Medical Innovation with Synthetic Hydrogel

A group of scientists, engineers, and physicists at McGill University hope to improve the
recovery period from various surgeries with the use of a synthetic hydrogel biomaterial. The hydrogel
can theoretically repair muscles including heart tissue and vocal cords. The challenge was to make
biomaterial strong enough to be protective, while being able to withstand the body’s everyday
movements. The gel would work by creating a protective barrier around the surgical area, allowing
healthy cells to replicate within the organ as they typically would. If this biomaterial becomes fully
approved, it will be the first of its kind to exist.

Testing of this new synthetic is extensive and thorough. One of the key challenges was making
certain that the hydrogel would not lose its structure without inhibiting tissue growth. Liquids can be
very dense preventing cells from passing through. The team added a porous polymer that would allow
living cells to move freely around the healing area. Getting approval to use this gel would be a
monumental innovation for medicine. The hope is that it can be utilized in fighting a wide variety of
health concerns.

To read more from McGill, click here.
Click here, to read past blog posts about innovations.

SpaceX SAOCOM 1B and Starlink Satellites Launch

SpaceX made strides yet again this past weekend with its 100th rocket space flight when they launched their remote sensor satellite from the Falcon 9 rocket. The $600 million orbital launch on Sunday, August 31st, was successfully launched in Florida; this is the first launch of its kind from Florida in several decades. The purpose of this SAOCOM 1B satellite is to study what could be impacting the agricultural sector as an educated hypothesis. The satellite will take readings of the Earth’s rotation, soil and dust samples, and the Earth’s orbit from the sun. 

Starlink Satellites Stacked together before their deployment.
Starlink Satellites Stacked together before their deployment.

The agricultural moisture mapping will monitor the soil 1 meter below the surface level. The satellite will work in tandem with another Italian satellite designed to the same task launched in 2018. With this study, it is hoped that things like soil quality density and makeup can be better measured to continue to help the environment is much as possible. 

However, during that same day, a launch was delayed due to weather: The SpaceX Starlink program. The program is intended to give the world massive satellite Internet and Wi-Fi capabilities in the future. SpaceX later tweeted that the next opportunity to launch the Starlink satellite was on Thursday, September 3rd, in the morning. UPDATE: The Starlink satellite launched at 8:46 am EDT from Launch Complex 39A.

Richard Johnson: Pinhole Photographer

Pinhole photography and black-and-white photographs can be a perfect marriage of aesthetic style and simplistic beauty. After over 44 years chasing this passion, nobody knows that better than pinhole photographer Richard A. Johnson. Richard explained his passion in 2012 in a speech called “A Journey into the World of Pinhole Photography” at Lenox Laser’s 3rd Light Seminar. The world through those lenses provided by Lenox Laser was and still is an unbelievably fascinating thing.

In Richard’s experience, he would travel throughout the West Coast, looking for what he would call the “land of enchantment”. Richard described these places as locations where the meaning of “land of enchantment” would take on an almost tangible feeling, ameliorating the appearance of world around him. Out of all of the beauties of nature captured through those lenses, none compared to his time in New Mexico with “The White Place”.

Photograph courtesy of Richard Johnson

One of Richard’s favorite structures in New Mexico to shoot was known as “The White Place” in Plaza Blanco: Upon traveling the West Coast, he came to these massive, white towers of stone with only a 5 x 7 Lenox-Laser-pinhole camera — an idea that made Richard nervous. The reason for the nervousness ranged from the possibility of light leaks to the holder not seated right in the camera. Despite the potential problems, the towering beauty of the natural stone structures captured by the Kodak T-max 100 film rivaled any 500-foot-tall building or structure. After a one day visit to this majestic place, he knew that in time he would have to return to see its epic beauty once again.

Lenox Laser was thrilled and honored to be part of Richard a Johnson’s photographic journey by letting us into his world by modifying a pinhole camera for him. It was also tremendous of him to give such a rousing speech with such passion at Lenox Laser.

To get started with pinhole photography, check out DayStar Laser.

To learn more about his craft, please visit his speech.

Dirk Fletcher: Pinhole Photography

In 1888, the Kodak Corporation established the phrase “You press the button, we do the rest” – leading to the beginning of photography as a hobby for the average American. Interestingly, the Kodak name was born for the sound the shutter of the camera would make, trying to mimic the word Kodak.  Finally, the power to capture clear frames of time was attainable. Still, some – like Dirk Fletcher – strived to redefine what a picture was. From an early age, Dirk altered his father’s cameras to mimic the rise of pinhole cameras. Light passing through a camera’s aperture produced an inverted image expanded the realm of photography. What is now its own subfield of photography started with a deviant trend among photographers to use lower quality cameras for capturing moments.

Despite all the advancements made in photography in recent history, such as the ability to capture 4k photos, Dirk stated people were attracted to the idea of using lo-fi cameras. Such low-quality cameras not only presented a challenge for everyone but also created different results: Out-of-focus, sun-flared, and pronounced vignette photos captured the eyes of not only amateurs but professional photographers as well. Even with cheap Russian knock-offs, the lo-fi photography following exploded not only on social media but also on the commercial market; stores in places like New York and San Francisco stocked their shelves with less-than-average cameras for sale. This astonishing development influenced Dirk and others explore more different methods for capturing moments. With his father’s old cameras, Dirk delved into pinhole photography. 

Dirk stated that his fascination with photography really began with his father developing photos in a dark room on paper and film negatives. From that time forward, he would explore multiple outlets to expand his knowledge of pinhole photography, but a lot of his knowledge came from first-hand experience, such as Dirk’s time with the Fuji 300, a modified Polaroid 200 with adjustable lenses for optimum quality of images. In the present, he found that modern cameras, such as Canon’s DSLRs, for pinhole photography gave the photographer a few advantages over previous models: Faster capturing and digitally inverting the image led to not only better photos but an overall better experience for most users. With modern technology, pinhole photography is now more popular and easier than ever before.                 Pinhole photography has become an ever-growing art form among photographers all over the world. It is, in a sense, a way for photographs to keep up with the “motion” of a person’s endless imagination. To learn more about pinhole photography and Dirk Fletcher please visit Dirk Fletcher’s website or his talk at Lenox here. If you need pinhole caps for your camera, you can find some here.

Steven Sasson, Inventor of the First Digital Camera

Today, humanity lives in the throes of a digital world that is evolving at a rapid pace – everything from streaming to gaming and especially digital photography. We often capture meaningful moments through the use of photos – a frozen reminder of one’s memories. Some, like Steven J. Sasson, possess the passion for capturing such instances. Mr. Sasson’s interest led to the origin of the modern camera as we know it today. In his speech “Disruptive Innovation – The Story of the First Digital Camera,” he begins with a morning in the 1970s at the headquarters of Kodak.

The idea of the digital camera, as Mr. Sasson would express in his speech – that at the time of the early 1970s – was a pipe dream. Mr. Sasson joined Eastman Kodak in 1973. However, the team did not have the budget to complete the goal, so Sasson and his team of electrical engineers used top-secret devices and tests like Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) and National Television System Committee (NTSC) TVs. The first completed prototype was comprised of only five parts and weighed 8 pounds. With the help of analog-to-digital converters, massive flat space, and even the earliest cameras, the playback system of NTSC TVs allowed the team to see results in 1975. Despite the completion of one prototype, the secrecy of this project had to be maintained; Sasson emphasized how ahead of his time the project was.

The first major meeting of minds took place in front of Kodak in 1977 and was a success to the point of being given a patent. The first professional commercial camera was released in 1989. Apple would even join the market in 1994 – asking for digital cameras from Kodak. It’s inspiring to think that our biggest failures at times can lead to innovation beyond our wildest dreams.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the 3rd light seminar held at Lenox Laser; we were incredibly proud to host and be a part of it. May innovation and knowledge continue to give humanity a positive boost into the future.

Dr. John C Mather’s History of the Universe in a Nutshell: From the Big Bang to Life and the End of Time

Scientists have been studying the beginnings of humankind, Earth, and all other bodies within space because an understanding of the past can help predict the future. In 2006, Dr. John C. Mather – the Nobel laureate – improved our understanding of the Big Bang Theory and, therefore, our knowledge of us and the universe. Following his success as a physicist in October 2011, he came to Lenox Laser’s 30th anniversary as a keynote speaker. His speech – titled “History of the Universe in a Nutshell: From the Big Bang to Life and the End of Time” – outlined not only his work with understanding the beginning of life but also predictions for the end.

In the speech, Dr. Mather discussed how scientists for the past 100 years have been debating and discussing the origins of the universe, all-around one fact – the ever expansion of space. Edwin Hubble, in 1929, published his finding of the universe growing. There was, however, still the question of how this could be. At Bell Labs in 1965, they predicted that the universe was bouncing from cold to hot to facilitate the growth of new stars, planets, and more. An ever-expanding universe, as theorized by Dr. Mather, could lead to the merging of Earth and our Sun within a billion years’ time – meaning humans could no longer inhabit the burning worlds. This led to the theory that is accepted today by relevant scientists – the Big Bang Theory – and to Dr. Mather’s work and Nobel Prize.

To test the validity of the Big Bang Theory, Dr. Mather set out to make a satellite that would measure cosmic heat and light in the oldest galaxies. A comparison to the predictions as a result of the Big Bang matched with the measurements found by Dr. Mather and his team. Even Stephen Hawking proclaimed it as one of the most important discoveries of the century, if not all time. With Hawking’s endorsement and the results of their discovery, Dr. Mather and colleges won the Nobel Prize and led the path for more scientists to explore the Big Bang further.

Another advancement constructed by Dr. Mather and his team is the James Webb telescope. His reason for building a massive telescope is to see the formation of new galaxies to support the Big Bang Theory further. Dr. Mather’s team plans on making it be close to Earth, block out the Sun’s rays, and to be big enough to see far out enough to see the beginnings of new stars. At the time of Dr. Mather’s speech it is theorized that it would be completed in 2018; it was completed and fully assembled for the first time in August 2019.

We at Lenox Laser were privileged to have Dr. Mather give the speech on the Big Bang and the end of time. You can see Dr. Mather’s full lecture at the International Institute of Optics website and check out our blog about the James Webb telescope as well as the NASA website.

Dr. Charles H Townes

What separates humans from other life forms is the ability not only to think but to reason, to combine both recursive and combination modes of cognizance. Throughout the history of humanity, not all inventions, discoveries, and miracles arose from the hard work of humankind. From Columbus’ accidental discovery of the Americas to the discovery of the transistor from work on a semi-conductor amplifier by another employee of Bell Labs, all support the observation made by the Nobel laureate Dr. Charles H. Townes: Inventions are often the indirect results of one human’s quest for knowledge.

In his later years, he reflected upon his invention of the Maser in a talk with Lenox Laser. His “How New Things Happen” speech started out with recounting his time working during the Second World War: Bell Labs, his employer, assigned him to work with radar to aid the conflict. It was during this time that he had the idea of creating the shortest radar in terms of wavelength – a feat to push the wavelength into the area of light.

After the war, he tried his luck with his idea only for it to fail, but this failure led to his research with molecules and later with Columbia University. His continued work at Columbia also led to failure. Then, the United States Navy called for his expertise in the field of radar. A year of traveling the country later and Dr. Townes was still without answers until his last day of work with the Navy led to him considering new ways to complete his goals. With his equations written down on a piece a paper in his pocket, he returned to Columbia University.

Dr. Townes and his students continued his work on shortening the wavelength of radar. Dr. Townes grew frustrated with his work, but he wasn’t the only one; his Nobel-winning colleges told him that he was wasting the department’s time and money on his invention. One day, as he was teaching the class, a student by the name of Jim Gordon burst into the classroom, saying that the oscillator had worked in amplifying molecules. He and his students then came up with the name “Maser” – Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission Radiation.

His discovery led to the further improvement of the device along with the creation of new instruments called lasers. Years of failure and doubt led to the accidental development of the Maser from his work with radar, and Dr. Charles H. Townes happily reflected that his work created the laser industry. Our work within the field of laser drilling and laser micromachining would not have been possible without the hard work and the accidental discovery of the Maser. It would seem even in Dr. Townes’ invention that his observation stood true. If you are interested in watching or reading about the talk given by Dr. Townes to Lenox Laser, please click this link.

CCIT Capabilities

CCIT evaluates the integrity of container closure systems that maintain a sterile barrier against potential contaminants. Contaminants that could cross a container closure barrier include microorganisms and reactive gases. It is an integral part of the pharmaceutical and other critical packaging industries. Lenox Laser laser drills precision calibrated leaks for CCI testing purposes. We can laser drill holes in almost all types of packaging containers.

There are three major hole locations on a typical pharmaceutical vial. The top of the bottle near the cap known as the head point, the midsection of the bottle simply called mid body, and the bottom of the body. While these are the most common locations, we are ready to fill any specific customer requests. For custom solutions request a quote by clicking here.

We have the capability to drill microholes in more than just vials; Lenox Laser can produce calibrated leaks in all kinds of critical packaging. We also laser drill a multitude of different materials such as different types of glass, metal, and many varieties of plastic with holes as small as half a micron. At Lenox Laser, we can drill holes in any container type, material, or location the customer may desire.

Click here to learn more about Container Closure Integrity Testing.

Click here to Request a Quote and talk to expert about a custom solution.

Lenox Laser Website FAQs

At Lenox laser we strive to make an intuitive user experience. We will be revamping our FAQ section to reflect some recent changes on the website. As always, you can find email, fax and phone numbers at the bottom of the website. For ordering products, when you find the product you want, just add to the cart and fill out your customer information.

As in years past, customers will still need to create a free account to use our online orifice calculator. Customers can also request a quote and custom sizing by hovering over contact us on the top right of the page, also you can hover over the optical products tab and click custom solutions and you’ll land right on the form. Clicking on Lenox orifices on the top banner the page and then clicking custom solutions is also another method. Clicking contact us will give you phone numbers to the shop as well as directions. We hope you find this information useful.

The FAQs can be found here or in the top menu of the desktop site.

CCIT Services

                Container closure integrity testing, or CCIT provides needed confidence in the integrity in pharmaceutical, chemical, and food packaging. Lenox Laser’s pioneering nature has expanded into this field over the past decade.

                Lenox Laser strives to deliver a controlled metric or standard using micro holes in pharmaceutical and critical packaging. These micro holes or calibrated leaks can be drilled in a variety of pharmaceutical packaging such as pill bottles, glass or plastic vials, and syringes. The leaks can be put into various locations and are each individually calibrated. Lenox Laser’s process of flow calibration and verification can be comprised of multiple steps and phases; each integral part along with the final assembly of the product is validated using these multi-step procedures. Lenox Laser also supplies special cross-calibration services through the mixed use of optical, mechanical, or flow calibration methods as means of validation and verification.

                For more information about Lenox Laser’s calibrated leak services please click here to contact us or call at 1 (800) 49-HOLES.

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