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New Horizons II

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Old Saturday 13th July 2019, 17:08   #1
Omid
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New Horizons II

I wrote an inspirational post here a few days ago but it has been removed (don't know why?) So, here I write a new one:

I have been a member of Birforum since 2004. I joined just to read and participate in the binoculars discussions. I still remember the day I joined the form nearly 15 years ago: It was a cold depressing day in Toronto and I was a newly employed "junior scientist" at a high-tech company. My academic background is electrical engineering but I have diverse interests in optics, photography, nature, hunting and astronomy as well. Over the years and thanks to reading posts in this forum, my knowledge of optics and binoculars improved. I also moved to Palm Beach in Florida which was sunny, nice and much more inspiring than Toronto. One night, about 10 years ago, I was lonely and bored and was just browsing through the book "Optics" by Hecht (a well-known Optics text book), it then occurred to me that it could be possible to use a fiber optic plate in a telescope. This idea inspired me to make some tests and it turned out that I was right. I then started learning about patents and how I could write and submit an application. It took me a year to write my first patent application. After I submitted it, it took 4 more years and a lot of correspondence with the patent office to get the patent approved. But the exercise was worthwhile: it encouraged me to think about other ideas ad as months and years past I become more productive in coming up with new and innovative ideas pertaining to binoculars, spotting scopes and rifle scopes.

Fast forward to 2019: Now I live in Los Angeles, California and have 9 granted patents in optics. Since about two months ago, I have made "inventions in optics" my full-time job. I feel excited and I hope I can make useful and meaningful improvements to visual optical instruments.

Birdforum has been a great source of inspiration for me and I am very thankful for several constructive discussions that I had with highly knowledgeable members such ad Dr. Holger Merlitz on the topics related to binocular vision.

So, here I am: Electrical engineer turned optical inventor! Optics is an infinitely vast field. I encourage you to think and consider ways where binoculars could be improved. It is no longer a secrete that image quality of binoculars have reached their peak and the new SV, HD, ED, HT, 4K and ... lines represent "marketing innovations" rather than a significant change in performance. But image quality is not everything about binoculars: binoculars are a "visual interface" between the human eyes and the outside world so there is still room for R&D

I hope this forum continues to be a source of constructive discussions and inspiration.

Cheers to you all from Playa Vista, CA,
-Omid
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Old Tuesday 23rd July 2019, 02:45   #2
Omid
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Now a little bit about what I have done in sports optics so far:

The bulk of my work has been related to riflescopes but I do have inventions pertaining to binoculars too. One of my designs is a telescope with expanded exit pupil. The exit pupil in this invention does not follow the fundamental rule (EP Diameter = Objective-Diameter/Magnification). It is much larger, practically as large as the diameter of the ocular (see attached picture).


The position of the exist pupil is not always well-defined in this invention but we could assume that eye-relief is infinite since the exact position of the eye behind the eyepiece is no longer critical. If this invention is incorporated in binoculars, it will make it much easier for the elderly and children to use them.


In another invention, I have designed binoculars whose "binocular field of view" is more than their "monocular field of view". In conventional binoculars, the binocular field of view is more than monocular field of view of one barrel only if it is used to view objects at short distances (say a few meters). When looking at distant objects, the two-barrel field of view of roof-prism binoculars is the same as the field of view of only one barrel + 65mm.

Binocular vision in humans is a vast and yet somewhat unexplored subject. There is still room for improving the binoculars "for use by humans".

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Old Tuesday 23rd July 2019, 18:00   #3
wllmspd
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Sure there is lots that could be done with an optics component catalogue, zemax and some machine learning. We want some lightweight bins with decent eye relief and massive wide angle, flat and pinsharp field and fully waterproof and we don’t want to pay loads for it. Old Porros got us some of these, Nikon has shown many things are achievable, but $$/kg!! Maybe you could design it with wide tolerances so that we could 3D print the housings and make our own? Keep us posted with your latest innovations, look forward to seeing what you can come up with.

Peter
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Old Thursday 25th July 2019, 02:47   #4
Omid
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Thanks Peter! I'll report here if I make any significant progress.. The Nikon WX was a fantastic exercise in futility if we look at it from the usability point of view or a grand achievement if we see it with the eyes of a romantic sculptor. In either case, it taught us (and Nikon) some valuable lessons..

Going back to your question: "lightweight bins with decent eye relief and massive wide angle, flat and pinsharp field and fully waterproof ". Why exactly do you need a field of view which is sharp all the way to the edges? If you are a bird watcher or a hunter (practically any user other than amateur astronomer), you do not need a sharp field in the peripheral areas. Peripheral vision is just what it is: an area where the eye does not see with high resolution but uses to detect movement. As you know, the fovea is responsible for sharp central vision which is necessary in humans for activities where visual detail is of primary importance. The acuity of human vision drops sharply away from the foveal region (which is very narrow actually, just a couple of degrees). This whole flat-field thing is more of a marketing trick than a significant advantage in my opinion.


Now "massive wide angle" is interesting to me too - if we look at it carefully and achieve it properly. Making classic binoculars with wide-field eyepieces is not the solution


Cheers,
Omid

Last edited by Omid : Thursday 25th July 2019 at 05:34.
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Old Saturday 27th July 2019, 09:39   #5
wllmspd
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Wide angle is immersive, you are more aware of context, I like wider ones better. Having reasonable edges is nice, people seem to compare “quality” by squinting at the field edges… even though it’s not needed as you say. I use my binoculars at night so I like tight stars. The old Rangemaster 11degree 7x35 are nice and wide, but heavy and low eye relief. Having a lightweight lowish power binocular that would give “spacewalk” wide views (aim for 80-85 degree) and be friendly to glasses wearers would be a good addition. Using Naglers in some APM binoculars I have is a step up from the 70degree views (but is sadly they’re rather big and heavy)!

Peter
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Old Friday 2nd August 2019, 20:03   #6
Omid
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Happy Friday!

As we discussed before, binoculars are not "fully matched" to the physiological characteristics of the human eye. Human eyes are not static photography sensors: The eyes rotate when we try to see objects close to the edges of the field of view. Human eyes are best adapted to look at objects which are close by (say .5m to a few meters) rather than objects located at infinity. They also prefer to look down (~ 15 degrees) rather than straight or up. None of these natural preferences are considered in the design of hand-held binoculars.


When we look at an object, there are [at least] three characteristics that help our brain form a stereoscopic (3D) vision of the object in its surrounding:

a) eye lens accommodation (focus).
b) the convergence angle between the two eyes
c) the parallax between the two images formed on the left and right eye retinas (after the eyes have rotated and focused)

Binoculars do not "scale" all three factors in a way similar to walking "closer" to the object. For example, you can focus the view so that the image of any object appears at "infinity". The parallax clues in the left and right images are unaffected by focus and still tell the brain that the object is at a finite distance.


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Old Saturday 3rd August 2019, 15:24   #7
Binastro
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I would think that Aboriginal Australians eyes are adapted more to see a kangaroo at a mile than a mouse close up.
But they probably can do both.

It is probably the eye/brain system that differs depending what ones priorities are.

Regards,
B.
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Old Friday 9th August 2019, 17:54   #8
Omid
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Yes, it is really interesting how our vision has been developed and how many of the advantages gained over hundreds of thousands years of evolution (e.g. dark adaptation) are getting lost in modern life. Our hunter ancestors eyes - like those of the Australian aboriginals- have evolved with emphasis on nocturnal vision. We did not evolve to read forums and type on the computers..

No back to the problem of widening the field of view: I already discussed that the field of view of binoculars on the objective side is practically the same as the field of view of one barrel. So, the binoculars do not follow the "partially overlapping" nature of our eyes. They provide fields of view that fully overlap.

In the eyepiece side, the AFOV must be matched with a properly enlarged exit pupil so that when the eye rotates "around its center of rotation" the eye entrance pupil (which is about 12mm in front of the center of rotation) does not move off the binoculars exit pupil. In the outstanding book by Smith and Atchison, they work out an example that shows for an AFOV of 70 degrees, an exit pupil diameter of 11.5mm is needed (page 709). I don't think this fact is being considered in binocular deign (yet).
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Old Friday 9th August 2019, 20:11   #9
wllmspd
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Interesting to be able to explore the sides of wide field binoculars without blackouts, not going to make for especially compact binoculars though!

Peter
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