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Steampunk Heliograph - RonO's Ramblings — LiveJournal

Mar. 2nd, 2009 03:29 pm Steampunk Heliograph

Yesterday, during the panel on Steampunk accessories, I was reminded of the heliographs that one of my Scoutmaster's had (which I had to get repaired several times by the navy electricians during the 1981 Boy Scout Jamboree). This has me wondering how would one go about making a Steampunk Heliograph?

Since you are already adapting technology present at the time, I think I'd look for some way to make it automated -- or at least make it appear automated. Some way that you could send your message without actually having to resort to Morse Code, and perhaps read the reply the same way.

A voice heliograph might also be an appropriate steampunk accessory. Of course making one really work without electronics would be a bit of a trick.

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Date:March 3rd, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
How about:

Voice diaphragm drives heliograph mirror

Lens focuses signal onto moving strip of photographic medium

Medium is developed and becomes for etching a pattern into wax, metal, or other material

Pattern is "played" by a phonographic needle, reproducing original sound

Could this be made to work?

(To stimulate your thinking, investigate talking balloons.)
Date:March 3rd, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC)
In order to get "real time" sound reproduction, one might be able to use some thermally sensitive material. The receiving station would have to focus the beam onto a narrow edge so that as the beam moves its temperature changes. Of course I know of no material that responds that rapidly.

Then again, I'm a software guy. If it cannot be done with bits, I'm often at a loss as to how to do it :-)