Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Laser

The LaserWatch displaying the time ... and doing that other thing

Should you ever be captured while checking out a crazed villain's secret headquarters, it's entirely possible that a burning laser might provide you with your only means of escape. Of course, anything that's obviously a laser will be taken from you ... which is why our favorite laser weapons hobbyist, Patrick Priebe, has created a "Bond-inspired LaserWatch."  Read More

BAE's modular Common Infrared Countermeasure unit (Photo: BAE Systems)

BAE Systems has submitted a proposal to the US Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) program. Once operational, BAE's system will safeguard rotary and light-fixed wing aircraft, increasing survivability against the threat posed by infrared missiles. CIRCM is designed to work alongside an infrared warning system and a flare dispenser – a commonly-used countermeasure that confuses a guided missile into seeking the heat from the flare rather than that emitted by the target aircraft.  Read More

The experiment over Vienna uses twisted light to transmit images of famous Austrians (Imag...

The city of Vienna has hosted a laser light show with a twist with University of Vienna scientists having tested a new way of transmitting data over a light beam. The technique, which exploits classical and quantum mechanics, promises to provide the ability to send much more information through the air much more securely.  Read More

Chinese scientists are reportedly developing a laser capable of shooting the drones out of...

Drones cruising through Chinese airspace may be set for rude awakening, with local scientists reportedly developing a laser capable of shooting the vehicles out of the sky. Chinese media are reporting that researchers from the China Academy of Engineering Physics have been working on a laser defense system to safeguard against the proliferating technology, and its early testing has been largely viewed as a success.  Read More

Firing lasers up the backsides of rockets could accelerate them faster without requiring e...

Russian scientists have proposed a novel way to accelerate a spaceship while in flight – firing a ground-based laser up its backside. The new technique uses a plasma flow caused by laser ablation to increase the exhaust efficiency of a traditional rocket propulsion system, and could theoretically accelerate an aircraft beyond Mach 10.  Read More

A light pulse fired from a 10 TW laser, dispersing into water vapor – the blue glow is las...

It's no secret that Star Wars is full of scenes that defy the laws of physics. From space battles inspired by WW I and II dogfights to beams of light clashing in lightsaber duels. The laser bolts fired from Han Solo's trusty blaster and Luke's X-wing also play by their own rules, traveling much slower than the speed of light and being perfectly visible in the vacuum of space. Researchers in Poland have now created a film to show what a laser bolt would actually look like.  Read More

Dr Vladlen Shvedov (left) and Dr Cyril Hnatovsky (right) with a magnified projection of th...

We're still a far cry from Star Trek's ship-towing and repelling technology, but laser physicists at the Australian National University (ANU) have built a tractor beam that can repel and attract objects. The beam moved spherical glass shells one fifth of a millimeter in diameter across a distance of up to 20 centimeters (7.87 in), which is around 100 times further than previous experiments at this scale, using only a single hollow laser beam that's bright around the edges and dark in its center.  Read More

3D image of a shoe print with a color-based depth gauge produced using a new 3D mapping de...

Using an enhanced LADAR (Laser Detection And Ranging) system, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created a long-range, laser-based imaging device that can generate high-definition 3D maps of objects at distances of up to 10.5 m (35 ft). The technology could find applications in precision machining and assembly, as well as in forensics where it could map evidence non-destructively.  Read More

Origami's guts on display at MakerCon (Photo Credit: Eric Mack/Gizmag)

When I covered MakerCon last month in New York for Gizmag, literally one of the first things I did was text a photo of the 45-lb (20 kg), tote-able laser cutter to my friend who owns a shop back home in New Mexico. As it turns out, that's exactly the type of consumer Pittsburgh startup Red Ant hopes to target with its Origami.  Read More

Patrick Priebe's rocket-launching Iron Man gauntlet

By now, many regular Gizmag readers will be familiar with German cyberpunk weapons-hobbyist Patrick Priebe. We've featured a number of his one-off DIY creations before, including an Iron Man-inspired laser gauntlet. Well, now he's created another Iron Man gauntlet, although instead of just a burning laser, this one launches real rockets – and Priebe has already managed to hurt himself with the thing.  Read More

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