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Tag Archives: Lasers

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 ]

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


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 ]