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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?
    • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:18PM (#32568128)

      Does the right to bear arms cover arms which are for more awesome than ever conceived of by the writers of the constitution?

      I'd suggest you not have bare arms if this thing can set flesh on fire.

    • This is 200 times more powerful than what can legally be sold as a laser pointer in the US, so apparently not.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        then don't sell it as a laser pointer

        • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:05PM (#32568876) Journal
          Yes, sell and regulate it as a fully automatic weapon.

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

          This laser product is fully automatic weapon in the sense that:
          1) It can continuously cause permanent blindness to people
          2) It can do it at a 200 metre effective range
          3) It does not need a reload after 9 or even 30 shots.

          If you empty a handgun wildly into a crowd, you'd probably hit less than 20 people (and current medical tech might restore a significant number of them near completely). In contrast this laser when used on a crowd can permanently blind far more than 20 people. There are many places where you can find a crowd of hundreds looking at one spot.

          The product in its current form does not appear to have a good utility to danger ratio.

          Yes the laser itself has use in projectors and other stuff, but what good purpose does this product in this form have?

          It's not very good as a defensive weapon: it doesn't really have very good stopping power - even if blinded, a gunman could still kill you (and he might have even higher motivation to do so). It has a very high chance of collateral damage.

          To me if you can justify the banning of fully automatic assault rifles for general civilian use, you should also ban this weapon.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by AndrewNeo ( 979708 )

            Setting a gunman's hands on fire isn't a good way of stopping him?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Thinboy00 ( 1190815 )

            RTFS. Existing lasers can already blind. This one is special because it can make things burst into flames.

          • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

            by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

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

          • by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:05PM (#32569850)

            > It's not very good as a defensive weapon: it doesn't really have very good
            > stopping power - even if blinded, a gunman could still kill you (and he
            > might have even higher motivation to do so). It has a very high chance
            > of collateral damage.

            You know... I've personally never mugged anyone, nor been shot with a gun that has "stopping power". So I can't really say 100% for sure. But I would imagine that if I were blind and on fire, I wouldn't be able to continue mugging my would-be victim.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            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: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.

        • 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?


    • Just imagine using this laser to mess with your cat. It'll go nuts chasing the laser dot AND running away from the laser dot after it's fur is set on fire.
      Note: I do not advocate the abuse of animals or the lighting of cats on fire. I just find that scenario incredibly funny.
      Additional note: Sharks with friggen lasers don't sound so audacious any more.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Zerth ( 26112 )

      I can't wait for the "Assault Laser Restriction Act of 2015".

      Then the UK will ban flashlights with latching buttons, because they are more dangerous than flashlights with momentary buttons.

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

      by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:12PM (#32568992) Homepage Journal

      Does the right to bear arms cover arms which are for more awesome than ever conceived of by the writers of the constitution?

      The 2nd amendment covers arms. If you use, or intend to use, this as a weapon, it's arms. So yes, it's covered.

      At the time, "arms" consisted of the following (and more, and were being developed into new forms every day): All manner of pistols, rifles, muskets, cannons, explosive and solid cannonballs, cannonballs filled with shards, frigates with multiple decks of cannon, wagons with explosives and multiple guns rigged to fire in unison, chain shot, flaming missiles soaked with pitch and other inflammable, easily spread and extremely hard to extinguish compounds, swords, knives, bayonets, fighting canes, brass knuckles, battering rams, catapults, siege towers, caltrops, mines, pits, biologically contaminated materials, glass bottles, garrotes, whips, chains, both fused and mechanically triggered explosives, striking weapons like sticks and poles and pikes and quarterstaffs and maces and war-hammers, spears, bows, axes, arrows and crossbows... I could go on for pages.

      Knowing this, and knowing that arms development and refinement went on all the time, what did they put in the constitution? They put "arms." No more, no less. So it's pretty darned clear they meant: "Tools you use to project violence."

      Not that the USG pays much attention to the actual meaning and intent of the constitution.

      As for "awesome", I don't think this is any more "awesome" than having a flaming arrow fired from a ballista 500 yards (or more) away arrive in your eye socket or your forearm. And that's been an available weapons technology for over 2,000 years.

      Firestorms have always wreaked huge havoc; bio-weapons have been known, and used, for centuries; incoming chain shot, pitch, and barbed weapons, and worse were the rule of the day, and death and maiming has always been death and maiming. Though we do have better medical technology now, so that at least alleviates the previous almost-guarantee of death by peritonitis, gangrene, and similar. Presuming you survive the injury at all.

      Weapons aren't nice. The sudden realization of the panic-stricken that they might be hurt by deployment of a weapon doesn't really change anything except one's state of mind. Before lasers, we could still burn your eyes out from a distance. Before nukes, we could still burn you (and tens of square miles around you) out at thousands of degrees, leaving all manner of chemical poisons lying around in the aftermath, and leaving people on the periphery with all manner of creative types of injuries. Google the Berlin and Tokyo firestorms for examples. Before anthrax, we could still infect you and yours with all kinds of things; see General Jeffery Amherst's letters ca. ~1763 for some bio-weapons history. Before airplanes, we could still deliver explosives and fire by air. And in the end, if your legs terminate at the mid-femur, the question of how it happened - sword, grenade, flying masonary, 50 cal. bullet, infection, weapons shrapnel, mine... that's kind of beside the point. It all sucks about the same.

  • by halcyon1234 ( 834388 ) <> on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:11PM (#32568010) Journal

    The thing that caught my eye was

    The label that read "do not look at laser with remaining eye"?

    • 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...

  • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EdZ ( 755139 )
      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.
    • You're going to have to be more specific for the dummies like me. Take the United Nuclear link that has a laser but it's $30 for 30mW. The one this article is about is 1000mW. So on a per-watt basis it's 1/5th the price, which seems the better value really if what you care about is the setting things on fire part.

      • You're going to have to be more specific for the dummies like me. Take the United Nuclear link that has a laser but it's $30 for 30mW. The one this article is about is 1000mW. So on a per-watt basis it's 1/5th the price, which seems the better value really if what you care about is the setting things on fire part.

        First of all if your interested in playing with more powerful lasers it's important you understand safety and basic laser theory.

        There are plenty of [] resources [] out there. []

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Aren't these high powered lasers illegal in the US? I thought the maximum power laser you could buy in the US was 5mW.

      • They can't be illegal b/c they have (and are used in) valid industrial processes. They may be restricted, and I'm sure there are regulations that limit how they are sold (for example, an earlier poster cited a rule that prevents high mW lasers from being sold as "laser pointers").

    • The story's about LASERs , not La za rs One's a source of coherent photons and one's got a record for pandering to alienz.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:14PM (#32568060)

    Local pet stores sell sharks in record numbers.

  • 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.

    • I like how you think, however the lack of depth control on a laser would be problematic. Personally, I would much rather do that sort of work with a CNC Router []. Obviously it does have limitations - materials, item design features, etc - but it is a mature, well proven platform.
    • by Cyberax ( 705495 )

      WTF? 40 watt CO2 laser will instantly make a hole in you.

      Unless it was VERY unfocused.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        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

    • by samkass ( 174571 )

      Does it make a difference that it's 1W of blue light as opposed to red light? I'm not exactly sure how laser power is measured... I assume 1W of blue would require fewer but more energetic photons than 1W of red.

  • one step closer to my dream of becoming a superhero.
  • I plan on cooking my steak with one of these from now on.
  • Instant Blindness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VidEdit ( 703021 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:23PM (#32568210)
    I'm not sure if people get how crazy dangerous even a low end class 4 laser is to people's eyesight. Even diffuse reflections can cause blindness. And blindness from a direct beam or specular reflection is virtually instant, literally before you can blink. This laser is not a toy. Not something you can casually show off safely to your friends. You can blind people, forever, accidentally, in an instant. Just keep it in mind.
    • by misexistentialist ( 1537887 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:28PM (#32570200)
      It would have been more succinct to say, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid."
    • 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.

    • 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.

  • by LordZardoz ( 155141 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:24PM (#32568224)

    Even the most ardent advocates of gun ownership being available to any and everyone will probably agree that selling a gun to someone who has no idea how to use and store it safely is a bad idea.

    So other then what I imagine to be the joy of setting things on fire with a laser, what purpose can this thing serve? This kind of product should be sold with the same level of precaution as explosives and firearms.


  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:27PM (#32568274) Homepage Journal

    After all the lawsuits. Remember lawn darts?

  • Phhht, pass. Get back to me when you have something as good as Amazin Laser []
  • And apparently pointed it at the server...
  • Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Taibhsear ( 1286214 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:37PM (#32568426)

    What is the target purpose for this? Research experiments that could be done? What kind of safety goggles are used with this (material/wavelength tint/etc) and what kind of clothing/protective gear will NOT set on fire if accidental exposure should occur? Also, what kind of battery life are we looking at? (or is this a plug in stationary laser?)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hurricane78 ( 562437 )

      Let’s say it like this: If a SUV and a iPhone are your balls, then this laser is the penis. Just as pointless. Just as much made for bragging. (Smug or retarded. Doesn’t matter.) Just as useful... for compensation. ;)

  • 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.

  • Since this thing is technically a weapon, I don't don't mind assholes having these.... As long as I can return fire with bullets.

  • SharkTech. (Score:5, Funny)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:44PM (#32568520)
    From TFA:

    The retailer warns: "Customers will be required to completely read and agree to our Class IV Laser Hazard Acknowledgment Form."

    Dorsal or tail fin prints are acceptable.

  • Eye + Laser (Score:3, Funny)

    by ZirbMonkey ( 999495 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:52PM (#32568642)

    "The thing that caught my eye was the price: $200"

    The other eye? Fried by a friggin laser

  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wireless Joe ( 604314 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @03:04PM (#32568858) Homepage
    I'm looking forward to setting the disco ball hanging in the middle of my living room on fire in front of 20-50 of my friends. What could go wrong?
  • by orlanz ( 882574 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:00PM (#32569778)

    Its all fun and games until the geeks realize that the lasers don't stop each other in midswing and version 2 lops off limbs.

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:22PM (#32571086) Homepage Journal

    In the 40 watt range.

    "Hey, just what you see here pal."

    Uzi 9 millimeter.

    "You really know your guns. This baby's perfect for home defense...."

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.