LED Wireless Communication Nodes In Our Future?

LED lights could transmit dataSounds like a great idea, this would solve the low (or non existent) wireless data rates that are found in the core of large buildings. Should be inexpensive to implement as well. So when can I get my LightFi lamp and alarm clock combo?

The objective of the initiative is to use visible light for communication between wireless devices and LED-based lighting fixtures. The LED-based scheme could also be used to communicate between automobiles, which are increasingly being equipped with LED lamps. The overall goal is to build new communication capabilities into all LED lights and reduce congestion in current RF bands.

LED lamps could serve as wireless communication nodes

Marx Generators

Ah, the Marx generator. I have fond and not so fond memories of building my first one. It worked very well, I knew this because of the sort of out of body feeling I had when I got zapped by it. Anyway, it works by charging up a bank of capacitors in parallel and then are discharged in series. It will turn a few wimpy volts into something that will quite literally take your breath away. This site has a nice semi tutorial on how one is built. Go have a read and start scrounging in your junk box for some parts (mind you, keep a hand in your pocket to avoid making a dead short across your chest and through your heart. It’s not a sure thing but it helps)

Marx generators at madlabs.info
More info over at Wikipedia

Cube.ly 3D Printer

I went to the bi-monthly hackerspace meeting last night. They had a guy there giving a talk about an open source 3D printer that he and his company is working on. I posted photos of it on Flickr. The thing is called ‘Cube.ly‘ and will, once finished, print 10cc of volume per hour, cost under $1000, takes a weekend to build, and is made of off the shelf parts. The frame is made of this stuff called ‘80/20′, think adult sized Erector set and the other bits like motors are available from McMaster-Carr or the guys that build the Makerbot (electronics).

Airborne Laser Testbed Successful in Lethal Intercept Experiment

Spotted this real-world application of way cool technology today:

Airborne Laser Testbed Successful in Lethal Intercept ExperimentFeb. 11, 2010 – At 8:44 p.m. (PST)
A short-range threat-representative ballistic missile was launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform. Within seconds, the ALTB used onboard sensors to detect the boosting missile and used a low-energy laser to track the target. The ALTB then fired a second low-energy laser to measure and compensate for atmospheric disturbance. Finally, the ALTB fired its megawatt-class High Energy Laser, heating the boosting ballistic missile to critical structural failure. The entire engagement occurred within two minutes of the target missile launch, while its rocket motors were still thrusting.

ALTB video

[via Launch-Alert mailing list]
Airborne Laser Testbed Media Gallery

Soviet Star Wars

Not that the proliferation of weapons in space (or other places for that matter) is something to ever wish for but you have to admit that the idea has a ‘Buck Rogers’ kind of coolness to it.

“…a massive satellite, the largest ever launched, equipped with a powerful laser to take out the American anti-missile shield in advance of a Soviet first strike. It was real, though—or at least the plan was… …[The Soviets] funded two massive R&D studies in the late 1970s and early 1980s to explore how to counter imaginary American missile defense ideas,” he says. Two concepts emerged: Skif—a laser “cannon” in orbit—and another weapon known as Kaskad (Cascade), designed to destroy an enemy’s satellites with missiles fired from another craft in orbit.”

Soviet Star Wars