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Physics Activity: Binoculars

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Sarah Benson

on 24 November 2014

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Transcript of Physics Activity: Binoculars

Grade 10 Physics Culminating Activity:
How Binoculars Were First Invented
Many inventors have claimed to have invented the binoculars, and although the credit for the creation of the modern hand-held binoculars goes to Johann Zahn, his invention could not have been possible without the earlier scientific breakthroughs in the field of optical devices. Key inventors such as Galileo Galilei, Hans Lippershey, Cherubin d'Orleans, and Anton van Leeuwenhoek all had discoveries that were beneficial to the invention of the modern hand-held binoculars.
The Process of How Binoculars Work
Hand-held binoculars are simply two small telescopes joined together side by side. When binoculars are pointed at a distant object, the light rays from the object hit the objective lens, which then picks up the rays and produces a focused image. The image is then sent through the smaller lens and is magnified. Following magnification, the image is flipped and sent to the eyepiece, making an enlarged 3D image that the viewer can see. Binoculars also have a pair of prisms (large pieces of glass), inside them to rotate the image to the proper orientation [1]. The prisms can be arranged in either a back-to-back formation known as Roof prisms, or at 90 degrees known as Porro prisms [1]. The prisms are why binoculars are so often heavy and chunky in the middle. Porro prism binoculars are the most common type and use an offset prism arrangement. Roof prism binoculars are more compact because they use prisms with complex shapes to eliminate the offset formation. Binoculars are typically used to magnify the image of an object 6 to 12 times larger. They are rated by both the magnification they produce and the diameter (in millimetres) of the objective lens [5].The larger the objective lens, the greater the ability to gather light. For example, 6x30 binoculars would magnify the image six times greater and have an objective lens of 30mm in diameter.
Future Applications of Binoculars
Binoculars can be applied to a variety of different scenarios and are able to assist. The future that lays ahead for the continued development of binoculars is a bright one with many advancements already being made. Within the last decade, the United States military has experimented with innovations of the modern hand-held binoculars, creating what has been called "binoculars on steroids" [2]. This new application of the binocular technology is known as the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS), and is basically comprised of a high-powered video camera that is mounted on a tripod with a field of view of 120 degrees, which works along side an electroencephalogram (EGG) cap that is worn on a soldier's head [2]. The CT2WS's purpose is to detect potential threats faster using the brain signals from the soldier using the system. Sources say that the binoculars yield a 91% success rate in training exercises, although they have not been used in live situations as of yet [2]. Possibly in the future, further advancements can be made to reinforce the design of the CT2WS and make it a reality.
Modern Uses of Binoculars
Bird Watching: nature lovers can see various wildlife species with ease and good visibility
Hunting: hunters can efficiently kill an animal, by using either a scope attached to a rifle or a spotter with binoculars
Sports: sports fans can see the match up close with great clarity by using binoculars if they are far away like up in the top seats in a stadium
Coin Operated Viewers: provide scenic views with clear vision and magnification at tourist attractions/public areas
Military/Navy: useful for surveillance, to see incoming threats, and monitor posts[7]
Astronomy: used to observe outer space in order to learn more about the planets, stars, etc. [7]
Scientific Research: helps scientists such as geologists, and meteorologists to understand environmental occurrences
How Binoculars Have Changed/Improved Since First Development
Early optical lenses were crude with many imperfections, and mainly made out of glass. Later models used quartz which gave a clearer image but was difficult to manipulate. Reductions in the weight of the hand-held binoculars occurred with the use of aluminum or polycarbonate housing instead of the heavier metals used before 1860. Performances of smaller and larger binoculars have improved with the introduction of coating, making the lenses non-reflective and reducing the amount of scattered light. The quality of prisms has also improved over the centuries, resulting in a reduced bubbling of the optical glass [4]. In the early 1970's, nitrogen filled waterproof binoculars were developed, then almost a decade later infrared transmitters, capable of seeing in the dark arrived, which further transformed modern binocular technology. Variable magnification models were also introduced allowing the user to adjust the level of magnification to suit their needs [4]. The hand-held binocular has been improved upon immensely since its development during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Advantages of Binoculars
incredibly handy [3]
very versatile [3]
portable and ideal size [3]
convenient for hunters, bird watchers, hikers, & sports fans
can be useful for a variety of scientists including geologists, meteorologists, etc. [7]
have applications that are practical for the military & navy [7]
provides a wide field of view [3]
Disadvantages of Binoculars
limited magnification [3]
best quality binoculars are not easily portable[3]
Porro prism binoculars are not very durable and are prone to dust & water leaks [3]
Roof prism binoculars cannot provide as high quality images [3]
Binoculars can be very expensive
By: Sarah Benson
In 1702, Johann Zahn invented the first hand-held binoculars, using two tubes and a flexible linkage [4]. It is possible that Zahn's invention used Galileo's optical system, although later binoculars used convex lenses as eyepieces for greater magnification. A patent application submitted by Ignazio Porro in 1854 began the use of the modern prism binocular called the Porro prism erecting system [4]. The system consisted of an objective lens and ocular lens (eyepiece) with two facing, 90 degree prisms arranged to invert and correctly orient the image. Another commonly used prism system is the Roof prism design. The Roof system uses prisms positioned one over the other resulting in a more compact design.
Hand-held Binoculars
Illustration of the CT2WS Binoculars
Work Cited
[1] Woodford, Chris. "Binoculars." Explain That Stuff! 12 May 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. www.explainthatstuff.com/binoculars.html

[2] Drummond, Katie. "Military's "Luke Skywalker" Binoculars Use Brain Waves To Spot Threats." Forbes. 18 Sept. 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/katiedrummond/2012/09/18/darpa-threat-recognition/

[3] Johnson, Steve. "Advantages & Disadvantages of Binoculars." EHow. 22 Aug. 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. www.ehow.com/info_8349987_advantages-disadvantages-binoculars.html

[4] Author, Unknown. "Binocular." How Products Are Made: Volume 7. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. www.madehow.com/Volume-7/Binocular.html

[5] Author, Unknown. "Binoculars." HowStuffWorks. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. science.howstuffworks.com/binoculars-info.htm

[6] Author, Unknown. "The Development of Binoculars and Telescopes." Binoculars - History, Design, and Choosing. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. www.oocities.org/peterochocki/binocs/binocs.htm

[7] Author, Unknown. "What Are Binoculars?" WiseGEEK. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. www.wisegeek.com/what-are-binoculars.htm
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