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OurStory: Life on the Water Lenses and Lighthouses

ThinkAbout

Fresnel lenses turn the light from a small source (like a lamp or a light bulb) into a strong, solid beam that can be seen from far away. August Fresnel invented the lenses to use in lighthouses, so that boats could see the lighthouses from far away.

Think it! What new invention could you make, starting with a Fresnel lens? What problems can you think of that could be solved with a strong beam of light? Maybe think about problems you face everyday or problems you think might exist in the world of the future.

Explore It! How does the Fresnel lens you saw in real life (in car headlights, sheet or pocket magnifiers, or overhead projectors) inspire you? Are there any lessons you could learn from that Fresnel invention?

Sketch It! On the back of this page, draw a picture of how your invention might

look.

These are just the first steps of the invention process. To finish the process, you would need to create a model, test the invention, tweak the ideas, and sell the real thing to people who might buy it. For more on invention, visit http://sparklab.si.edu.

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