Talking over a beam of light: electro-optics suitable for K-12

Michael J. Nofziger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


A kit of electro-optical components is described which, when assembled and aligned, allows one to transmit voice signals over a beam of light. The kits were developed for TOPTICS '92, an optics convention held in the city of Tucson to showcase local optical companies and education opportunities to the public-at-large. One aspect of the convention was to involve school children with the world of optics. These kits proved to be an excellent way to link educators and their students with parents, optics professionals, and even the local media. The kits consist of all the necessary electrical components to build a transmitter (using an LED) and a receiver (using a phototransistor). The circuits are assembled on an electronic breadboard which is part of the storage case for the parts themselves. Optically, the light beam is collimated and focused using inexpensive Fresnel lenses. Distances over which one's voice may be sent are variable, determined by one's ability in optical alignment. Students in the 5th grade were the first to use the kits, sending their voices about 200 feet. The educational success of these kits is described in this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)0819418846, 9780819418845
StatePublished - 1995
Event1995 Int. Conference on Education in Optics - San Diego, CA, USA
Duration: Jul 9 1995Jul 10 1995


Other1995 Int. Conference on Education in Optics
CitySan Diego, CA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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