Monday, April 1, 2013

Weight of the Soul or Dust on the Scale?

Back around Halloween I mentioned my visit to the J. B. Rhine Research Center (Rhine was the first to do experiments with 'ESP' at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in the 1920's), see Near Death at the Rhine Research Center. The first formal report of the optical work, Electromagnetic Emission From Humans During Focused Intent by William T. Joines, Stephen B. Baumann (deceased), and John G. Kruth, see Journal of Parapsychology 76(2), is now online (Membership is required). The formal report does cover Mitogenetic Radiation something I thought was lacking previously.

What also fascinates me is that if they can get the funding for this future research project: They want to try to weigh people that claim they can leave their body, sometimes refereed to as Astral Travel or Astral Projection (the original experiments invovled death, no one wants to be killing the research subjects today) , and see if there is a change in their weight.

If you believe in such things that is your personal choice, what is fascinating to me after looking into this a bit is just how hard it is to make an precise and accurate weight scale. This scale road has been traveled in the past:

[Jim Williams] worked for a few years with the Nutrition and Food Sciences Dept at MIT, building equipment for them. Once he built a scale that was so sensitive he could stand on it, take a bite out of a donut and measure the weight of the bite. He had to add a low frequency notch filter to take out the heartbeat of the user as the blood flowed up and down the femur arteries, modulating the weight on the scale. - I Remember Jim Williams, a Guru of the Analog Electronics World, as Much an Artist as Engineer.

Scott Wayne, Analog Dialogue's editor, pointed me to Jim Williams scale paper, Thank You Scott: High resolution scale: Measures up to 250 lb +/- .01 lb, detects a single bite of food, Analog Dialogue, vol. 10, no. 2, p. 17, 1976. Every issue of Analog Dialogue, from Volume 1, Number 1, 1967 through the present is available in Analog Devices' Analog Dialogue's archives.

Getting back to our current time, Vishay Precision Group (VPG) has released a Video, described here, on their Z-Foil Resistors.

In the video, a custom designed scale is used to weigh 200 grams of gold at +25C and +60C, first utilizing thin film technology for the gain resistors and then using the Z-foil resistors.

At +25C, both the thin film and Z-foil resistors measure the 200 grams of gold for a value of $11,400. With an ambient temperature increase to +60C, however, the assembly utilizing precision thin film resistors weighs the gold as 197.8 grams for a value of $11,277 - which represents a 'loss' of $123. The same assembly using Z-foil resistors is not affected by the temperature change, providing an accurate measurement of 200 grams at +60C - and no loss in measured value.

See also Why Honest Weigh Scales Are Application Specific and Application Note 5275: Calibration - Needless or a Necessity?, from Maxim Integrated.

In 1976 we could measure +/- 0.16 of ounce change in a 250 pound person. Thirty-seven years on, I wonder if Analog Devices, Intersil (see the video), Linear Technology (Jim Williams), Maxim Integrated or Vishay Precision Group (VPG), would step up to the challenge of funding the Rhine's project to showcase their current technologies, on how things have improved? Maybe you think you are up to the challenge of this scale design? Let us know.