Capturing High-Speed Photographs Of Exploding Wires

Capturing High Speed Photographs of Exploding Wires wire1

Contrary to what you might think, exploding wires are actually a fairly common photographic subject. Althoughcat bearding probably has it beat in terms of sheer volume, in the world of science, capturing photographs of wires turning into plasma is an often-attempted experiment.

But even though there is a lot of imagery of wires exploding out there, electrical engineer Patrick Herd’smost recent experiment sought to capture the phenomenon in a unique way.

“A lot of existing exploding wire imagery has been done, which reveals late stage explosion information; that is, most images show spectacular showers of sparks,” explains Herd on his blog. “This is a result of using the method of opening the camera shutter, exploding the wire or other device under test, and then closing the camera shutter.”

What he and his group of fellow engineers wanted to photograph instead was the instant the wire went “boom,” basically showing the exact moment when a fine wire with a lot of current passing through it turns into plasma. Using a shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second (because that’s as fast as his DSLR could handle), this is what they wound up getting:

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Getting to the point where they could actually capture these pictures was no easy task. You can read all about the difficulties of setting up a precise timer, how they set the up the entire experiment, and all of the rest of the technical details over on Herd’s blog.

Once they finally began snapping some solid photos, however, they decided to take the experiment a step further. “The next idea was to constrain the plasma in some form of channel,” says Herd. In other words, they wanted to create the letters L, U and X since they would be presenting their findings at the Wellington Lux symposium.

Things didn’t exactly go as planned at first: “The first revision of the lettering turned out to be too small. The “L” exploded violently whilst spraying PLA shrapnel all over the workshop.”

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Fortunately, they didn’t give up. After redesigning the molds to be bigger and stronger, they managed to contain the plasma long enough to photograph it — that’s when the really cool results happened:

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You can read all about the experiment, which Herd has dubbed Project Sigma Mesa, over on his blog. He goes into enough detail that you could probably recreate it yourself, but we’ll go ahead and say that unless you’ve had the proper engineering training, we advise that you DON’T try this one at home.

(via Hackaday)

 

Motorola Droid now best Android phone ever

Motorola Droid now best Android phone ever *via DVICE Atom Feed by Stewart Wolpin on 10/28/09

Motorola Droid now best Android phone ever *

A few weeks I go I proclaimed the Motorola CLIQ the best Android phone ever, asterisk, at the time it came out.

On Nov. 6, the new Android champion will be the Motorola Droid. That’ll make Verizon customers/Apple haters happy now that the carrier has a phone to match its vaunted 3G network, or will have when it becomes available on Nov. 6 for $200 after the usual contract stipulations and rebate.

Handling the phone for the last couple of hours, I find Droid’s imperfections overwhelmed by Android 2.0 advances that help unify related functions and, first and foremost, its gorgeous screen.

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At 3.7 inches diagonal, Droid’s display is the biggest on a cellphone, yet the Droid is only a hair larger and actually a bit thinner than the CLIQ. Even better, the LCD is 854 x 480 (WVGA) or 400,000 pixels. Most similarly sized screens are 480 x 320. In less tech terms, text and colors are sharper, bolder and crisper than on any other cellphone LCD I’ve seen.

All Together Now
Droid is more than its screen and slide-out QWERTY keypad. To make non-verbal communications easier, Motorola borrows the contact-centric phonebook from CLIQ’s MOTOBLUR social-network interface. Contacts in your phone book include text and email data, but let you compose a message or post to varying your contact’s pages on social-networking sites such as Facebook without having to actually boot the Android Facebook app. Droid also handily merges all the info from contacts culled from varying app phonebooks and email contact lists, such as Facebook and Gmail.

Further unifying disparate functions, the home page-based Google Search now scours not only the Web but data on your Droid. For instance, if you do a search on U2, you’ll find websites, plus websites you’ve visited or bookmarked, apps, contacts or, optionally, YouTube and your music. You can change these search options in the settings.

Google Maps now comes with voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions and “layers” — instead of having to choose a normal map view or a traffic view or a satellite view, you can overlay these options on top of each other. You can also share your location with other Google Navigation users for keeping track of your peeps or coordinating arrival at a mutual destination, i.e., “I’m lost, do you see where I am? How do I get to where you are?”

Moto Quibbles
I have some initial complaints. First, the 5MP camera is slow to process the large images. And, despite included image stabilization, indoor shots with the dual LED flash come out blurry if you don’t hold the camera stock-still until the shot is processed. Photos also can be geotagged, but oddly this is not the default setting. I’m not even sure why there is an option to begin with — what is the drawback to having all your photos automatically geotagged?

Like the CLIQ, Droid’s slide-out horizontal keyboard is three-line rather than four, which means you’ll need to tap ALT to access the number keys.
YouTube playback was hinky on my demo unit, especially when I tried to watch videos in HQ. They’d get stuck in “loading” and never actually play. Unlike other Android phones, there isn’t a “full screen” zoom option, which means videos that do play play in the middle third of the screen.

But Droid’s big, sharp screen makes everything easier to read, Android 2.0 adds the kind of intuitive interface that makes using a complex cellphone easier, Verizon’s EV-DO network speeds net surfing, and Droid’s solid metallic body fills klutzes with confidence.

Now all we need is an iTunes-like Android client software.

It’s E71x time, kids!

via Boy Genius Report by Michael Bettiol on 5/4/09

Mmm mmm do we ever love it when carriers pick up awesome handsets at awesome prices. Today, after a mind boggling number of delays, AT&T begun selling the Nokia E71x on its website for the incredibly attractive price of $99 on a two-year contract. And while the notion of using a phone that was announced in the summer of 2008 might be unthinkable to some who are accustomed to the very latest in tech, we find it pretty hard to argue against a full-QWERTY S60 device with a 3.2 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, aGPS, Bluetooth 2.0 and HSDPA connectivity, especially when the device in question is Kate Moss thin at 10mm.

Read

Gigapan Imager used to craft 1,474 megapixel image of Obama’s inauguration

via Engadget by Darren Murph on 1/25/09

In theory, at least, we already knew that the Gigapan Imager was capable of some amazing things. This, friends, is proof. David Bergman strapped the device and his Canon G10 onto a rail at Barack Obama’s inauguration and snapped 220 images. After giving his MacBook Pro 6.5 hours to compile a two gigabyte image, he hosted it up on his website for people to zoom around on. We’ll caution you — you can easy kill a few hours checking out faces and such if you end up visiting the read link, but it’s totally worth it.

[Via Gadling]

Sony Ericsson Announces the G705

 
 

via Boy Genius Report by Zach Epstein on 9/9/08

Sony Ericsson fans have reason to rejoice this morning as the handset manufacturer has finally made its anticipated G705 official. Sure, we’ve seen and read plenty already but now we’ve got the official specs and equally as important, a time line. Here’s where it gets a little tricky; those of you who have been waiting for this sexy little slider are going to have to keep waiting. It looks like the G705 isn’t scheduled to become available here in the US until sometime in Q1 2009, though it will be released in Q4 2008 elsewhere. Some more bad news for US SE fans is that while Sony Ericsson has announced that it will issue a UMA-enabled G705u version of this handset (SE’s first UMA phone), it will be an Orange exclusive. Ok, ok. Enough bad news – now for the good stuff:

  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
  • Tri-band 3G in the US version – UMTS/HSUPA 850/1900/2100
  • 2.4-inch display
  • HTML browser
  • Automatic screen-orientation rotation
  • Inbuilt aGPS combined with Google Maps for Mobile and Wayfinder
  • WiFi and DLNA certified, Bluetooth 2.0 (A2DP)
  • 3.2 megapixel camera with Photo fix and geotagging support
  • YouTube compatible – upload video directly to YouTube

Read

 
 

HTC announces S740, think Touch Pro’s baby brother

via Boy Genius Report by The Boy Genius on 8/26/08

HTC Touch Diamond not working out for you? We get it, you want a physical QWERTY keyboard. Oh, Touch Pro a little too big? You want something a little more simpler, huh? Starting today, HTC looks to fill that gap. They’ve just announced the HTC S740 and it features the same styling as the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro, features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a numerical keyboard on the front. The only difference? It runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard. Here’s a run down of the specs:

  • 116.3 x 43.4 x 16.3 mm
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • WCDMA/HSDPA: 900/2100 MHz (we’d guess there is a 850/1900MHz UMTS/HSDPA version in the works, supports HSDPA 3.6Mbps and HSDPA 7.2Mbps)
  • 2.4″ QVGA screen
  • 3.2 megapixel camera
  • Qualcomm® MSM7225, 528 MHz
  • 256MB flash ROM, 256MB RAM
  • microSD slot
  • 140g
  • 1000mAh battery
  • Wi-Fi b,g
  • aGPS
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • FM radio

Pretty much the most feature-packed Windows Mobile Standard device, no? Enjoy the pics while we phone up our HTC ninjas — we want this thing!

Casio Phone is Waterproof, Rocks 5 Megapixel Camera, 4 Colors and All Sorts of Sexy Extras

via Gizmodo by Addy Dugdale on 1/28/08

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One of the big Oh Noes about working for Giz is getting to see sexy new phones, enjoying a quickening of the pulse and then thinking, “Buggerama,” as you realize that said sodding cell is only available in Japan. Casio’s W61CA uses Exilim technology to give you a five-megapixel camera that will survive rainstorms and being dunked in the bath. No surprise then, that it’s being marketed as a sports phone, and comes in that sizzling yellow shade so beloved of Akio Morita. Full specs are below.

5.1 megapixel camera with self-timer button
35mm wide-angle lens
8x digital zoom
Auto-focus
18.9 mm thick
2.7 inches wide QVGA high resolution LCD
Mobile English dictionary
Voice commands
Micro SD card slot
DMB TV
132 grams
320 hours standby
220 mins talk time
Speaker
Earthquake warning system
Nabi disaster evacuation function
Calorie counter
Adelie Penguin anime story
Timer
Distance measurement

The W61CA comes in four colors: gold; white, green and yellow and I wish it was available in the West.

[Casio via i4U]