Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Develop "Artificial Eyelid" That Reacts Faster Than A Laser

Date:
March 21, 2000
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
Researchers at the University of Florida and a North Carolina institute have invented a chip-like device with a surface that turns from transparent to opaque so rapidly it can shield the eye or electronic sensors from potentially blinding lasers.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Researchers at the University of Florida and a North Carolina institute have invented a chip-like device with a surface that turns from transparent to opaque so rapidly it can shield the eye or electronic sensors from potentially blinding lasers.

Related Articles


While the primary application of the "artificial eyelid" is military, consumer applications may range from programmable sunglasses to better cameras, said Paul Holloway, a UF professor of materials science and engineering and one of the researchers on the project.

"There are a whole host of applications," Holloway said.

Holloway and his colleagues at the UF College of Engineering and a non-profit North Carolina-based technology institute have successfully demonstrated prototypes of the device, which uses extremely tiny polymer and electrode films to control transmission of light. Part of the fast emerging field of nanotechnology -- the creation of machines so small they can only be viewed with a powerful microscope -- the eyelid is intended to protect military pilots and equipment from disabling laser attacks.

Holloway and other researchers in UF's department of materials science and engineering contributed to the eyelid as part of research for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and Army Research Office. Holloway presented the team's findings this month at a conference of the International Society for Optical Engineering.

While largely seen as a future threat, contemporary reports of laser attacks are not unprecedented. A U.S. Navy officer and a Canadian military pilot say they were flashed by a laser while photographing a Russian cargo ship off the coast of Washington state in 1997. Although the Pentagon says there is no proof a laser was involved, the two officers have suffered recurring pain that doctors have tied to laser exposure, say news accounts.

In an era when satellites are on the front lines of defense, lasers pose a big threat to national security, Holloway said.

"We rely a lot now in terms of our defense systems on overhead satellites," he said. "These satellites typically have high-power, high-resolution cameras. If somebody wants to avoid them, they can take a ground-based laser, point it up and knock out the cameras."

To counter the threat, Holloway and the other researchers used chip-making techniques and materials to design and build a device that contains thousands of tiny apertures -- apertures that can range in size from about a millimeter to 50 micrometers (there are 25,400 micrometers in an inch). Tests of prototypes showed the apertures can open and close as many as 10,000 times in one second. When deployed, say, on a satellite camera, a tiny sensor would detect the laser, shut down the apertures and protect the camera. Although prototype eyelids up to now have been mounted on an opaque silicon base, prototypes under development are mounted on glass, ideal for optical sensors.

The device has several potential consumer applications, Holloway said. For example, sunglasses now on the market that adjust to changing light conditions use a photochromic process that may require several minutes to complete the adjustment. Sunglasses with the eyelid technology, by contrast, would adjust instantly through opening the appropriate number of apertures for the light hitting the glasses, he said.

The sunglasses, which could be powered by a small battery encased in the frame, also could handle more extreme situations, such as eclipses, he said.

"If I wanted to watch the solar eclipse, for example, I could put on my smart glasses, and they would automatically block out the sun and I would only see the corona," he said.

Cameras also could benefit. For example, the eyelid technology could be installed in home video cameras to eliminate the common problem in videotapes of a bright light darkening the content of the surrounding frame, Holloway said.

DARPA has provided about $500,000 for the research, part of more than $9 million the agency has committed for Holloway's research at the Center for Materials in Sensors and Actuators, or MINSA. The other UF faculty members involved in the research are Tony Brennan, Elliot Douglass, Joseph Simmons and Wolfgang Sigmund. Besides the North Carolina institute, MCNC in Research Triangle Park, engineers from Clemson University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Lockheed-Martin in Orlando are involved.

-30-

Color or black & white photo available with this story. For information, please call News & Public Affairs photography at (352) 392-9092.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "Researchers Develop "Artificial Eyelid" That Reacts Faster Than A Laser." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321080522.htm>.
University Of Florida. (2000, March 21). Researchers Develop "Artificial Eyelid" That Reacts Faster Than A Laser. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321080522.htm
University Of Florida. "Researchers Develop "Artificial Eyelid" That Reacts Faster Than A Laser." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321080522.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its Internet-connected drone project. The drone is bigger than a 737, but lighter than a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Witnesses recount the sites and sounds of a massive explosion and subsequent building collapse in the heart of Manhattan&apos;s trendy East Village on Thursday. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins