advances made in manufacturing and management. Topics presented by invited speakers from academia and industry. Emphasis on the multidisciplinary nature of manufacturing and management.

via Course Descriptions.