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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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  • 2nd Amendment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dward90 ( 1813520 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:10PM (#32568006)
    Does the right to bear arms cover arms which are for more awesome than ever conceived of by the writers of the constitution?
  • Re:OMG Lazers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EdZ ( 755139 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:18PM (#32568126)
    Even buying the raw laser diode and making the driver (and heatsink) yourself, you'd be hard pressed to get 1-watt output for under $200.
  • 1 Watt Can Be Bad... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BoRegardless ( 721219 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:37PM (#32568428)

    But only if it stays trained on one spot for enough time and is close to the laser as opposed to 50 feet where the energy per square centimeter is less. Of course, some jerk will try it on his arm.

    I accidentally found out what a 25 watt CO2 laser will do to the palm of your hand when a coworker left one on with no warning signs up and it burnt a branding iron across my palm as my hand quickly went into the beam. When I heard the sizzling, instead of keeping my hand moving through the beam, I pulled back and in the tens of milliseconds stopped before pulling back it vaporized (not burned) a hole about 1/8" deep in my hand.

    Don't screw with this stuff you are not trained and careful or you'll wind up paying doctors and lawyers.

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

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:46PM (#32568572) Homepage Journal
    I'm guessing this blue laser would be quite effective at 'disabling' those pesky stop light/speeding cameras the city has recently been trying to set up, eh?


  • TSA (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:47PM (#32568576)

    It is legal to board a plane with one of these things but not with a bottle of Evian. I feel sooo protected.

  • Re:BarberCut cheat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:18PM (#32569108) Journal

    Just be careful of how reflective that glass is - blinding everyone standing behind you might not go down so well...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:19PM (#32569114)

    parent has a good point. There is a long and glorious tradition of firearms ownership and well-established handling practices that are drilled into gun owners by other gun owners who don't want to die. I doubt there is even any standard set of laser-handling rules out there, similar to the 4 rules of gun safety. I don't think lasers need to be more heavily regulated because I hate the government, but they do need to be heavily self-regulated or it WILL happen.

  • by gclef ( 96311 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:43PM (#32569504)

    What he's thinking of is a variant of Selective laser sintering []. If you can turn the laser on and off rapidly (or redirect the beam somewhere harmless rapidly), you can selectively melt/fuse materials to 3-d print some really fascinating things.

    I'm not aware of any open source (a-la RepRap or the like) SLS systems, but I'd be happy to have the slashdot crowd prove me wrong on that point.

  • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:55PM (#32569694) Journal
    It wasn't particularly well-focussed: I wasn't right at the focal point. But I've yet to see an inexpensive diode laser sold with quality fast/slow axis collimation optics, and as a result their focus is lousy, too, so I'm guessing while you'd get burnt by this thing, it's not like there would be flames.

    My creepiest exposure ever was working on an excimer laser that was running in the kilowatt range, where I found out that skin fluoresces and phosphoresces if you hit it with enough UV photons. That burn sucked, too, but at least I didn't get one in the eye like a coworker did.

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

    by TheCarp ( 96830 ) < minus pi> on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:08PM (#32569886) Homepage

    I got a 300 mW laser a bit ago (burned out the diode when I tried it with a new power supply...oops)

    What I found interesting was, shortly after I ordered it, and was waiting for the parts to arrive, I found myself quite preoccupied with the dangerousness of it. Maybe preoccupied is the wrong word but, I found myself frequently getting mental images of myself accidentally shining it on something reflective or allowing the spot and beam to line up (hint: when you see a reflective spot on a surface and shine the beam on that spot, it reflects directly back to your eye, best to try that out with one of the really wimpy lasers that wont damage your eye faster than you can blink).

    It was almost like part of my mind was trying to mentally prepare itself for handling the dangerous item, and got me all loaded up with bad scenarios that would result in me, or someone else, blinded. It reminded me of some of the theories people have about dreams being a test bed for developing and practicing responses to danger in a safe environment.


  • by kumanopuusan ( 698669 ) <> on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:11PM (#32569928)
    Almost all current weapon regulations define weapons as devices designed to fire projectiles. Lasers do not fire projectiles and are not subject to such regulation.
  • Re:Instant Blindness (Score:4, Interesting)

    by irving47 ( 73147 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:29PM (#32570222) Homepage

    Frankly, I think slashdot should have avoided this posting. If one less person gets blinded, because a /.er buys one, and blinds his sibling or himself, it would have been worth it. Eyesight is too precious to lose and these things are just waaay too easy to screw up with.

  • by modecx ( 130548 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:33PM (#32570322)

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

    The short answer is no.

    The long answer is: Not insofar as an outright ban. They're legal in the vast majority of states, but are regulated at the federal level. The 1934 NFA bill required the federal registration of machine guns, and taxed machine guns (and other title 2 weapon) transfers at a rate of $200 each--for perspective: at that time if you had a little bit over a hundred bucks more you could buy a brand new Ford sedan.

    The authors/supporters thought an outright ban wouldn't pass muster at the supreme court as they successfully recognized it would be a violation of the 2nd Amendment. So, they decided the next best thing would be a tax so steep that it would be tantamount to a ban, effectively pricing out all but the very wealthy... Which hurt especially during the great depression.

    Again in 1986, newly manufactured machine guns were made unavailable to citizens, which drove the prices of previously registered machine guns through the roof. With some patience and a wad of cash, you can get pretty much anything you could want--unless it was developed after 1986.

    What good does it do? I dunno. I guess it can get you off if you're into watt-range lasers.. This laser doesn't really change anything, since comparable devices have been available for years--but what it does is make it easier to access. I say: If/when drive-by laserings become a problem (which was practically never the case with legal machine guns), THEN do something about it. That's how our system is *supposed* to work

    Until then the simple answer is: If someone uses it to assault someone, come down on them like a ton of bricks--just like what happens when some jackass shines a *much* less powerful laser into an aircraft cockpit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:12PM (#32570950)

    Regardless of the intent, though, it IS a weapon at shorter ranges. From what I can see, all you need to do is check the "this shit is dangerous" agreements and checkout with a credit card. That is unacceptable. Sales for this shit needs to be at least as restricted as for firearms or someone WILL get hurt.

    Hell, I would argue that these are even more dangerous than guns. A gun you have to point at someone and pull the trigger (after bypassing whatever safety features are installed). You don't even need to point a laser at someone to permanently disable them. A gun can be fired into a crowd, but a powerful laser can also bounce off of just about anything and still be potent several times over. You couldn't even set up a safe "firing range" for these things. The idea of any stupid schmuck with a credit card owning one is terrifying.

    Have you been to a movie theater recently? Later than midnight? That's the only time I can go and almost every other time, there's a prick with a laser pointer drawing nipples on everybody on the screen. More than once, I've politely asked them to put it away and the fucker shines it in my eyes.

    I can't wait until I'm blinded by some immature shit stain to get a laugh from his friends.

  • Re:powerful laser (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PhreakOfTime ( 588141 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:44PM (#32571414) Homepage

    I once 'knew a guy' when I was younger who did this exact thing. Heres how it went down.

    Said 'guy' had a newtonian telescope on a very professional mount. Now usually, the purpose of the telescope is to take in light at the large opening and focus it into a small diameter at the eyepiece. However, the reverse also seems to work.

    By sighting up the telescope first to the light sensor at the top of the assembly, one would then take out the eyepiece and replace it with a light source, preferably halogen. You could easily leave this on all night, to keep the light off, and turn it off in the day. At 1/4 mile, the beam is about 10ft across, and will still work to turn off the sensor, depending on the wattage of the source light.

    But, thats just what I heard, as interfering with municipal/business fixtures you do not own is usually frowned upon by the police. It also becomes rather obvious who is doing it when there is a bright light coming from the line of sight from your house.

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

    by jbezorg ( 1263978 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:00PM (#32571652)

    Imagine AC's shock and surprise when googling the phrase "1 short faggot" and expecting to see the volume of a bundle of sticks?

    ( Faggot ( volume ) [] )

  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:08PM (#32574314) Journal
    > Even if it were classified as a firearm, it would be semi-automatic as it only fires once when you press the button.

    Wrong. It is not a one shot pulse laser. It fires continuously and keeps firing as long as you press the button.

    Quote specs: "Switch: Push Button Constant On / Off, Lock-Out Tail Cap"

    Even if fully automatic rifles are not banned they appear to be rather regulated. In my opinion such laser products should be tightly regulated since:
    1) They're not like industrial laser cutting tools, you're only going to destroy stuff that you bring to that tool - the danger radius is typically rather limited. They're in a different form and package.
    2) They don't appear to serve much useful purpose compared to the danger they pose.
  • Re:Instant Blindness (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @12:37AM (#32574754)

    Class IV is serious. Not only can a direct hit or specular reflection blind you, but you can get eye damage from a diffuse reflection. That means that if you point it at a sheet of paper and stare at the paper, the spot can do damage. This happens faster than you can blink.

    I used to work with class IV lasers in my lab - required goggles, interlocks, and vast amounts of paper work. Set my shirt on fire once with a similarly powered laser.

    I think its OK for these to be available to the public but they should require some form of licensing and training of the sort used for firearms. Because of its range and lack of traceability, I think this is every bit as dangerous as a gun.

    I don't even want to suggest in an open forum the sort of things you could do with this to cause serious injury and death - but if you have some imagination you can figure out what I might be thinking of.

  • Tempting but no (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jprupp ( 697660 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:31AM (#32575406)
    As tempting as it seems to get one of these devices, their destructive power seems too great. I have a 7-year-old daughter I'd rather keep far away from this thing. I don't think hiding it somewhere she isn't supposed to find it is good enough. There are usually accidents involving children and concealed firearms. Respect this laser. Handle it with utmost care if you get it, seriously. After you take this into account, have LOADS of FUN!.

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