1 W laser pointer hits the market.

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savanik
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby savanik » Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

On one hand, I'm thrilled that technology is evolved to the point where lasers are cheap and powerful. On the other:

I was recently driving back from a friend's house at night when somebody hit cars on the road with a <5mW green laser pointer, including me. I would estimate the range at around 200-300 yards, so there was significant beam dispersion. It was also mildly humid, and you could clear trace the beam straight back to the point of origin, but pinpointing the source was difficult because you couldn't see anything around it. It was still enough that my visibility was significantly impaired, and for the next few minutes, I was slightly dazzled and disoriented. They're much worse at night.

For a laser of this power, even momentary exposure at range has the possibility of temporary or permanent blindness. How much more do you need to weaponize something, really? Arguably, blinding people is worse than being able to take their head off - then you have to have people to take care of them. Quote unattributable, but: "It's so much easier to simply bury the dead."

I was actually considering picking one of those things up to put in a home-build CNC mill and do some laser cutting, but finally decided I don't have the expertise to actually handle the thing safely! It's practically an industrial laser.

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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby mosc » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:08 pm UTC

wait wait wait wait. wait...

So you're saying some potentially dangerous device shouldn't be sold to stupid people who don't know any better? Unamerican. I have a constitutional right to blind myself simply because I can. Don't tread on me!
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:17 pm UTC

Yourself and everyone around you.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby meatyochre » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:37 pm UTC

What a buzzkill. He was clearly being satirical. Why would you correct it unless he was being serious?
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby mosc » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:10 pm UTC

The parallel with gun control is incredibly close.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby phillipsjk » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:40 pm UTC

That is the main reason I decided it was a weapon. Sure, it may have some legitimate uses, but making the thing hand-held and portable is just asking for trouble.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby francesnnnnnn » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:28 am UTC

yeah,the laser diode is technically sweet, but this thing still concerns me, a lot.

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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby Xeio » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:06 am UTC

francesnnnnnn wrote:yeah,the laser diode is technically sweet, but this thing still concerns me, a lot.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby BoomFrog » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:23 am UTC

mosc wrote:The parallel with gun control is incredibly close.

So, uhh, lets make it illegal to use in public, and especially illegal to use while pointing towards someone then? And also illegal to point at anyone and threaten to use it.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby Cynical Idealist » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:20 am UTC

Xeio wrote:
francesnnnnnn wrote:yeah,the laser diode is technically sweet, but this thing still concerns me, a lot.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:16 am UTC

Image

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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby Cynical Idealist » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:25 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Not amused.

Image
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby netcrusher88 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:39 pm UTC

So a friend had one of these at a halloween party, a few observations:

This thing is intimidating before you turn it on. It's the size of one of those big Maglites or I guess, yeah, the size of a proper lightsaber handle. Has some heft to it, very nicely machined. I wouldn't want to run one over with a truck but I'm sure it could survive it.

This... could easily be used maliciously. This isn't a "don't look into laser with remaining eye" laser, this is a "don't look at the laser beam if it's within a few feet of your face, don't look at the dot it makes, don't stand in front of the emitter, and for the love of god if you're pointing it at anything other than the sky wear goggles" laser. It's a "THIS END TOWARDS ENEMY" laser, potentially.

Malice aside, it is well-designed for safety such as it is. You cannot turn it on accidentally. There's this whole startup process that involves three or four buttons you have to press in sequence at certain times prompted by an LED. It takes 15-30 attentive seconds, easily (with timeouts for every step), before you get to the point of "press button receive awesome", and as soon as you turn it on the button becomes a dead man's switch and I think there's a cooldown period before you can start it up again.

But goddamn is it awesome. You thought seeing green beams piercing the sky was cool...

I think it makes sense to treat this as a weapon for the purpose of "must be 18 to purchase" and "no menacing people with it or pointing it at the freeway" but as long as you're careful with it it should be fine. Though, frankly, I am not opposed to the concept of requiring a background check for purchase or a training course because this does present new threat profiles and people really do not know how to handle this kind of thing and can't be trusted to read warnings.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby Jplus » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:15 pm UTC

Wouldn't even shining upwards in the sky be dangerous? I suspect such a laser could be strong enough to temporary blind a pilot over a distance of several kilometers...
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby netcrusher88 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:40 pm UTC

Eh, don't point it at aircraft and you should be fine. Don't use it near an airport. Standard procedure for pointing at things in the sky with a laser.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby Triangle_Man » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:10 pm UTC

All you really need to operate this thing is some common sense.

And maybe some safety goggles.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby netcrusher88 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:13 pm UTC

Yeah, well you know what they say about common sense. Definitely safety goggles if you want to observe the dot, at any rate.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby Josephine » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:00 am UTC

I think it's incredible that the diffuse light from the dot is enough to blind you.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby math » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:00 am UTC

That thing is ridiculous. There are warnings on those little toy laser pointers for eye damage... Which can only be there because it's happened before. But that thing could destroy an eye in one flash. I saw a video of someone almost lighting a match at close range with it. Cut some kind of black tape in half, too. It's too dangerous to be readily available to anyone with the money to buy it. I'm not responsible enough to use something that potentially dangerous, and I know plenty of people capable of using it for worse.

I think that if it were useful in any way it would be one thing, but it's not necessary for anyone to own one. So, sure it should be available to buy. But you need some kind of permit or something.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:14 am UTC

math wrote:That thing is ridiculous. There are warnings on those little toy laser pointers for eye damage... Which can only be there because it's happened before. But that thing could destroy an eye in one flash. I saw a video of someone almost lighting a match at close range with it. Cut some kind of black tape in half, too. It's too dangerous to be readily available to anyone with the money to buy it. I'm not responsible enough to use something that potentially dangerous, and I know plenty of people capable of using it for worse.

There are videos of people lighting matches, cutting electrical tape, and popping balloons with the slightly more powerful side of green lasers. This is much more powerful than those
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby Josephine » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:25 am UTC

Yeah. this one could probably set wood on fire.
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Laser Pulse pistol shows up on Hack-a-day

Postby phillipsjk » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:28 am UTC

The Goggles... they do nothing!
You’ll shoot your eye out…with a 1MW laser pulse pistol

All the same warnings apply; only the beam is a much more powerful, short (100ns), invisible pulse.

I decided to post it in this thread because I think both are laser weapons. This can be more dangerous because of the power levels involved. Some commenters believe the pulse is "only" 1kW.

While I can see the appeal, I think the prospect of sudden blindness requires extreme caution when building/using devices such as this.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby Korrente » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:21 am UTC

Jplus wrote:Wouldn't even shining upwards in the sky be dangerous? I suspect such a laser could be strong enough to temporary blind a pilot over a distance of several kilometers...



http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/laser_incidents_increase_danger_pilots_203991-1.html

And therefore:

http://www.avweb.com/avwebbiz/news/Laser_Pointing_Might_Be_Crime_204196-1.html

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Re: Laser Pulse pistol shows up on Hack-a-day

Postby netcrusher88 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:27 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:The Goggles... they do nothing!
You’ll shoot your eye out…with a 1MW laser pulse pistol

All the same warnings apply; only the beam is a much more powerful, short (100ns), invisible pulse.

While I can see the appeal, I think the prospect of sudden blindness requires extreme caution when building/using devices such as this.

Well, we at least now have verification that catastrophic failure does occur when you vaporize a small segment of an inflated balloon. Surely ensuring that result is reproducible is worth your eyesight.

And then you won't need safety goggles! Just ask Carol.
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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby Technical Ben » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:09 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
Veora wrote:Jees that thing is actually dangerous o.O

Actually, what's the point in even owning one anyway? only use for a laser pointer ive ever had was giving my friend Catherine exercise!
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They are diode powered right? These can be really small. Plus you can make little batteries for them.
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Re: Laser Pulse pistol shows up on Hack-a-day

Postby Chen » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:07 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:The Goggles... they do nothing!
You’ll shoot your eye out…with a 1MW laser pulse pistol

All the same warnings apply; only the beam is a much more powerful, short (100ns), invisible pulse.

I decided to post it in this thread because I think both are laser weapons. This can be more dangerous because of the power levels involved. Some commenters believe the pulse is "only" 1kW.

While I can see the appeal, I think the prospect of sudden blindness requires extreme caution when building/using devices such as this.


Uh has the "...even blow a hole right through a razor blade" part been verified? Because that sounds like a bigger concern than popping balloons.

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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby aoeu » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:47 pm UTC

How long until this gets combined with eye detection software in someone's basement? Not long.

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Re: 1 W laser pointer hits the market.

Postby ivankamart » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:34 am UTC

I'd be burning people's newspapers as they're reading them from down the street.
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Re: Laser Pulse pistol shows up on Hack-a-day

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:05 pm UTC

Chen wrote:Uh has the "...even blow a hole right through a razor blade" part been verified? Because that sounds like a bigger concern than popping balloons.


I dunno, razor blades are pretty shiny. I'd anticipate a lot of reflectivity in real world tests of that. Would pose a problem.

First off, you're going to absorb a ton less energy. As a minor secondary concern, you could potentially blind someone with the reflection.


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