Comic-Con Report: Spectra Sound and Fun With Lasers

Geek Culture

While walking through the massive exhibit hall today, I was handed a couple of sample comics as I passed by a booth. I was about to put them in my bag when I noticed that they were from the American Physical Society; one was about Spectra the Laser Girl and the other was about Nikola Tesla (battling the nefarious Thomas Edison). I backtracked so I could find out more. Physicist Rebecca Thompson-Flagg, dressed as Spectra, explained that they made some fun superhero comics that also teach a little science. Spectra has all the powers that actual lasers do, and the Tesla-inspired comic is more of a non-fiction piece that shows what an interesting character Tesla really was.

But what I thought was particularly cool was this little device demonstrated in the video above. (Apologies for the poor sound quality; the exhibit hall is not a quiet place.) Here’s the gist: the SpectraSound is a little assemble-it-yourself kit that plugs into the audio-out port of your iPod or other audio device, and sends it to a small laser pointer. The device modulates the laser, which is then received by a solar cell attached to an audio jack that you can plug into a speaker across the room, or down the hall, or around a corner reflected in a mirror. Basically, you can send audio across pretty great distances with a laser! Pretty awesome.

The kit is $15 and is available here. For more about Spectra, visit Physics Central.

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