High-Tech Life

There are many things associated with a high-tech lifestyle. Most of these things are electronic: cellphone, kindle, PDA, laptop, video-conferencing, etc. I think it’s the more subtle things that actually matter more. The things that aren’t visible, that are often overlooked, but which actually have a large impact.

Today an article came out on slashdot about a Bacterial Computer that can Solves the Hamiltonian Path Problem This article, of course, led me awander on the internet, whereupon I read about Antibubbles! and a company called Zubbles.

Zubbles are fascinating. Colored bubbles. The idea is deceptively simple, but let’s think about how color in bubbles is formed. Bubble typically have a rainbow shine to them because of variations in the bubble film, that resonate with different frequencies of light. Suppose that you wanted only a single color instead of an ever-changing rainbow.

There are two options:

  1. produce a film that has a specific thickness that’s the color you want.
  2. add a colored dye to the soap solution.

The Zubbles company chose option (2), but still had a great deal of technical details to work out. The chosen dye must be soluble, non-toxic, can’t interfere with surface-tension properties necessary for bubble formation, and shouldn’t get colored dye all over everything the bubbles might land and pop on. Remarkably, bright chemists were able to solve these problems. The found a set of dye’s that remain in-tact until the bubble pops. The popping has enough energy that it causes a carbon ring within the dye to open up. When the ring is broken the dye loses its color.

About ten years of experimenting, for a deceptively simple children’s toy. Science is awesome!