(Credit: Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
The idea of focusing the sun’s rays into a concentrated beam of heat using a magnifying glass is so well known that all you have to do is say “ants under a magnifying glass” to conjure the image of a torturing bully.
Backyard tinkerer Grant Thompson isn’t a bully, but he does have a giant magnifying glass. More specifically, he has a Fresnel lens — that is, a giant lens made of corrugated concentric circles adapted from an old rear-projection TV.
Now, Fresnel lenses are pretty powerful. We’ve already seen industrial designer Marcus Kayser use one to create a solar-powered 3D printer for sand.
What we hadn’t seen was someone use one to blow up a beer bottle, incinerate a piece of wood, or melt a stack of coins. Probably because these are actually prett… [Read more]
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