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Lasers for Fun and Profit

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the all-we-need-is-some-sharks dept.

Technology 121

Stuart of Wapping writes "This is a very interesting site, links to pages describing real-life, tried-and-tested Star-Trek/James Bond gadgets... The Laser Medical Pen, or Medpen, developed in-house by the Laser Division of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate, is a second-generation device that provides a physician or paramedic with a unique, compact, portable, and battery-operated laser capability. The laser can cut like a scalpel as well as coagulate bleeding."

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FROST PISS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4051887)

WHAT NOW BITCHES SUCK MY DICK!

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:FROST PISS (0, Offtopic)

ThePyromaniak (561029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051894)

FROST PISS...that sounds painful!!! count me out

F1rst P0st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4051889)

3y3 0wn j00.
First post

Dilberted? (5, Funny)

C0LDFusion (541865) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051901)

I remember Scott Adams mentioning something like this in "The Dilbert Future", and why it wouldn't go mainstream, because people would buy them from medical supply stores. And then just imagine them in the hands of your friends. Go to sleep and have your asscrack sealed.

This isn't much of a worry for me (1)

Zen Programmer (518532) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052427)

Considering that I don't sleep naked when my friends spend the night.

Re:This isn't much of a worry for me (2)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052483)

I imagine a laser scapel will make short work of your underwear :-p

Re:This isn't much of a worry for me (1)

C0LDFusion (541865) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052814)

And seriously, I have friends who will do anything to get their pranks done. B'sides, the other option is they can seal your mouth shut and make endless inane "Matrix" jokes.

"What? You want us to dial 911? Let me ask, what good is 911 if you're unable...to...speak?"

Laser Tag? (4, Funny)

reezle (239894) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051902)


Wow, I thought laser pointers in traffic were bad.
This'll bring it to a whole new level.

Interesting... (4, Insightful)

Twintop (579924) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051904)

This is just another example of how real life follows in the footsteps of science fiction: impossible things 30 years ago being made possible in similar ways that they were 'being done' in sci-fi stuffs. It never ceases to amaze me how writers with far-fetched ideas can be on the money so often, even though they are way ahead of their time.

Re:Interesting... (2, Interesting)

ThePyromaniak (561029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051915)

Thats soooo true but those corny 60's SCI-FI movies said that we would have flying cars and such by the year 2000...here it is 2002 and we havent even developed a decent personal interplanetary travel capsule....maybe science fiction writers overestimated us

Re:Interesting... (2)

Latent IT (121513) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052040)

True, they were wrong about some things in one direction (no flying cars) but wrong about some things in the other direction - tiny computers, with like, screens, instead of a big row of colored lights. =)

Obligatory Simpsons Reference (1, Funny)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052144)

Young Frink: Well, sure, the Frinkiac-7 looks impressive [to student] Don't touch it! [back to class] But I predict that within 100 years computers will be twice as powerful, 10,000 times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings in Europe will own them.

Not Really (4, Insightful)

narftrek (549077) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052086)

Actually I think most of the things we have today are because of the ideas in books/movies/etc. Not becuase some writer "predicted" it but because some reader thought "man it would be cool to have one of those communicator thingys" and so he made one. I doubt most writers are ahead of thier time but they have damn good ideas which us ubergeeks latch on to and make a reality. Mark my words, one day some geek will beat his brains out until warp engines are cruising ships around the galaxy not because Gene Roddenberry had some kinda vision of the future but because his idea seemed like it made some sense and sparked the brain of a few fans.

Actually... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052729)

A lot of things that the general public first saw in sci-fi stories were already being discussed in the scientific community. The science fiction writers were often in contact with scientists (as friends, sometimes coworkers and in other relationships), and were inspired by what the scientists were already discussing.

High Power Microwaves? (4, Interesting)

MiTEG (234467) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051913)

What intrigued me was the information about high power microwaves [af.mil] . It says

"High Power Microwave produces burnout and disruption in electronics while not affecting humans."

Yes, I realize that anything within a range of the spectrum around 2.4Ghz is considered microwave (cell phone, cordless phones, 802.11, etc.) but isn't the only reason they don't hurt people because they are relatively low power? I imagine if you pump enough power into one of those things it could start to make you boil.

Anyway, I'd hate to be one of the test subjects used in determining whether or not this actually does cause damage.

Not exactly. (3, Insightful)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051923)

Microwave is generally everying above 1Ghz up to near visible light.

Microwave ovens operate at around 2.4Ghz usually... the reason they can heat up water is due to the frequency itself, and it's ability to cause water molecules to move around in the field. It's not, as some say, because it's the resonant frequency of a water molecule.

Microwave at higher frequencies could even be harmless.. depending.. the reason it screws up electronics is because of the photoelectric effect.. the microwaves end up creating lots of electric currents that burn out the equipment.

It's quite concievable that this would work yet be generally harmless to a human.

Re:Not exactly. (3, Interesting)

Medevo (526922) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051977)

the reason they can heat up water is due to the frequency itself, and it's ability to cause water molecules to move around in the field. It's not, as some say, because it's the resonant frequency of a water molecule.


Wouldnt this mean that we could also make a large microwave, and use it as some sort of weapon (not realy).

Also do the home microwaves use a very specific frequency?, or else photoelectric effect could short circit the hearts electric timing system.

Medevo

Re:Not exactly. (1)

Vulture_ (106594) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053139)

Wouldnt this mean that we could also make a large microwave, and use it as some sort of weapon (not realy).
You don't need a "large" microwave for that. The magnetron in a typical microwave oven is more than enough to cook someone, or so I'm told. Since the magnetron emits a coherent microwave beam, you can aim it at someone's head for maximum effect.

Re:Not exactly. (2, Informative)

The Electric Messiah (591306) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052066)

the reason they can heat up water is due to the frequency itself, and it's ability to cause water molecules to move around in the field. It's not, as some say, because it's the resonant frequency of a water molecule.



Nearly correct, but a bit incomplete. It is because of the frequency of the microwave photon. The energy level of a microwave photon happens to correspond to the gap in energy levels between the ground quantum state of a water molecule and higher "excited" quantum states. The microwave photon collides with the water molecule. The water molecule absorbs the energy of the photon, causing it to "jump" to a higher energy level. Once enough of these photons are absorbed by enough water molecules, the average kinetic energy of the entire group of water molecules is raised, which in turn raises the temperature.

Re:Not exactly. (3, Insightful)

idontneedanickname (570477) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052493)

You do know that humans are 70+% water, don't you?

Re:High Power Microwaves? (2, Informative)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051988)

We think of microwaves in terms of microwave ovens. These operate on an EXACT frequecy just below 2.4 GHz that is the precise resonance frequency of water molecules. This makes things boil from the inside, and we tend to generalize this to all microwave behavior.

Microwaves that are NOT at that magical resonance frequency just cause simple tissue heating effects, like a strong RF transmitter. At least until you get upwards in frequency toward gamma and x-rays where the energy becomes known as "ionizing radiation".

At that point, the energy can knock around the nucleotides that make up DNA and cause mutations, cancer, etc. (a Bad Thing).

Re:High Power Microwaves? (1)

Richard Platt (219893) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052078)

As another poster commented, the microwave oven frequency isn't tuned to a resonance frequency of water molecules at all. The absorption of microwaves by the interaction of the water molecule's electric dipole with the field of the microwave works over a very wide range of frequencies. You wouldn't *want* a strong resonance - you don't want the microwaves to be all absorbed by the outside of the food after all, and the frequency used is definitely not a resonance.

This seems to be one of those persistant myths...

Re:High Power Microwaves? (3, Interesting)

DarkMan (32280) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052261)

I think that the reason that it's misunderstood is because there's that half degree of true it.

There _is_ a resonance, and thus at frequencies near that, water absorbs stronger than other materials. If memory serves me correctly, the resonance is at around 1.4 GHz (although my mental arithmatic might be out) for the H-O-H bend. At the 2.4 GHz then, it's not having much of an effect, compared to a resonant system. But there is an increase in it's absorbtion cross section, due to that.

Were it not for the resonance, then it wouldn't be principly water that did the absorbing, and the penetration depth in a microwave would be much greater.

IIRC the 2.4 GHz was picked because the ways to generate microwaves are pretty efficent at that frequency, and the energy dispertion inside water is 3Db per inch or so.

Re:High Power Microwaves? (1)

robhancock (136922) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052165)

From the www.repairfaq.org Microwave Oven Repair FAQ:

What is significant about 2.45 GHz? Not that much. Water molecules are not resonant at this frequency. A wide range of frequencies will work to heat water efficiently. 2.45 GHz was probably chosen for a number of other reasons including not interfering with existing EM spectrum assignments and convenience in implementation. In addition, the wavelength (about 5 inches) results in reasonable penetration of the microwave energy into the food. The 3 dB (half power) point is about 1 inch for liquid water - half the power is absorbed in the outer 1 inch of depth, another 1/4 of the power in the next inch, and so forth.

Re:High Power Microwaves? (1)

joetee (13215) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052941)

Everyone knows a timelord selected the 2.4GHz frequency to save us from x10.com. (Like duh man!)
The timelord went back in time and changed the oven frequency in order to save us!
He knew after 2001, radiation leaks from microwave ovens would interfere with x10 videocameras! x10 Camera Frequency [x10.com] .
Even though 2.4GHz would also interfere with 802.11b, etc. [wave-report.com] , stopping x10 was more important!
Future proliferation of x10 videocameras had to be stopped since the easy to use cameras only encouraged viewing nudity and thus would harm more of "the children".
Politicaly correcting history required any spectrum be sacrificed!

Besides, it really was the only way to stop the x10 pop-under ads!

Suitcase laser (4, Interesting)

hedley (8715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051917)

I used to work at a laser lab and we had a suitcase laser. Looked like a photographers case, brushed aluminum, plug it in, and out from the corner came a beam of Alexandrite produced photons (Alexandrite is a vibronic and can be tuned to lase at many different frequencies). This suitcase was shopped around the military quite a bit, that same lab used to buy meat from the grocery store and cut it with the lasers to test surgical properties. Most dangerous place I ever worked, coding with green goggles on, possible instant blindness, 20kv shocks whilst standing in water from leaking cooling pumps! I even got my belt burned like a high school ticker tape experiment, an ND (neutral density) filter exploded because the energy from the beam was so powerful, my boss knocked the hamamatsu(sp?) energy meter out of the way, and I was behind it at belt level, two burns close together in the leather belt and one further away as I tried to escape :)

Hedley

Re:Suitcase laser (1)

Worminater (600129) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052687)

Honestly, that sounds like an extremely interesting place to work. Anything of that line itself would be cool.

Re:Suitcase laser (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053030)

A good thing you didn't jump...

Bruce Springsteen's Blood Money (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4051918)

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S BLOOD MONEY

NEWS ITEM: (CNN); On Tuesday, Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising";his first studio album of all new material in seven years-comes out. The record has made news not least because Springsteen has focused on the people affected by the Sept. 11 attacks for much of his subject matter.

===============

That is what Bruce Springsteen is doing with his trivialization of the September 11 New York aerospace mishaps by turning the carnage into a gleeful rhyme fest.

It's going to be bad enough come September 11, 2002 when all the major networks spew out vitriol against an innocent-until-proven guilty Osama Bin Laden while laying on the America-the-Beautiful patriotism as thick as Rosie O'Donnell's left thigh.

Springsteen made this album solely as a cadaver chase that's in pursuit of the few shekels still left over after the money-grubbing spouses finished picking over the corpses of their World Trade Center dead.

Those of us who lost money on Wall Street because we couldn't trade futures options when the NYSE closed for three or four days are particularly offended by Springsteen's smarmy paean to a couple of dead NYPD and NYFD bozos who earn, what, $50K a year! We, for one, will not miss theseu under-achievers who didn't even have the sense to ask for stock options.

Renowned music critic Pauline Kael has called "The Rising" an "insipid little collection of frightfully schmaltzy poems that honor people so ignorant that they jumped out of the World Trade Center before rescuers could come to their aid. These aren't heroes or victims, these are sacredy cats!"

And what of the E Street Band? They are nothing more than minor players who for three decades have circled around Springsteen picking at the anorexic groupies and whiney homos that "The Boss" passes by when selecting his bedmate at the end of each night's performance.

It is a good thing that the United States Supreme Court last month outlawed the Star Spangled Banner as our nation's official Pledge of Allegiance. Otherwise, Springsteen would have no doubt added this boozy ballad to an album that is already so smarmy that it will send a diabetic into toxic shock.

Springsteen has always been a Commie anti-capitalist. To realize that, one has only to listen to such anti-business songs as "Brown-Eyed Girl" and "Borned in the USA." Yet "The Rising" is capitalism at its purest: He wants to earn residuals off the rotting bones of the dead WTC victims, even as the maggots crawl through their eye sockets and infest their carnal regions that no longer give pleasure to spouses who have only recently re-entered the dating pool.

We know we speak for everyone on Slashdot when we call Bruce Springsteen an ambulance chaser for releasing "The Rising."

Or perhaps Springsteen is just jealous that Mr. Osama Bin Laden couldn't find anything in New Jersey as worthy as the two WTC towers for being made into such an honorable political statement for Arab and Afghanistan independence.

Re:Bruce Springsteen's Blood Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4051939)

Those of us who lost money on Wall Street because we couldn't trade futures options when the NYSE closed for three or four days are particularly offended by Springsteen's smarmy paean....

The NYSE supports the trading of neither futures, options, nor this mythical "futures options" instrument you have just fabricated. The NYSE lets you trade stocks, and that's it.

You are therefore, dear sir, an idiot.

Re:Bruce Springsteen's Blood Money (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052043)

Futures options do exist, they are simply options on futures, and you can trade them on CBOT and maybe CME, aswell as some of the other minor exchanges (Philly, Pacific, etc.) The trade isn't as liquid as say Eurodollar futures, but it beats eggs or milk futures. I also think they were trading around the 12th or 13th since neither Chicago exchanges were threatend, and they're trying to become the global exchange just like NYSE, NASDAQ, Dax, LSE and the other major country bourses.

Re:Bruce Springsteen's Blood Money (2)

Slashamatic (553801) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053050)

Also it is normal to stop trading on derivative instruments if there is a major problem trading the underlying. For example, trading on the DOW future isn't a good idea if the NYSE is closed.

To trade is human, to hedge, divine!

Re:Bruce Springsteen's Blood Money (1, Insightful)

waferhead (557795) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051941)

Is this a troll or a parody?

Re:Bruce Springsteen's Blood Money (1)

Latent IT (121513) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052020)

Maybe it's a parody of a troll!

Seriously, Borned in the USA?

(Hint to /. - I can get all this out in 20 seconds. Too long, okay?)

The good old DED (2, Funny)

Valar (167606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051926)

Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate
I believe that is under the Department of Redundancy Department.

Re:The good old DED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4051959)

Not quite funny man. Directed Energy = laser and directorate = bunch of people trying to get something into production.

Re:The good old DED (1)

Valar (167606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052542)

i understand this. what you must understand is that they both have direct in them.

The good old HERD (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052834)

That's the Directed Energy Directorate. Undirected energy R&D is handled by the Energetic Materials Branch [af.mil] of the Air Force Research Laboratory, which develops conventional bombs.

Re:The good old DED (1)

Vulture_ (106594) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053164)

Maybe it would be clearer if it were "Directed-Energy Directorate". It is a directorate that deals with directed-energy devices.

Directed energy is energy which is directed to go in some particular direction -- that is, energy which is aimed at some target. This is as opposed to undirected energy, which flows forth in all directions, like a bomb.

Note that bombs with shaped charges, such as the one used to blast a hole into the hull of the USS Cole, are also a sort of directed energy, though I don't know if the Directed Energy Directorate handles that sort of thing. A shaped charge is an explosive charge whose explosive force goes mostly in one particular direction, rather than in all directions as with a conventional bomb. Shaped charges have been used at least since World War II in anti-tank weapons, though many modern tanks are equipped with a type of armor that is highly resistant -- if not impervious -- to shaped charges. Details of how this armor works is highly classified for obvious reasons.

Household chemicals? (2, Funny)

jafuser (112236) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051931)

The COIL [Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser] utilizes industrial strength household chemicals to produce its power.

Household chemicals? Ooo... so if I mix some ammonia, iodized salt, water, and ketchup, I'll have one of these? I bet my neighbors will quit making noise at 3 in the morning when they know I've got this!

Re:Household chemicals? (1)

SlugLord (130081) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052510)

"Industrial strength" AND "household" at the same time" Wow! That's gotta use some sort of quantum duality or something.

Re:Household chemicals? (1)

sirsex (550329) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052930)

I bet my neighbors will quit making noise at 3 in the morning when they know I've got this!

I'm not so sure, our AK-47 didn't to sh*t. Damn Texans ain't scared of guns.

Oh oh! (1, Redundant)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051932)

Brings new meaning to the warning on laser pointers... Don't look directly at the beam...

OUCH!

Re:Oh oh! (0, Redundant)

falzer (224563) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052581)

Don't look at beam with remaining good eye.

zerg (2)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051935)

Allow me to quote someone from this very site:

--start--
Hit in the ass by a laser
Livin' it up when I'm goin' down
Hit in the ass by a laser
Lovin' it up 'til I hit the ground
-Wadetemp
---end---

Coagulate? (3, Informative)

BitHive (578094) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051940)

"The laser can cut like a scalpel as well as coagulate bleeding."

Do you mean it cauterizes the wound? That is when intense heat stops bleeding. Coagulation is when the platelets aggregate to form clots. I doubt the laser is doing this.

Re:Coagulate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4051966)

Well done!, maybe they should have a BioGrad,
just for fun, for like, burning with lasers!

Re:Coagulate? (1)

Worminater (600129) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052695)

Your right, all star wars nerds know lasers cauterizes the wound to stop the bleeding:)

Yes, "coagulate" (1)

Lurkingrue (521019) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052994)

No, the original poster got it right.

When we use surgical lasers, we tend use a more narrow-spectrum green beam to coagulate (I've most often used argon) -- the green light is better tuned to the absorption properties of hemoglobin (and thus a greater amount of the energy is absorbed by the blood).

The cutting beams we use can be at a different wavelength, and they also tend to have a tighter focus and will have a longer pulse (even continuous)...The tighter focus and longer pulse are all better for cutting. With something like tattoo removal, or other superficial uses, you'll tend to use a less focused beam.

Fun with lasers? RTFM for lasers... (5, Funny)

swordboy (472941) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051942)

First page of the instruction manual that comes with a laser:

CAUTION: DO NOT LOOK INTO LASER WITH REMAINING EYE!

Re:Fun with lasers? RTFM for lasers... (2)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052094)

They should have the rest of the manual in braille for those who don't heed the caution.

Yea but,,, (5, Funny)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051951)

All that money. All that research. All those lasers.

And yet the one thing I ask for is still missing. That's right. I want some sharks with frickin lasers attached to their heads.

Throw me a bone here, people.

Re:Yea but,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052000)

See Austin Powers 3.

Re:Yea but,,, (SPOILER ALERT) (1)

ZuG (13394) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052067)

Perhaps you didn't see the newest flick? He gets his wish....

Thats a hell of a pen... (3, Funny)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051955)

Laser Medical Pen is 12 inches long, less than 1-inch in diameter, and weighs a mere pound.

Re:Thats a hell of a pen... (1)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052064)

Yeah, think of the millions in research grants they could have gotten if they'd have called it a Laser Medical Dildo instead.

Re:Thats a hell of a pen... (1)

Worminater (600129) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052703)

If they jacked up the power, but a cap on the extension length and increased the thickness, we got us a light saber:)

Re:Thats a hell of a pen... (0)

Psiven (302490) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052899)

We can do this by first creating a laser beam of intense power and portablize it. Then behind the source of the beam you place a gravitaional object so imense energy of the laser is attracted back after it escapes about 4 ft away.

Re:Thats a hell of a pen... (1)

Vulture_ (106594) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053171)

Yes, and it would also be immovable.

A better idea is to create a magnetic field and fill it with plasma. That would be quite easy if you could make a fusion reactor the size of a cucumber...

Ambulances (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051957)

And the paramedics don't have these WHY? 2nd attempt. Slashdot doesn't think I can formulate a though and type it out within 20 seconds.

Re:Ambulances (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052228)

I'm guessing that ambulance workers are already capable of cutting people with regular scalpels - maybe in the future these devices will prove to be faster and more efficient or something and can be taken up by emergency staff, but when it comes to saving lives, you don't want to try and equip your medics with the 'latest crazy gadgets'.

Just my guess, anyway.

Re:Ambulances (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052299)

Formulate a what?

Re:Ambulances (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052554)

maybe -- though perhaps you should proof-read.

Not Especially Useful in the Field (2, Interesting)

vaguelyamused (535377) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053217)

While the concept sounds cool this isn't really useful in the field for emergency care. Disposable electrical cauteries that do exactly the same thing have been around for years. Very rarely does someone die from external bleeding that could be cauterized. Those types of wounds can usually be controlled easily with direct pressure, pressure points, etc. What kills people is pulmonary injuries, internal bleeding and/or neurological injuries. If you get shot or stabbed, closing the entrance/exit wounds with cauterization does very little for you. All the serious damage is on the inside and the only answer is being taken to the O.R. This is particually true of gun shot wounds as the shockwave around the bullet cavitates the tissue around its path through the body doing massive damage, of course relative to the size and more so velocity KE=1/2 m * v^2.

Active Denial Technology (2)

halftrack (454203) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051960)

When confronted with the rumors of an Active Denial Technology being developed; government officials claimed that this was only a rumor. They also said that the government do not intend to pursue such a technology. Other sources within DARPA and the Department of Defence says that this is not true and that several government institutions are actively using it today.

Re:Active Denial Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052864)

ADT...so, like, the security company?

I've got one (4, Interesting)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 11 years ago | (#4051973)

Everyone should have a Death Ray.

Especially a battery operated, portable Death Ray!

I just picked up a 3 Watt laser diode at a Hamfest recently. It's whats at the core of the med-pack and portable med-pens displayed. This thing is really fucking cool. It will make paper and wire insulation, plastic, etc. burst into flame from about 1/4 inch away.

The diode is made by Spectra Diode Labs (SDL) and channels 3 Watts of optical energy at 808 nanometers into a fiber optic. I have that clamped into a standard mechanical pencil to hold the fiber and allow it to be directed with some control.

The spot that appears is very scary because it appears weak red, about 5 mW of visible light energy is present but 98 % of the optical power is invisible in the infrared spectrum.

I haven't tried any home laser surgery yet, but it makes a dandy wire stripper or marking scribe. I also use it to open sealed ni-cad battery packs and change cells for walkie-talkies, etc.

Yep, Everyone should have a Death Ray!

Re:I've got one (2, Interesting)

peatbakke (52079) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052162)

Sounds like you've got an Nd:LSB laser. If you want to see something cool, track down a suitably sized potassium titanyl phosphate (KPT) crystal. It doubles the frequency, turning that faint red to a brilliant green. I'm not sure what the efficiency loss is, but it's a neat trick.

Re:I've got one (4, Interesting)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052199)

Actually it's a single diode putting out 3W at 808 nm. They currently sell for around $400.00 (US).

I've got it mounted to the outside of a dual D-Cell battery holder clip (from Radio Shack, of all places!) with a small power switch and a current limiting resistor in series.

These are used as printer's plate thermal developing units in larger arrays.

These are also used as pumps for DPSS (Diode Pumped Solid State) lasers. I've got a nice chunk of KTP used to double 1064nm down to 532 (green), but I need to find a large piece of Nd:YVO (Vanadate) which transforms the 808 up to 1064nm.
This is how most of the green laser pointers work, they have a diode similar but smaller, putting out about 100-500mW at 808 nm and using similar crystals to transform the frequency to 532 nm.

Re:I've got one (2, Interesting)

peatbakke (52079) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052434)

hah. well, that's what I get for reading your post too quickly. i've been using 808nm diodes to pump Nd:LSB, and for some reason I assumed you were pumping Nd:LSB/YVO. duh, me.

See if you can get your hands on Nd:LSB. It's a bit more expensive than YVO, but it's got a *much* higher saturation intensity, and more efficient absorption of 808nm as well ... not that you really have to worry about that sort of thing when you're playing around with a 3W laser. Most of the applications I've seen with LSB are for compact, low powered situations ...

Re:I've got one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052394)

about 1/4 inch away.

Ooo! Nasty!

Re:I've got one (1)

Vulture_ (106594) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053150)

Mind you, this is a 3W laser. That's not a whole hell of a lot of power. Most night lights consume more. Considering such a low-power laser could do that kind of damage, imagine what a big (100W, perhaps) laser could do. (Of course, you have issues of cooling and so forth, but that's not the point.)

Re:I've got one (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4053203)

3W is classed as a high-power laser. It's perfectly sufficient to cause a lot of damage. Don't get confused by thinking of a standard 40W lamp, which takes 40W of electrical power and dissipates, partly as light over a wide range of wavelengths, and as heat. A 3W laser will produce 3W of coherent, monochromatic light in a low-divergence cone. Note that it probably requires substancially more than 3W of electrical power.

Re:I've got one (3, Informative)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053223)

You also must realize that that entire 3W is concentrated into the diameter of the fiber optic. I think they are about 60 micro-meters inner core diameter, so the power distribution is something on the order of a KW per square mm. LOTSA power in a VERY small area!

The beam isn't collimated out of the fiber, so after about 1/4" or so, the beam diverges enough that it doesn't set things on fire. I have a simple collimator from a laser diode, and with a little tweaking, I can set things afire from 8 to 10 inches away!! That is REALLY cool.

Re:I've got one (2)

Slashamatic (553801) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053060)

How do you keep the thing cool? I have seen 10mw semiconductor lasers with some serious cooling in the form of a big heatsink. I understand the normal medical lasers have an assembly carrying power and cooling to link it back to a power unit.

Re:I've got one (3, Interesting)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053229)

Actually, I was amazed that the thing barely gets hot at all. It consumes a full 5A at 3V, so it is taking in 15W and putting 3 of that out in light, so it's actually only dissipating about 12W or so of heat.

The diode package is a small 1/2" dia. gold can embedded in a slab of beryllium copper(?). I have the thing screwed directly into the positive
battery terminal on the battery clip holder.

During operation, I tend to use short bursts, and after about 10-15 minutes of blowing things up it just starts getting warm. Continuously, it would probably heat to dangerous temps within 1-2 minutes. A simple CPU cooling fan/heatsink combo would be more than adequate for continuous operation, which the diode _was_ designed for.

COIL lasers are bad. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4051975)

They give off nasty gasses when they operate, HELLO EPA and if one of those planes that carries them crashes there is a 2 mile radius kill zone from the chemicals. Yea, it doesn't tell you that on the website.

The laser pen is cool though.

Hey Americans (-1)

BlackTriangle (581416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052010)

Why don't you use your lasers to mutilate your sons' genitals? Sounds like a plan!

Life imitates art? (2, Funny)

gwizah (236406) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052033)

Is it just me or does this laser [af.mil] laser resemble something out of Real Genius? [imdb.com] Now all we need is a giant Jiffy-Pop package and a mean ol' professor...

But they don't have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052037)

A set of computer watches that can be linked into a Beowulf cluster.

Anticipating the paradox... (2)

Bingo Foo (179380) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052080)

I'm waiting for the typical reaction to the list of technologies on that site. The thing that will raise the ire of /.ers most is the Active Denial Technology [af.mil] , which they will argue is inhumane, cruel, tool of the imperialist hegemony, blah blah, and so on. The paradox is, this is a non lethal device that causes no permanent damage. The slashbots will go all ga-ga fantasizing about airborne free electron lasers and tabletop or backpack tank-melting ray-guns (Just like in sci-fi and comic books!!!), but heaven forbid the evil military industrial complex research non lethal weapons....

Bury this post and watch to see if my prediction comes true....

Re:Anticipating the paradox... (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052128)

I don't have a problem with a non-lethal weapon that causes temporary pain without permanent damage to its targets. I think it's vastly preferable to the alternatives.
I do, however, think it's unethical to test such a weapon on animals, especially when they have human volunteers for the project.

Re:Anticipating the paradox... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052433)

Of course with the army you never quite know what exactly they mean when they say volunteers ...

Re:Anticipating the paradox... (1)

SlugLord (130081) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052543)

Perhaps the problem is that it's only non-lethal if you turn it off within a few seconds. Yep, it's in there. It says the beam would only have to be on a few seconds. Just like touching a hot lightbulb, if you keep applying the energy, it will burn. The intent is that the beam would just be flashed on and off, causing pain but no damage. The beam could presumably be left on as long as one wished, vaporizing (ok maybe just badly burning) the assailants.

Re:Anticipating the paradox... (1)

Vulture_ (106594) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053177)

The point of the original poster was that, even if the beam is left on and the assailants are severely injured as a result, that's no worse than the current common practice of drowning them in a hail of hot lead, which also causes rather severe injuries.

Star Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052083)

Wow, now they just need to control the "length" of the laser and we'll have fully functioning lightsabers.

Did anyone read the disclaimer page.. (3, Funny)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052085)

... for the site here [af.mil] ? It reads:
Official U.S. government system for authorized use only. Do not discuss, enter, transfer, process or transmit classified, sensitive national security information of greater sensitivity than that for which this system is authorized. Use of this system constitutes consent to monitoring. Unauthorized use could result in criminal prosecution. Unclassified, non-senstive, non-privacy act use only.
Where are the privacy advocates when you really need them??? The were all whining yesterday about toll system monitoring [slashdot.org] , yet just by clicking a slashdot link we consent to monitoring.

You people are just not doing your jobs and will have to be fragged.

Re:Did anyone read the disclaimer page.. (1)

Vulture_ (106594) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053135)

yet just by clicking a slashdot link we consent to monitoring.
Ever heard of Web server logs? By clicking any link you consent to monitoring.

Begreif es, Motherfucker (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052103)

INTRO:
Ich scheiß auf euch Schlampen
Begreif es, Motherfucker
Ja, dieses Album ist all den Lehrern gewidmet,
Die mir erzählten, dass ich es nie zu was bringen würde
Es ist den Leuten gewidmet, die über den Gebäuden lebten,
Vor denen ich früher meine Geschäfte abgewickelt habe,
Diese Leute, die wegen mir die Polizei geholt haben,
Wenn ich bloß versuchte, etwas Geld zu machen, Um meine Tochter zu ernähren
Und es ist all den Niggaz gewidmet, die sich abrackern
Verstehst du, was ich meine
Ha, es ist alles gut, baby-baby, uh

Das Ganze war ein Traum
Ich las immer das "Word Up"-Magazin
Salt'n'Pepa und Heavy D in einer Limousine
Ich habe die Poster an meine Wand gehängt
Jeden Samstag kam Marley Marl's "Rap Attack" im Radio
Ich hab's auf Cassette aufgenommen, bis sie voll war
Rauchte Gras und Bambus, trank "Private Stock"-Bier
Ganz früher, als ich das rot-schwarze Holzfällerhemd anhatte
Mit dem passenden Hut dazu
Erinnert ihr euch noch an Rappin' Duke, "duh-ha, duh-ha"?
Ihr hättet nie gedacht,
Dass Hip Hop es so weit bringen würde
Jetzt stehe ich im Rampenlicht, weil ich tight reime
Es ist Zeit, dass ich bezahlt werde,
Explodiere wie das World Trade Center (Anschlag 1993)
Bin ein geborener Sünder, das Gegenteil eines Gewinners
Ich erinnere mich, dass ich immer Sardinen zu Mittag aß
Peace an Ron G, Brucey B, Kid Capri
An Funkmaster Flex und Lovebug Starsky
Ich bin so groß geworden, wie ihr es erwartet hattet
Ruft mich zu Hause an, selbe Nummer, selbe Gegend Es ist alles gut

Und wenn du's nicht weißt, jetzt weißt du's, Nigga

CHORUS:
Du weißt ganz genau, wer du bist
Lass dich von niemandem unterkriegen
Greif nach den Sternen
Du hast es versucht, nicht viele taten das Denn du bist der Einzige
Ich gebe dir viel von meiner Liebe

Ich veränderte mich von einem gewöhnlichen Dieb
Zu jemandem, der per Du mit Robin Leach ist
(Leach moderierte "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous")
Und ich bin weit davon entfernt, billig zu sein
Ich rauche den ganzen Tag Gras mit meinen Jungs
Verbreite Liebe auf die Brooklyn-Art
Moet- und Alize-Drinks halten mich stets betrunken
Früher machten sich Mädels über mich lustig
Jetzt schreiben sie mir Briefe, weil sie mich vermissen
Ich dachte nie, dass ich es mit Rap schaffen könnte
Ich war zu sehr dran gewöhnt, Knarren zu benutzen
Jetzt liegen die Mädels auf mir,
Wie früher die Butter auf dem Toast lag
Vom Mississippi runter bis zur Ostküste
Habe Häuser in Queens, Marihuana für Wochen
Ausverkaufte Plätze, um Biggie Smalls rappen zu hören
Ich lebe ein Leben ohne Angst
Schenke meiner Kleinen 5 Karat-Ohrringe
Mittagessen, späte Frühstücke, Interviews am Pool
Werde als Depp angesehen, weil ich die Schule schmiss
Ein Klischee eines missverstandenen schwarzen Mannes
Und es ist trotzdem alles gut

Und wenn du's nicht weißt, jetzt weißt du's, Nigga

-CHORUS-

Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis
Als ich total pleite war, konnte ich's mir nicht vorstellen
TV mit 127 cm Bildröhre, viel Kohle, ein Ledersofa
Habe zwei Autos, eine Limousine mit 'nem Chauffeur
Die Telefonrechnung ist ungefähr 2000 Dollar netto
Aber kein Grund zur Sorge, das erledigt mein Buchhalter
Und meine ganze Clique hängt ab
Den ganzen Tag am feiern, keine Sozialwohnungen mehr
Ich denke an mein 1 Zimmer-Apartment zurück
Jetzt fährt meine Mutter 'nen Acura,
Mit einem Nerz auf ihrem Rücken
Und sie liebt es, mit mir zu prahlen, ist doch klar
Sie lächelt immer, wenn mein Gesicht in der "Source" steht
Wir regten uns immer auf, wenn der Hauswirt Stress machte
Keine Heizung,
Wir fragten uns, warum Weihnachten an uns vorüberzog
Geburtstage waren die schlimmsten Tage
Jetzt nippen wir am Champagner, wenn wir durstig sind
Verdammt richtig, ich mag das Leben, das ich lebe
Denn ich veränderte mich vom Negativen zum Positiven
Und es ist alles... (Es ist alles gut)

Und wenn du's nicht weißt, jetzt weißt du's, Nigga

Not good for checking pupil dialation (1)

kmahan (80459) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052289)

Hope it's packaged differently then the typical penlight that the doc keeps in his pocket for checking the pupil response of your eye. Imagine him/her making a mistake by grabbing the wrong one out of his shirt pocket and shining it into your eye. "Oooops".

Re:Not good for checking pupil dialation (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052836)

The MedPen is 12" long. Somehow I don;t think they'll be carrying them in their front shirt pocket.

Re:Not good for checking pupil dialation (1)

waferbuster (580266) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053064)

Which brings up the old "is that a laser pen in your pocket, or are you just really happy to see me?" joke.

How can lasers be for fun and profit? (0)

MacOS_Rules (170853) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052505)

Step 1: Build / Buy lasers

Step 2: Attach them to something (shark's heads, for example, as per other posts)

Step 3: Copyright this

Step 4: ???

Step 5: Profit!!!

Step 6: Fun!!! (For you, anyway)

Step 7: Make a beowulf cluster of them for added fun and profit

Classified? (0, Flamebait)

mtec (572168) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052570)


Does anyone else besides me think that this site shouldn't be up? Do we have to tell the French everything?

Surgery with no blood? Cattle Mutilations? (0)

Jaiden (64072) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052689)

I guess they can't blame cattle mutilations on aliens anymore. "No human technology can produce this precision and with NO BLOOD!!" Maybe they've just been testing this one for a few years.

Star trek device (1)

Bzap (597713) | more than 11 years ago | (#4052916)

Actually, Adams wrote about the star trek device for sealing open wounds :)

Uhhh, boldly solving non-existing problems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4052937)

What is wrong with electrocautery?

See it here! [geigermedical.com]

Can't resolve domain name (1)

Tyreth (523822) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053099)

For some reason I can't connect to this website. Any chance someone could give me the IP address so I can view the website?

Unless it's been /.'ed

Thanks.

oh great, another security checkpoint failure (2)

merlyn (9918) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053162)

[...] a unique, compact, portable, and battery-operated laser capability. The laser can cut like a scalpel as well as coagulate bleeding.
Great. This means that every time I board an airplane with my normal laser pointer, the security thugs are going to need to see it operating to make sure it's not one of the dangerous kind.

And ya know what, they aren't doing that already. One more thing to slow us down. And just how do you see a laser scalpel from a normal metal ball-point pen on the X-ray?

Here is the plan (1)

kasperd (592156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4053165)

  1. Lasers
  2. Fun
  3. ???
  4. Profit
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