Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Cathode ray tube


Tachistoscopes allow brief visual stimulation delivery, which is crucial for experiments in which subliminal presentation is required. Up to now, tachistoscopes have had shortcomings with respect to timing accuracy, reliability, and flexibility of use. Here, we present a new and inexpensive two-channel tachistoscope that allows for exposure durations in the submillisecond range with an extremely high timing accuracy. The tachistoscope consists of two standard liquid-crystal display (LCD) monitors of the light-emitting diode (LED) backlight type, a semipermeable mirror, a mounting rack, and an experimental personal computer (PC). The monitors have been modified to provide external access to the LED backlights, which are controlled by the PC via the standard parallel port. Photodiode measurements confirmed reliable operation of the tachistoscope and revealed switching times of 3 μs. Our method may also be of great advantage in single-monitor setups, in which it allows for manipulating the stimulus timing with submillisecond precision in many experimental situations. Where this is not applicable, the monitor can be operated in standard mode by disabling the external backlight control instantaneously.

Concepts: Light-emitting diode, Liquid crystal display, Diode, Personal computer, Cathode ray tube, Backlight, Gamut, Parallel port


Light emitting diode (LED)-backlit liquid crystal displays (LCDs) hold the promise of improving image quality while reducing the energy consumption with signal-dependent local dimming. However, most existing local dimming algorithms are mostly motivated by simple implementation, and they often lack concern for visual quality. To fully realize the potential of LED-backlit LCDs and reduce the artifacts that often occur in current systems, we propose a novel local dimming technique that can achieve the theoretical highest fidelity of intensity reproduction in either l(1) or l(2) metrics. Both the exact and fast approximate versions of the optimal local dimming algorithm are proposed. Simulation results demonstrate superior performances of the proposed algorithm in terms of visual quality and power consumption.

Concepts: Energy, Light-emitting diode, Lighting, Liquid crystal display, Liquid crystal, Cathode ray tube, Backlight, Gamut


The technology used in the manufacturing of televisions and monitors has been changing in recent years. Monitors with liquid crystal displays (LCD) emerged in the market with the aim of replacing cathode ray tube monitors. As a result, the disposal of this type of product, which is already very high, will increase. Thus, without accurate knowledge of the components and materials present in an LCD monitor, the recycling of materials, such as mercury, thermoplastic polymers, glasses, metals and precious metals amongst others, is not only performed, but allows contamination of soil, water and air with the liberation of toxic compounds present in this type of waste when disposed of improperly. Therefore, the objective of this study was to disassemble and characterize the materials in this type of waste, identify the composition, amount and form to enable, in further work, the development of recycling routes. After various tests and analyses, it was observed that an LCD display can be recycled, provided that precautions are taken. Levels of lead, fluoride and copper are above those permitted by the Brazilian law, characterizing this residue as having a high pollution potential. The materials present in printed circuit boards (base and precious metals)-thermoplastics, such as polyethylene terephthalate, acrylic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and polycarbonate and metals, such as steel and aluminum, and a layer of indium (in the internal face of the glass)-are components that make a point in terms of their potential for recycling.

Concepts: Liquid crystal display, Recycling, Liquid crystal, Thermoplastic, Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, Polyethylene terephthalate, Printed circuit board, Cathode ray tube


Life cycle assessment (LCA) was applied to hydrometallurgical treatments carried out using a new portable prototype plant for the recovery of valuable metals from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The plant was fed with the WEEE residues from physical processes for the recycling of fluorescent lamps, cathode ray tubes (CRTs), Li-ion accumulators and printed circuit boards (PCBs). Leaching with sulfuric acid was carried out, followed by metal recovery by selective precipitation. A final step of wastewater treatment with lime was performed. The recovered metals included yttrium, zinc, cobalt, lithium, copper, gold and silver. The category of global warming potential was the most critical one considering the specifications for southern European territories, with 13.3 kg CO2/kg recovered metal from the powders/residues from fluorescent lamps, 19.2 kg CO2/kg from CRTs, 27.0 kg CO2/kg from Li-ion accumulators and 25.9 kg CO2/kg from PCBs. Data also show that metal extraction steps have the highest load for the environment. In general, these processes appear beneficial for the environment in terms of CO2 emissions, especially for metal recovery from WEEE residues from fluorescent lamps and CRTs.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Zinc, Copper, Impact assessment, Global warming, Electronic waste, Printed circuit board, Cathode ray tube


Many subjects experience ocular and visual symptoms during computer use. Previous studies have reported a reduced blink rate during computer operation and suggested that this may account for some of the symptoms, particularly dry eye. However, these earlier investigations failed to include an appropriate control condition. To determine whether it is computer screen viewing that produces the change in blink rate, the present study compared blink patterns when reading from either a desktop computer monitor or a hard copy printed text under equivalent viewing conditions.

Concepts: Time, Computer, Computer monitor, Personal computer, Cathode ray tube


This note looks into the reasons why earlier reports may have arrived at differing conclusions about pigeons' capacity to categorize bilaterally symmetric and asymmetric visual patterns. Attention is drawn to pigeons' comparatively superior visual flicker resolution and superior visual linear acuity by reporting results of two ad-hoc experiments. This circumstance turns out to constrain conclusions drawn by earlier symmetry-asymmetry studies that used computer-generated patterns displayed on cathode ray tube monitors as these suffered from pictorial distortions. Additionally one of the studies involved patterns of inconsistent symmetry at global and local levels. A smaller-scale experiment using slide-projected unequivocal symmetric and asymmetric patterns yielded results compatible with the supposition that pigeons are capable of a symmetry-asymmetry categorization. The possibility that an artfactual cue may have inadvertently accentuated this capability in an earlier own experiment is considered.

Concepts: Symmetry, Experiment, Logic, Categorization, Aesthetics, Symmetric relation, Cathode ray tube, Cathode ray


In 1970, a report from the former Soviet Union described the “microwave syndrome” among military personnel, working with radio and radar equipment, who showed symptoms that included fatigue, dizziness, headaches, problems with concentration and memory, and sleep disturbances. Similar symptoms were found in the 1980s among Swedes working in front of cathode ray tube monitors, with symptoms such as flushing, burning, and tingling of the skin, especially on the face, but also headaches, dizziness, tiredness, and photosensitivity. The same symptoms are reported in Finns, with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) being attributed to exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF). Of special concern is involuntary exposure to radiofrequency (RF)-EMF from different sources. Most people are unaware of this type of exposure, which has no smell, color, or visibility. There is an increasing concern that wireless use of laptops and iPads in Swedish schools, where some have even abandoned textbooks, will exacerbate the exposure to EMF.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Sleep deprivation, Sweden, Fatigue, Radio, Soviet Union, Cathode ray tube


A new approach for quantifying the net environmental impact of a ‘community’ of interrelated products is demonstrated for consumer electronics owned by an average U.S. household over a 15-year period (1992-2007). This consumption-weighted life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology accounts for both product consumption (number of products per household) and impact (cumulative energy demand (MJ) per product), as analyzed using a hybrid LCA framework. While many individual devices have reduced impacts over time (on a ‘per product’ basis), increased usage, introduction of new technologies, and growing product consumption creates a net increase on a ‘per community’ basis. The net energy impact of the U.S. community of household electronics is significant, nearly 30% of the average annual fuel consumed by a passenger vehicle in 2007. The analysis points to a large contribution by legacy products (cathode ray tube televisions and desktop computers), due to historically high consumption rates, although impacts have begun to shift to smaller mobile devices. This method is also applied to evaluate prospective intervention strategies, indicating that environmental impact reduction can be achieved by strategies like lifespan extension or energy efficiency, but only when applied to all products owned, or by transforming consumption trends towards fewer, highly multi-functional products.

Concepts: Vacuum tube, Diode, Electronics, Impact assessment, Life cycle assessment, Electronic engineering, Cathode ray tube, Industrial ecology


Vision unfolds as an intricate pattern of information processing over time. Studying vision and visual cognition therefore requires precise manipulations of the timing of visual stimulus presentation. Although standard computer display technologies offer great accuracy and precision of visual presentation, their temporal resolution is limited. This limitation stems from the fact that the presentation of rendered stimuli has to wait until the next refresh of the computer screen. We present a novel method for presenting visual stimuli with ultrahigh temporal resolution (<1 ms) on newly available gaming monitors. The method capitalizes on the G-Sync technology, which allows for presenting stimuli as soon as they have been rendered by the computer's graphics card, without having to wait for the next screen refresh. We provide software implementations in the three programming languages C++, Python (using PsychoPy2), and Matlab (using Psychtoolbox3). For all implementations, we confirmed the ultrahigh temporal resolution of visual presentation with external measurements by using a photodiode. Moreover, a psychophysical experiment revealed that the ultrahigh temporal resolution impacts on human visual performance. Specifically, observers' object recognition performance improved over fine-grained increases of object presentation duration in a theoretically predicted way. Taken together, the present study shows that the G-Sync-based presentation method enables researchers to investigate visual processes whose data patterns were concealed by the low temporal resolution of previous technologies. Therefore, this new presentation method may be a valuable tool for experimental psychologists and neuroscientists studying vision and its temporal characteristics.

Concepts: Time, Visual perception, Computer, Accuracy and precision, Computer monitor, Programming language, Object-oriented programming, Cathode ray tube


Respiratory effort belt measurement is a widely used method to monitor respiration. Signal waveforms of respiratory volume and flow may indicate pathological signs of several diseases and, thus, it would be highly desirable to predict them accurately. Calibrated effort belts are sufficiently accurate for estimating respiratory rate, but the respiratory volume and flow prediction accuracies degrade considerably with changes in the subject’s body position and breathing style.

Concepts: Scientific method, Quantum mechanics, Measurement, Metrology, Mass, Test method, Cathode ray tube