You know what we could always use more of? Lasers. Maybe not for burning your eyes or scorching skin, but definitely for cutting and marking inanimate objects. If you've never seen a laser engraver in action before, you'll be amazed at how quickly they can work. In fact, you can make decent images on metal in less than a minute.
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Video: Wave a high-powered laser around fast enough, and the human eye will perceive an image in the light trail left behind. That's how laser projectors that cost thousands of dollars work, but it's also how this cheap, 3D-printed plastic contraption turns a simple laser pointer into a full-on light show.
Anyone with a colour printer knows that selling replacement ink cartridges is the quickest way to become a millionaire. But what if your printer never needed a single drop of ink to produce colour images at impossibly high resolutions? A new laser printer can already do that by etching microscopic patterns onto sheets of plastic.
Some SETI researchers believe the best way to detect aliens is to search the skies for their laser beams. In the largest survey of its kind, astronomers scanned 5600 stars in search of these optical signals -- and they found... absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. Here's what that means to SETI and the ongoing hunt for alien intelligence.
US military bigwigs gathered in Orlando this week for the annual AirWarfare Symposium to discuss big plans for big weapons that do big damage. According to a report, the biggest unfunded project that US Special Operations Command hopes to push through is a C-130 that's equipped with a power laser weapon.
Video: This immersive laser beam installation seems like the perfect place to stare at some lights, cleanse yourself from sin and, like, maybe even just leave your soul behind. The room is so huge and the lasers come from everywhere that it must be a hell of an experience. Like, you're trapped inside a machine. Or the future. Or another dimension entirely.
Wicked Lasers is known for its handheld lasers and torches that redefine what it means to be bright. A few years ago it released a torch that was intense enough to start a fire, and now the company has managed to dramatically shrink its design so you can easily bring it the next time you go camping and leave the matches at home.
A new generation of tabletop accelerators has the potential to accelerate electrons to near the speed of light, without the need for gigantic machines like the Large Hadron Collider. But that all-important energy beam is too spread out for optimal performance. An international team of physicists has figured out a way to address this shortcoming and described their method in a new paper in Physics of Plasmas.