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Tag Archives: Lasers

U Michigan Creates Most Powerful Laser “In The Universe,” Has Obviously Not Heard Of Death Star

HERCULES Laser

By Evan Ackerman

If, like I often do, you dream of holding up a magnifying glass the size of the planet Earth and using it to concentrate all of the sun’s energy onto a spot the size of a grain of sand, you’d just about duplicate the 300 terawatt intensity of the University of Michigan’s new HERCULES titanium-sapphire laser. For the record, 300 terawatts is 300 times the sustained capacity of the US electrical grid, and the only reason that we don’t notice our power being rerouted 300 days out of the year is that the HERCULES laser pulses only last a couple millionths of a billionth of a second and are concentrated onto an area about 1/100 the diameter of a human hair. Besides being totally awesome, HERCULES may help develop better proton and electron beams for radiation treatment of cancer. Scientists also think it could help them create fusion energy, and it might even be capable of “boiling the vacuum,” where a laser of sufficient intensity is able to “generate matter by merely focusing light into empty space.” Holy cow.

After the jump, see how HERCULES stacks up to the Death Star.Continue Reading

Laser Harp Is Frikkin’ Lasery

By Evan Ackerman

Laser harps aren’t, as far as I can tell, brand new tech, but you’ve got to admit, seeing a home built one in action is pretty cool. The principle is deceptively simple; a reflection sensor watches the beams, and when one is interrupted, it signals a MIDI routine to produce a tone. Sliding your hand up and down the beam can bend notes, or do anything else that you feel like encoding into the MIDI protocol. So, yeah, the music is great and all, but I think the best part of the video is the shutdown sequence at the very end. Hey, I wonder if he takes requests… How about Flight of the Bumblebee? No, wait! Free Bird!!!

If you want to build one yourself, it’s possible with some know-how, check out the website. Oh, and click here to watch an absolutely adorable video of how the harp works.

[ Stephen Hobley's Laser Harp ] VIA [ Hacknmod ]