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Toys Hardware Technology

Set Free Your Inner Jedi (Or Pyro) 463

sirgoran writes "We've all thought about being the hero fighting off evil-doers and saving the day ever since we first saw Star Wars. The folks at Wicked Lasers have now brought that a little closer to reality with their latest release: a 1-Watt blue diode laser that can set skin and other things on fire. From an article at Daily Tech, where they talk about the dangers of such a powerful laser: 'And here's the best (or worst) part — it can set people (or things) on fire. Apparently the laser is so high-powered that shining it on fleshy parts will cause them to burst into flames. Of course it's equally capable of blinding people.' The thing that caught my eye was the price: $200. I wonder if they'll be able to meet the demand, since (if it works as advertised) this will be on every geek's Christmas list."
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Set Free Your Inner Jedi (Or Pyro)

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  • OMG Lazers (Score:4, Informative)

    by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:13PM (#32568046) Homepage
    You can get a lasers and related materials off of ebay [], United Nuclear [] and Sparkfun [] at much better values.
  • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:14PM (#32568076) Journal
    Unless you hold it there for a *long* time. I've been hit by a 40 watt (CO2) laser and it left me with a burn that was like a bad sunburn. I have a 400mW (red) laser that I've been using to shoot down wasps in my workshop (it's a tall building and I can't get anything up to where they want to build a nest -- but let me warn you that a flaming wasp is a fire hazard) and it takes several seconds of exposure before the wasp dies.

    With that said, I might be trying to get one of these because you can do some pretty cool stuff if you mount a laser this powerful in a plotter. It gets even better if you gut the plotter and add a Z axis so you can melt the top layer of material selectively, then lower the z stage, add a bit more material, and again melt it selectively: a relatively inexpensive, relatively high-precision 3d printer.

  • by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:19PM (#32568142)

    It's not that hard to find, here in Sweden it's next to the label that points out that using high-powered lasers in public without a permit is illegal. Not that teenagers care, apparently there are lots of them who have figured out that lasers are a lot better weapons than knives when you want to hurt some other kid or just slow down the cops (by causing permanent eye damage) after you did something stupid...

  • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:21PM (#32568180)

    Can someone comment on how feasible it would be to make one of these for less than the $200 they ask?

    Source the parts better. It sounds like they have pulled this diode from a display projector, I'm sure that you might be able to buy a broken projector for a few dollars and pull the part yourself.

  • Re:OMG Lazers (Score:3, Informative)

    by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:23PM (#32568212) Homepage
    Although by value I was not necessarily referring to dollars here is a 1 watt diode currently listed at $43 bucks [] for a lot of 5.
  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:25PM (#32568242)

    Do not take them with you if you're going to war. Weapons which can primarily be used to blind people are against the Geneva Convention.

    Regarding the demand for these laser diodes: I am a geek and this is not on my wish list. I can see the use in applications like holography or laser engraving, but I prefer less dangerous gadgets for purely toying around. With that much power, a stray reflection can permanently harm your vision.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:5, Informative)

    by spinkham ( 56603 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:27PM (#32568266)

    There is a high power laser pointer ban, but the ban is on marketing terms only. Only class 3a or lower lasers (0-5mW) may be marketed as laser pointers. Class 3b and higher lasers (5-500mW) may be sold in a hand-held form, but not marketed as pointers or amusement devices.

    More to the point, there are regulatory requirements for features in high power laser devices that are often ignored.
    All types of laser devices of any power must be registered with the FDA prior to sale in the US. Note this is registration per product type, not per sale. Class 3b and higher lasers must have a key based lockout, a remote interlock connector, and a warning label affixed to the product. Most importers of cheap chinese lasers of class 3b (>5mW) fall afoul of all of these requirements, and they are often confiscated in shipping with no recourse for the buyer. [] []

    The only class 3b hand-held lasers I've seen recently which meet all the requirements above are sold by In the past year they have added a safety "key" and interlock connector to their class 3b laser products, and they now meet all the legal requirements. Other vendors might also meet the legal requirements, but I have not personally seen any.

  • Part sourcing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:52PM (#32568652) Homepage

    Source the parts better. It sounds like they have pulled this diode from a display projector,

    Yes, they admit they did that. So they just have a prototype.

    There's no big secret about the laser diode. It's a Nichia NDB7352 []. Any legit company can order those things in bulk from Nichia in Tokyo. No US distributor, including Nichia America, stocks them. WickedLasers probably doesn't buy enough of them to place an order with Nichia.

  • No kidding (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:03PM (#32568832)

    They DO have some lasers I'd like. I would like a violet laser pointer if it were cheaper. However I wouldn't want a 1 watt laser. While over all the FDA's classes of laser power may be a bit cautious, it is still something extremely worth noting. Strong lasers are very, very dangerous. The backscatter from one off a normal surface can easily be enough to cause harm. So even if you think you are safe since it isn't pointing at you or anything reflective, you could still screw yourself over.

    Only way I'd want high power lasers were if I was using them for light show applications. In that case, they'd need to be something I could computer control, not a little device like this.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:4, Informative)

    by Beyond_GoodandEvil ( 769135 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:18PM (#32569098) Homepage

    The Geneva Convention discusses the treatment of prisoners in armed combat between uniformed foes. You must be thinking of the Hague Accords.
    No, according to this [] these conventions signed in Geneva deal with weapons whose sole function is to blind.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:21PM (#32569156)

    I imagine it can also set clothes on fire, which begs the question:

    No, it does not. See petitio principii.

  • by mweather ( 1089505 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:27PM (#32569262)

    Don't they ban fully automatic rifles for civilian use in the USA?

    Nope. You just need to go through a few more checks than when you're buying a semi-automatic or single shot weapon, and pay a $200 transfer fee. The real barrier to buying a machine gun is the price, which isn't a barrier at all in the case of this pointer. Besides which, this wouldn't qualify as a machine gun as it's not a firearm. Even if it were classified as a firearm, it would be semi-automatic as it only fires once when you press the button. It's more akin to a flame thrower than a machine gun, and flame throwers are not federally regulated.

  • by Kral_Blbec ( 1201285 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:27PM (#32569264)

    Designed and built for use with machine guns mounted on vehicles, aircraft, or waterborne platforms, the Spyder III is Wicked Laser's most powerful laser. Smaller than the size of a MagLite it generates a focused 500mW beam capable of illuminating a targets several miles away. The Spyder III is also ideal for patrol and checkpoint operations. A tactical ambidextrous constant on/off switch and removable safety key located on the tailcap provides convenient, fail safe operation. The world's only visible Class IV laser designed for tactical operations.

    Its a targeting laser, not a weapon in and of itself.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Informative)

    by ArbitraryDescriptor ( 1257752 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:34PM (#32569362)
    Specs from TFA:

    Name: Spyder III Pro Arctic Series
    Size: 228mm x 35.8mm
    Weight: 378g
    Wavelength: 445nm
    Laser Body: 6061-T6 Aircraft-Grade Aluminum
    Laser Finish: Mil-Spec Type III hard anodized in black
    Transverse Mode: TEM00
    Output Power: Beam Divergence: Beam Diameter: 1.5mm @ aperture
    NOHD* 211 meters
    Required Eyewear O.D. 4.4+
    Power Consumption: 3.7V @ 1A
    Power supply: Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery Type 18650 (batteries and charger included)
    Battery Lifetime: 120 mins
    Switch: Push Button Constant On / Off, Lock-Out Tail Cap
    Duty Cycle: Continuous
    Expected lifetime: >5,000 hours
    Warranty: 3 months
    *The NOHDs were calculated based on a 0.25 second accidental (unaided eye) exposure.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:47PM (#32569560)

    Fully automatic weapons are legal for civilian ownership in the USA. You will need a $200 tax stamp and a FFL.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:55PM (#32569690)

    Duh, blue is Jedi, red is Sith. Turn in your geek card.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:05PM (#32569854) Homepage
    "More recently, "to beg the question" has been used as a synonym for "to raise the question": for example, "This year's budget deficit is half a trillion dollars. This begs the question, How are we ever going to balance the budget?"

    Using the term in this way, although common, is considered incorrect by some usage commentators. Arguments over whether this newer usage should be considered correct or incorrect are an example of debate over linguistic description and prescription of a living language."

    So I guess it really boils down to - are you an absolute stickler for old grammatical rules, or is language constantly evolving to the point where old expressions can take on new meanings?

    Irregardless of your beliefs, the phrase was used in a perfectly crommulent way.
  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:30PM (#32571208)

    That's funny because "bear" rhymes with bare! But actually the latter is an animal, while the former means uncovered. That makes this a form of wordplay! But it's even funnier because the GP mentioned the right to "bear arms", which involves another meaning of the word "bear" -- to own. And that's a common expression. So you were both making jokes! And a joke upon a joke is usually funnier. Which is why this is funny.

  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:31PM (#32571212) Homepage Journal

    What you call brush control devices use jets of propane or similar gases. Flamethrowers in the military sense (which are now extremely rare in the US, even in the military) use a gel or liquid fuel that is usually not completely burned by the time it reaches the target, thereby leaving a flaming substance that allows an easier transfer of the heat to the target. Those that use propane stop delivering heat once the flame jet is removed.

  • by saider ( 177166 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:36PM (#32571278)

    You need the Class 3 FFL to receive a newly manufactured item, since the manufacture of automatic weapons for civilian use has been banned by executive order (Reagan or Bush 1). This is why a typical Class 3 weapon for sale to a civilian is in the $10k range... they are not being made anymore. The difference in cost between a fully automatic Class 3 weapon and a regular, semi-automatic weapon is trivial at best. In many cases, the full auto weapons are simpler than their semi-automatic counterparts.

    The way you get a new automatic weapon is...

    1) Create a gun business (typically requires a storefront) and get your class 3 FFL.
    2) To avoid running afoul of tax laws, you need to show a profit occasionally. So you need to have some friends buy stuff.
    3) Purchase your Class 3 machinegun as a "sales item".
    4) Send a flyer every so often to a nearby police department, to show you are engaged in the business.
    5) After a year or two, shutter the business. There is paperwork that you can use to transfer your inventory from your company entity to you personally. Having 2,3, and 4 will help document your business so that you are able to do this.

    If you ever want to resell your gun, you'll need to sell it to a Class 3 dealer.

  • Re:2nd Amendment (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:10PM (#32573116) Journal

    Should we require that everyone use the definition of theory that's accepted within the scientific community?

    I don't know that we should require it, but we should certainly encourage it.

    Also, we're talking about a phrase where "beg" is substituted for "dodge" in the proper representation

    No, we're not. "begging" in this case means that you're asking to take for granted a proposition. "begging the question" means that that proposition is essentially equivalent to the question under discussion. You are literally asking the other person to give you something, their agreement. This is begging.

    Dodging the question is something else entirely.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley