Fiber Optics from Bean Vermicelli Noodles

After my two failed attempts (1 2) at making fiber-optic cable, I got quite a few emails, including some with a great suggestion!


Hello Rob and thanks for your excellent website.
I have just read your article about fiber optic spaghetti and one other possible material came into my head. Rice noodles are both thinner than traditional spaghetti and they are translucent to allow the light through.
I would offer to do an experiment , but my wife has banned me from doing anything like that in the kitchen (after she came home once to find me repairing car audio amps on 'her' kitchen worktops).
Keep up the good work.
Bruce Benson (aka sparkybruce)

I was reading your entry on spaghetti for fiber optics and using the vast physics knowledge I accumulated as an English Major in college, I think the problem comes down to the semolina pasta being opaque.
How about a nice clear asian rice noodle? (
Good luck,

I'm a big fan of the site :) Keep up the good work.
I had a thought w.r.t. your attempt to use spaghetti as fiber optics.
Maybe you should try using a clear noodle, like the bean vermicelli that can be bought at most asian groceries. They cook up clear and rubbery, so they'd probably work well. Hope you like my idea.

Rice Noodles. Apparently, the fiber has to have a coating, or cladding, that can keep the light confined and allow it to stream through and emit from the end point. Chocolate covered rice noodles?

Robert Berry

I decided to try their idea: bean vermicelli noodles.


For sale at Raley's, an eight-pack for $1.19.

They are also known as "Rice Noodles" or "Spaghetti 2030".



I had never really contemplated how many different noodles are available for eating. I can't really go into it now, but there are a lot!

The bean vermicelli was obviously a lot more transparent than the spaghetti, but a quick test with a laser wasn't impressive against the crumpled brick of dry noodles.

They needed to be cooked, so I threw a couple of wads into a boiling pot of water.

Stacy was already making tea, so the water was ready to go.

After a few minutes, the noodles were finished cooking. They were nearly transparent! They looked great!

It is a shame I cannot say the same for Stacy's tea. It had a distinct starchy aftertaste.

In the bottom of the colander, the wet noodles were as clear as wet ice. I shot a laser in, and the light spread out into a wide spot. At the time, I figured this was a good thing, but now I'm not so sure.

The wet noodles were translucent. I just had to get a bunch out and test their ability to carry a beam of light.

I scooped out fat bundles of snotty noodles and pulled them into a long pile on the counter.

When I had a nice pile stacked up, I gave one end a nice clean-up trim.

Oh man, I was very excited to try these out! They looked great, and they were the perfect size and shape!

No! The laser went in strong, but died away less than half of the way in. Damn! As the noodles dried on my counter, they had become more and more opaque, until they were just a bit better than the spaghetti from Sunday night.

I yanked this new failure off of the counter and threw it into an adorable paper take-out box.

The rice noodles would not work for fiber optics, but at least I had a great material for my holiday faux-icicle decorations!

Other incredible stuff  | Home | Contact Robfishing line fiberoptics | spaghetti fiber-optics

May 11th, 2006.  

  • Photographic Height/Weight Chart
  • The Weight of Clothing
  • The Television Commercial Database
  • Terms and Conditions  Copyright 2006