July 1995

Rapid Product Realization

Allan J. Lightman

Rapid product realization is a new method of manufacturing prototypes based on optical and laser systems. These techniques shorten product cycle times and reduce costs. They present a host of opportunities for the optics and photonics communities.

Shedding Light On Sight Seeing Human Brain Function

New imaging techniques — PET and fMRI— enable researchers to unlock the heretofore mysterious functions of the human brain.

Real Vision and Virtual Reality

The effects of head-mounted displays on binocular vision are described.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) project, scheduled for initial operation in 2000, aims to detect and study gravitational waves from astrophysical sources by precision interferometry between suspended test bodies over four-kilometer baselines. The required sensitivity, better than 10-18/m, places extreme demands on the performance of the optical systems, especially mirrors and lasers.

The Information Superhighway

Recently, telecommunications corporations have bombarded the public with promises of bringing "Cyberspace" and the "Information Superhighway" into homes. To make basic communication system concepts more accessible to high school and elementary students, the OSA student chapter at the University of Rochester has developed "The Information Superhighway" demonstration. This system uses a HeNe laser and an optical fiber connected to a photo detector and speaker to generate the output of a CD player.

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