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Hardware Hacking Build Technology

DIY Laser Pistol Shoot 1MW Blasts 284

An anonymous reader writes "It doesn't get cooler than this — a German hacker put together a 1MW laser pistol capable of shooting straight through a razor blade with a single pulse. Quoting: 'Fitted with a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser, it fires off a 1 MW blast of infrared light once the capacitors have fully charged. The duration of the laser pulse is somewhere near 100ns, so he was unable to catch it on camera, but its effects are easily visible in whatever medium he has fired upon.'" Update: 03/17 18:22 GMT by T : Too bad; turns out it's "only" 1KW, rather than 1MW. I still want one.
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DIY Laser Pistol Shoot 1MW Blasts

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  • Thievery (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @11:26AM (#35443044) Journal

    A couple months ago I came a across a "game" at the mall, and I immediately thought "A person with a portable high powered laser could steal every bit of stuff out of this". Anyway the game is similar to those claw games, where you move the claw with a joystick to pick up an item. This game differs in that expensive items like DSi, PSP, iPod, are dangling from strings. The player moves an arm with an (obviously inept) pair of scissors on it, which tries to cut through the string to drop the item. It must take many cuts to gradually cut through the string, because I could see where strings had been slightly damaged by the cutters, but still needed a lot more to cut all the way through.

    Anyway, a person with one of these lasers could clean house. The case is clear glass all the way around, so I assume the laser would shine right through it.

    Sweet - of course Youtube to the rescue: []

  • by Z8 ( 1602647 ) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @11:32AM (#35443100)

    This is cool and all, but I would be scared to go anywhere near that. That's way over class 3 on the laser safety scale [] and minor reflections could do permanent damage to your eyes. I've played with ~0.5W lasers, and those are scary enough. Apparently this is 1kW! The class 3 limit for pulsed lasers in that frequency is 1/3000th as much apparently (30mW). Basic safety goggles only filter out so much light and you can still get blinded through them.

    I would guess it's just a matter of time before whoever bought this accidentally hits something shiny and the "ricochet" blinds someone.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @12:12PM (#35443678)

    Part of the reason stopping power is such a big deal is that it takes a lot of energy to punch through rib cages and skulls. Most people who die from handgun wounds do so from exsanguination, not disablement of vital organs, and most of these people are shot with cartridges an order of magnitude more powerful than .22 long rifle.

    I suspect that any energy weapon that wants to match a handgun in terms of energy delivered in the same time domain will need to produce at least as much energy to do the damage necessary, or operate on principals similar to a Taser and act on the nervous system.

  • Re:Wrong power (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @12:47PM (#35444136) Homepage

    Er, normally the power output is given as the power of the laser pulse, is it not? Rather than normalized to an equivalent laser that is on continuously. A 1 MW laser that is pulsed at 10 Hz with a 50% duty cycle would be outputting 1 MW during the pulses,and 0 otherwise, for a total of half the energy of a 1 MW continuous laser.

    For example the laser in TFA, which is actually only 1 kW, pulses only once for 100ns. The actual power output of the pulse is 1 kW; it is not a 10 MW pulse that they average out over a second.

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