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Tag Archives: Lasers

[CES 2009] Microvision Pico Projector Trumps All With Frikkin’ Lasers

picop1

By Evan Ackerman

At CES last year, we saw a prototype of Microvision’s PicoP miniature laser-based projector. Back then, I was told that the production version would most likely use LEDs, instead. I guess they decided that lasers would just be that much more awesome, because we got a look at the production version of the Microvision PicoP yesterday, and it’s absolutely laserriffic.

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The PicoP uses red, green, and blue lasers to project a WVGA (848 x 480) 16:9 widescreen image with 10 lumens of brightness and a contrast ratio of better than 5,000 to 1. It was adequately bright under ambient show floor lightning, and substantially brighter than any of the other micro projectors we’ve seen this week. In a dark room it projects a tolerable image up to a staggering 100 inches, but the best part is that since it uses lasers, it’s always inherently in focus. This is an important feature, since the whole point of a micro projector is that you can whip it out and use it anywhere.

The PicoP uses an integrated battery that gives is approximately 2 hours per charge. There’s a proprietary input jack that will accept (through included adapters) composite video or VGA inputs. Look for it in Q2 of this year for about $500.

[ Microvision PicoP ]

Actual Laser Cannon Now Available (Just Not For You)

By Evan Ackerman

It’s not sexy, but here it is: a real live commercially produced laser cannon. The FIRESTRIKE system, by Northrop Grumman, is a 15 kW electric laser capable of firing continuously as long as it gets power and coolant. It’s even got en Ethernet connection, so you can zap people and surf the internet at the same time! If you’re really ambitious, you can couple up to seven of them together to make a 100 kW laser, which is just about the minimum you’d need for an effective combat system.

The downside is that each module is about 400 pounds, which unfortunately puts it well out of the handheld class. And I assume you can’t just pop a couple Duracells in there, nor does it appear to have a wall plug. But the worst part is that it’s just not evil looking. I mean, it’s a mostly featureless totally boring gray box. It really should be put inside a case that looks like something from Star Wars (the third one, with the stupidly high SFX budget), with some skull and crossbones decals on it and an absurdly gigantic barrel with lots of blinky LED lights and smoke machines and sound effects.

Oh well, I can’t find a price, and if I were Northrop Grumman, I definitely wouldn’t sell a tactical laser system to someone like me.

[ FIRESTRIKE ] VIA [ The Register ]

Flowlight Concept Might Be Lacking In Practical Applications, But I Still Want One

Flowlight (Images courtesy d-Vision Design)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m sure we’ve all seen those long-exposure photos where someone is writing or drawing in the air with an LED which produces cool looking streaks of light in the final shot. Well that’s basically the same idea behind the Flowlight concept, except that it happens in real time without the need for a camera. The base of the unit tracks the tip of a special pen as it moves through the air, and by focusing a laser beam 100 times a second where that tip is located, the Flowlight creates small plasma points that appear to hang and glow in mid-air. As the pen moves, the laser creates a series of plasma points which are close enough together to look like glowing streaks. While the d-Vision Design website suggests the technology could be used in various applications from medicine to architecture, I don’t think it will be replacing the traditional whiteboard for sketching out ideas anytime soon. (Sadly.)

[ d-Vision Design Flowlight ] VIA [ DVICE ]

OhGizmo! Review – BlissLights Laser Wand

BlissLights Laser Wand (Image property of OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

As a blogger I end up reading about hundreds of different gadgets on a weekly basis. And unfortunately my experience with the majority of them is limited to what information is provided on a company’s website or in a press release. So when I write about a gadget that I haven’t actually had the chance to play with, I’m forced to rely on those ‘facts’ as well as my experiences with similar technology when it comes to determining if a given device has the potential to be worth my (and your) investment. Sometimes I’m impressed with their functionality or feature list, and other times I’m less than convinced about a product’s claims.

Such was the case with the BlissLights Laser Wand which I originally wrote about just over a month ago. While we here at OhGizmo! are big fans of lasers, I questioned the safety and overall usefulness of the Laser Wand, and in the end I wasn’t particularly impressed. However, shortly after writing that post I was contacted by BlissLights who felt that if I had the chance to actually play with the Laser Wand I might change my opinion. So because I can never say no to the opportunity of playing with a laser, I agreed to give them the benefit of the doubt and give it a try.

And I can honestly say that after playing with it for a few weeks, my opinion has changed. While it might not be the best choice if you’re specifically looking for a laser pointer, the BlissLights Laser Wand will make a unique addition to any laser fan’s collection, and you can read my full review of it after the jump.

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OhGizmo Review: Dragon Lasers 250mW Spartan

Space Needle

By Evan Ackerman

Dragon Lasers has seen fit to entrust me with another one of their high powered lasers to review (yay!). The Spartan is a 250mW green laser, meaning that it’s functionally the same as the Hulk laser that I reviewed last November. Rather than rewrite that review, I’m going to be focusing mostly on how the Spartan is different (and, I think, better) than the Hulk, with some eye candy thrown in for good measure. Check it out, after the jump.

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BlissLights Laser Wand

BlissLights Laser Wand (Images courtesy BlissLights)
By Andrew Liszewski

After my review of the Wicked Lasers Photonic Disruptor I have a new-found respect for green laser pointers. Even a low-powered model is too bright to be considered a toy, which is why I kind of cringe looking at these product shots. The BlissLights Laser Wand is basically a green laser pointer that uses a “high diffraction efficiency digital holographic optical element” to turn the beam into hundreds of smaller ones creating a stars effect. It’s intended to be used to amaze your party guests which it probably will as long as they’re all 10 years old. And while I’m sure the photos in that product shot are simulated, I’m not too thrilled with the idea of shining this thing in people’s faces and eyes as they seem to be suggesting.

The laser itself is classified as an FLPPS Class 2 model which is apparently safe to look at from distances greater than 6 inches, but I would still be hesitant. It uses a CR2 battery which should keep it running for about 10 hours, and is available directly from BlissLights for $99.95.

[ BlissLights Laser Wand ] VIA [ The Gadgeteer ]

DIY Blue Laser Pointer Using PS3 Replacement Parts

DIY Blu-Ray Laser Pointer (Image courtesy Joey Hagedorn)
By Andrew Liszewski

Thanks to dropping prices and increased availability, green laser pointers are becoming more and more common. As a result you no longer feel like a member of the ‘tech-elite’ when you pull one out. So the only solution to that problem is to upgrade to a blue laser pointer. Unfortunately if you decide to pick one up from Wicked Lasers you’ll be spending almost $1,700. Sure that price will eventually drop, but if you must have one right now here’s a brief tutorial by Joey Hagedorn on building your own that’s surprisingly cost-effective.

The key to this project is finding a Sony KES-400a replacement Blu-Ray drive module for the PlayStation 3 console. Thankfully there seems to be a few available on eBay right now, ranging in price from just $39.99 up to around $54.99. Of course there are other items you’ll need like a housing, a PCB breadboard and even a 650nm 5mw 12X30mm laser module, but overall you will save quite a bit of money by building it yourself. While the homebrew laser’s performance might not be as impressive as the version Wicked Lasers sells, it still produces a bright blue dot that can cause eye strain, and the beam is actually visible in a dark room.

[ Blu-Ray Laser Pointer ] VIA [ MAKE: Blog ]

OhGizmo Review Preview: Dragonlasers 250mW Spartan

Spartan Laser

By Evan Ackerman

Spartan LaserBack in October, I did a long review of Dragonlasers’ Hulk 250mW green laser. I guess it must have impressed someone over there, because I just got another test model in the mail… A different 250mW green laser called the Spartan. The biggest differences are the size (much smaller) and the fact that it uses rechargeable lithium batteries (yay!).

The Spartan laser is approximately the same power as the Hulk that I’ve already reviewed, so as far as burning stuff, you won’t be seeing any new lightsaber slice ‘n dice.. But that in no way means that I won’t be able to come up with some cool tricks for this review. I was hoping, though, that you guys might be able to post some suggestions as to what I should do with this thing, based on what you saw and liked about some of our previous laser reviews.

As before, I won’t be doing anything dangerous, expensive, catchably illegal, immoral, dumb, or boring. And I will be wearing serious eye protection, since Dragonlasers was kind enough to include some badass anti-laser goggles. That said… I’ll be having some fun, too.

Legal, safe fun, of course. Of course.

[ Dragonlasers Spartan GW 250mW ]

“Red Hot” Laser Light Show

Red Hot Laser Light Show (Image courtesy Edmund Scientifics)
By Andrew Liszewski

While it’s definitely red, I can’t vouch for how ‘hot’ this laser light show actually is. But anyone who goes to concerts just to see the awesome laser shows will be glad to know they can now enjoy a considerably more mediocre experience in the comfort of their own home. (And stop bleeding money to Ticketmaster.)

The device can be put into an ‘automatic’ mode where it will shine an assortment of random shapes across your walls and ceilings, but it also has a ‘sound responsive’ mode which will trigger patterns based on audio picked up by the internal microphone. It uses 4xAA batteries so you don’t have to worry about plugging it in and is available from Edmund Scientifics for just $24.95.

[ Red Hot Laser Light Show ]