optical equipment

Soviet 1K17 self-propelled laser vehicle. Designed to disable the electro-optical equipment of tanks, helicopters, missiles and jets. It was slated to go into serial production but the fall of communism prevented any serious tooling. As far as anyone knows, the vehicle did “work” in the sense that it technically did do laser things. The practicality of the mission or the platform remains debatable.

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Shadow Keaton

Background: (in progress) A custom shadow fox made for Helena, the daughter of Moonbay, by entrepreneur McMann. Due to some bad intel Helena attempted to steal the base shadow fox from McMann but was caught in the act. Rather than turn her over to the authorities, McMann instead made a deal with her, impressed by her capabilities, he enlisted her as advertisement of sorts. He would give her the fox and customize it, in return she would travel to zoids shows to display the new zoid, and send most of her winnings back to McMann to pay off her debt for the zoid and parts. The color scheme came from the legend of the goddess Quetzalcoatl.

Armaments:
Beam Katana x2
Kunai
35mm pulse laser rifle x2
Electron Bite Fangs
Strike Laser Claw x4

Equipment:
Optic camouflage
3D Radar
Smoke Discharger x4
Ion Booster x4

Crew: 1
Weight: 55 tons
Max Speed: 220 mph

The build:
An hmm shadow fox and the 9 tails conversion kit by Metal Plus. The paint scheme is inspired by Lucoa’s hair from Kobayashi Dragon Maid. The tails are a bit of a pain and like to fall apart or just fall off, but they look very awesome and I’m very happy I bought this kit. Let me know what you think!

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FN FS2000

Civilian model of the F2000, this is one of the first generation models that included a factory optic. Although the gun has a sci-fi and futuristic appearance, the optic is very simple and straightforward. The polymer housing flows with the rest of the rifle’s lines to give an integrated silhouette but remove the top cover and it just looks like someone put a cheap little scope on it. If I’m not mistaken, all of the factory optic equipped rifles were black, even though FN sold an OD Green FS2000. (GRH)

Materials are lefties too

Southpaw: Barack Obama, surely the world’s most famous left-hander. 

Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie and Alan Turing – there’s a trait that all four trailblazers share apart from their remarkable influence on science, and today we celebrate it. Southpaw throw your hand up with pride – it’s Left Handers Day.

10% of the human population are left-handed – a club that boasts four of the last five US Presidents. The American inventor Christopher Latham Sholes made life a little easier for his fellow lefties when he invented the typewriter – a way to write that eliminated the left-hander’s pen-and-paper fist smudge dilemma. And Fidel Castro is a man of the left in more ways than one.

But it’s not only people that can be left-handed. In fact, you don’t even need hands to be left-handed. Stay with me… I’m talking about left-handed materials, otherwise known as negative index metamaterials (NIMs). This is Materials World, after all.

Refraction: The usual, positive refractive index – show with a ray of light refracted by a plastic block

The Russian physicist Victor Veselago (writing hand unknown) coined the term ‘left-handed material’ in 1967. Most of us will know a little about refraction – the bending of light as it crosses the interface between two materials. It’s a fundamental principle behind optical devices such as camera and microscope lenses – complex optical equipment is designed with materials carefully shaped to refract light in ways that focus and manipulate it as desired.

Every material, including air, has a refractive index – the measurement of how light or any other radiation propagates through it. When any electromagnetic wave (not only visual light) traverses an interface to another material with a differing refractive index, the angle of its trajectory changes.

Negative refractive index: The basic principle of negative refraction.

Glass, air, and all other natural transparent media that we know, have a positive refractive index, which means that light bends, to a different degree, in the same direction across all of them – the same direction as the flow of energy.

Veselago imagined materials with both negative electric permittivity and negative magnetic permeability – the parameters that describe how materials polarise in the presence of electric and magnetic fields. He theorised that a material with such properties would have a negative index, and 33 years later David R. Smith and a team of researchers at the University of California proved his prediction correct, creating the world’s first left-handed material.

What’s the use a left-handed material? For a start, as Eoin Redahan recently wrote, there’s the prospect of invisibility cloaks, which would work by using NIMs to redirect light.

Sir John Pendry: Pioneer of superlens theory. Wikipedia Commons.

Another key strand of research is the superlens  – a lens that can capture detail beyond those possible with materials that have a positive refractive index. This ‘perfect’ lens was first theorised by Sir John Pendry in 1999, and while engineering obstacles still need to be overcome to make it a reality, research is ongoing to develop a lens with substantially higher resolution capabilities than the microscope.

For more on the superlens, watch this video from the Institute of Physics.

So, lefties, enjoy the day in the knowledge that you can claim not only Eminem, Pele, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, Whoopi Goldberg and Ross Kemp as your own, but a whole class of wave-bending-invisibility-enabling-microscopy-revolutionising wonder materials too. I was feeling a bit ‘left’ out, until I read that us right-handers can join in by shifting our allegiance for the day. I don’t think it’s going to stick.   

Fiber-Optic Solar Toilet Turns Sewage To Plant Friend

by Michael Keller

World Water Day is coming up this Saturday. One of the event’s goals is to bring attention to the billion people who live without access to safe drinking water.

A major obstacle standing before that objective is a lack of the sanitation that would prevent human waste from polluting water supplies. One innovation, a solar-powered, fiber-optic-equipped toilet that requires no water and sanitizes sewage with high heat, is among several that are trying to fix the problem and improve public health.

Developed by engineers at University of Colorado Boulder, the system uses eight parabolic mirrors that focus sunlight onto an area the size of a postage stamp. This energy is then piped through fiber-optic cables to a reaction chamber that heats waste to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Keep reading

The High Seas Fleet and Germany’s Search for a Naval Strategy

“Germany’s future lies in the water.”

Germany’s aspirations for world power were materialized in its navy.  Kaiser Wilhelm II, before the war, had begun the process of building up Germany’s Navy, to be able one day to challenge the British, as well as the United States, for mastery of the seas.  Based on the writings of military theorists like A.T. Mahan’s influential work The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, the Kaiser hoped that his naval arms race would make Germany a leading world power.

The decision taken around 1900, German naval build-up did much to worsen Germany’s relations with Britain, which could not abide such an obvious challenge to British naval supremacy.  Admiral Tirpitz, the State Secretary of the Imperial Germany Naval Office, pursued his goals with vigor, but without regard for strategic or geographic realities.  Knowing that war with Britain would mean a blockade, Tirpitz focused on building battleships and battlecruisers that could fight a decisive battle with the Royal Navy and destroy a blockade.  However, Britain’s ports controlled the North Sea and the English Channel, meaning that in the event of war the German fleet would be bottled up from the open ocean, and unable to choose when to fight. If Britain blockaded Germany from a distance, Tirpitz’ ships would be unable to fight them without sallying out and risking everything. Furthermore, Britain responded to the challenge by outmatching Germany’s pace at constructing ships, meaning that when war came, Germany still did not threaten British naval supremacy, let alone that of Britain and France combined.

Total German naval personnel in the Kaiserliche Marine, the Imperial Navy, counted 80,000 officers and sailors, spread across 15 modern battleships, five battlecruisers, and thirty pre-dreadnought battleships, compared to Britain’s 22 dreadnoughts, nine battlecruisers, and 40 pre-dreadnoughts, respectively.  Germany also was outnumbered in terms of cruisers, 40 German to 121 British, destroyers, 90 to 221, and submarines, 31 to 73.  Nevertheless, German ships were modern, with even better optics and range-finding equipment that their British enemies, and German crews motivated and well-trained.

In the first phase of the naval war, the Royal Navy swept Germany’s ships from the waters, destroying their colonial holdings and their small service of surface raiders.  This left Germany’s main force, the High Seas Fleet, confined to port.  The German Navy wanted to fight, but the government was unwilling to risk its precious, and numerically inferior fleet, in a decisive battle with the British.  Instead, Germany concentrated on submarine warfare, and mines and torpedoes to weaken Britain’s strength until battle could be joined in Germany’s favor.  The constant presence of the German fleet also influence Britain’s naval strategists to be more cautious, prompting some Germans to argue that the fleet was better used as a “fleet-in-being” to worry the British, but never actually risked in combat.

However, as the war dragged on and the German Army proved unable to secure victory, the Navy had to justify the resources devoted to it.  Tirpitz desperately wanted to send the fleet to battle, challenging the Kaiser, who was too worried about losing his precious battleships.  In 1915 Admiral Reinhard Scheer took command of the High Seas Fleet, and pursued a more aggressive strategy to try and bait the Royal Navy into a battle closer to Germany, where German subs and mines could help take a toll on the British and limit their numerical superiority.  Scheer put his battleships to sea twice in early 1916 to coax the British into battle, once in March and again in April.  Both times, the British, deployed as a result of timely intelligence, just missed intercepting the German ships.  At the end of May 1916, the two sides finally would make contact, leading the war’s only major naval battle, the Battle of Jutland.