High technologies sometimes gather dust under our feet, but they can find new uses. For example, Blu-ray discs never became popular – and as a result, the players for playing them also turned into unnecessary trash. But in vain – an enthusiast from the world of technology under the pseudonym Dr. Volt showed how you can convert an old player into an excellent laser microscope.
The principle of operation of a laser microscope and a player is the same – the emitted laser beam, when reflected from the surface, loses part of its power, which is recorded by a special sensor. Based on this, the system determines what was at the point where the beam was directed. In the players, everything is deliberately simplified so that the output signal is interpreted as 1 or 0, but in fact the optical sensor is not binary, it measures the brightness of the laser beam with great accuracy.
Dr. Volt used the components of a Blu-ray player to create a device that irradiates the surface of an object with a laser beam and captures the change in its brightness at each point. There are 16,129 in total, resulting in a 512×512 pixel image. In this way, it is possible to form an image with an accuracy of 5 micrometers. This is much less than that of commercial laser microscopes, but their cost is very high, while in this case the analogue of the microscope is assembled, in fact, from useless man-made waste.