August 1997

Imaging the Dead Sea Scrolls

Keith Knox, Robert Johnston, and Roger L. Easton, Jr.

The authors explore the current use of modern image processing techniques to decipher ancient texts, and look toward future applications, including “discovering” original texts from overwritten documents.

Holographic Video: The ultimate visual interface?

While holographic video is a realistic concept in contemporary science fiction, it remains an illusive technology. St. Hilaire discusses the need for advanced visual interfaces, and explains the history, present state, and future of the technology, with an emphasis on the MIT Media Laboratory project.

Improve Your Image With Aspheres

The use of high precision glass aspheres is becoming viable thanks to enabling manufacturing technologies.

The Experimental Life of Maurice Françon

After completing his Ph.D. thesis on spherical aberration, Maurice Françon devoted the energy and enthusiasm that characterized his life (see page 13) to the subject of phase contrast microscopy, a hotly pursued subject of research in European optical laboratories during the late 1940s.

Optics at the creek

At the bottom of a canyon, the clear, cold waters of a creek make their way noiselessly to the Pacific. The heat of the warm spring day hasn't yet reached through the canopy of big-leaf maple trees. Over the surface of the stream, a tiny gnat that didn't stretch properly before flight pulls a wing muscle and shortly thereafter tumbles into a sunlit patch of water. Because live gnats don't sink, but do have some parts that "wet" with water, the gnat becomes trapped on the water surface and can't fly off. A water strider, Gerris lacustris, senses the ripples generated by the struggling insect, skates over, and has lunch.

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