MIT Creates Zoomable Lens Without Any Moving Parts

Extreme Tech reports on a recent proof of concept from MIT that allows a lens to focus without moving the optical elements.

The science of optics has revealed the scale and detail of the universe for centuries. With the right piece of glass, you can look at a distant galaxy or the wiggling flagella on a single bacteria. But lenses need to focus — they need to move. Engineers at MIT have developed a new type of “metalens” that can shift focus without any moving parts. This could change the way we build devices such as cameras and telescopes.

The metalens changes structure when heat is applied and it interacts with light differently in these different “phases”. Richard Feynman once said that there is always room at the bottom. We are only scratching the surface of what is possible with solid state devices and quantum phenomena. It will be interesting to watch this technology develop.

Thought for the Day

It helps sometimes to be a little deaf. - Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Great advice for relationships, business, or just life in general.

Uppgradera: IKEA Upgrades says it is a collection of upgraded IKEA experiences. There is a small collection of items here that improve on or add to existing IKEA designs. If you have IKEA furniture and a 3D printer you should check it out.

James West Engineer

Nice profile of James West over at HackADay. Mr. West is the inventor of the the electret microphone amoung other things. Electret microphones are ubiquitous in our world. He spent four decades at Bell Labs and is still publishing new work.


MailTrackerBlocker is a plugin (mailbundle) for the default Mail app built-in to macOS. Email marketers and other interests often embed these trackers in HTML emails so they can track how often, when and where you open your emails. This plugin labels who is tracking you and strips out spy pixels out of the HTML before display, rendering the typical advice of disabling “load remote content in messages” unnecessary.

Get it on Github.

Deep Red Light May Improve Vision in Adults

As someone who suffers from poor and declining vision, I found the study referenced in this Futurism post fascinating. It seems that a relatively short, approximately 3 minute per day, regimen of light therapy in the 650 to 1000 nm range could improve eye sensitivity in adults.

For the study, 12 male and 12 female participants between the ages of 28 and 72 had the sensitivity of their eyes checked. They were then asked to stare into a small LED flashlight for three minutes a day over two weeks, a process Jefferey likened to “re-charging a battery.”

Participants’ ability to detect colors improved 20 percent among some of those 40 and older. Low light sensitivity improved significantly in the same group as well.

See Also: Deep red light reboots aging retinas like “recharging a battery” - New Atlas

This is fairly easy to implement with a standard LED flashlight and red LEDs. I think it would be interesting to create a wearable set of glasses with embedded LEDs for the therapy. A timer could be included as well. I think I’ll fab up a prototype.

Can We Kill The Dynamic Web

I was recently on a flight and was using the inflight WiFi for some work. I know that these systems have very limited bandwidth but I can normally accomplish everything I need. I connect to the system and enable “Low Data Mode” on my iPad. I have already synced the large important files that I must use. Communication is text based so it is not a problem. Even a 64 kBps connection is usually sufficient.

On this particular flight I finished up everything quickly and decided to write a few blog posts. The internet was completely unusuable. I checked a few of the blogs that I follow and they loaded quickly. It was slower than the almost instantaneous load at home but was not a distraction. Every commerical site showed a slowly creeping blue line across the Safari search bar. After a minute or two the site would “load”, and just as I was ready to scroll, the first of popup would appear. Do you want to accept cookies? Fuck you website. I want to read this article. Click No. Space bar. Scroll one page. Read. Popup. Like what you are reading, then subscribe. Fuck your subscription. I pay for media, but I’m not interested in this crap right now. Scroll again and start to read. Wait a minute. Where am I. Oh no, ads are starting to load. What a disaster.

High speed internet covers a multitude of sins. These modern dynamic websites are terrible. They are just billboards. Space for rent. Design nightmares. I hate them. I love all of you with static websites.

Open Source Tool to Document Wiring

Interesting article in HackADay that references an open-source python project for documenting your project wiring. If you are like me your project wiring is either never documented or consists of some colored pencil scribbles that are mostly illegible inside an moleskine notebook. This looks promising.