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A True 3D pyramid hovers in mid-air  (Image: DigInfo)

Engineers from Burton Inc. in Japan have rolled out a "True 3D" display, which evolved from work begun five years previously by teams at Keio University and Japan's national institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). While most 3D displays available today involve a form of optical illusion that depends on the parallax or disparity inherent in human binocular vision, this new system, which can function in air or under water, needs no screen of any sort, and the effect is quite impressive.  Read More

Visualization of the acousto-optic effect (Image: NPL)

We've been following the quest for the world's best speakers for some time but remarkably, there's still room for improvement. A key issue that plagues proper sound reproduction (and thus its perceived quality) is a phenomenon known as deconstructive interference. This occurs when audio signals overlap and cancel one another out, creating dead spots which, until recently, have been very difficult to track. Now, a team from Britain's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has figured out a clever way to make speaker sound "visible" - and they do it with laser light.  Read More

Artist's concept of a NASA Mars Exploration Rover on the surface of Mars collecting sample...

NASA is looking to turn another staple of science fiction to practical use by studying ways to make “tractor beams” a reality. While none of the technologies under the microscope will be able to transport anything the size of a modified YT-1300 Corellian freighter – at least in the short term – the researchers will examine if it is possible to trap and move planetary or atmospheric particles using laser light so they can be delivered to a robotic rover or orbiting spacecraft for analysis.  Read More

Hobbyist Patrick Priebe's latest creation is a wrist-mounted laser-sighted mini crossbow

A lot of people think crossbows are pretty cool. Lasers, miniaturized things, and wearable devices also tend to rate pretty high on the neat-o-meter. It goes to follow, therefore, that a small wrist-mounted laser-sighted crossbow should have a lot of admirers. Well, laser hobbyist Patrick Priebe built just such a device, and his video of it in action has already racked up over 100,000 hits in just four days. As it turns out, the "WristBow" is just the latest of his cyberpunk-esque creations.  Read More

Researcher Jeff Tsao examines the set-up used to test diode lasers as an alternative to LE...

With incandescent light bulbs in the process of being phased out around the world, LEDs are one of the most promising technologies for taking over our day-to-day lighting needs – they use less energy, provide more light, contain less toxic substances, and are tougher than incandescents. That said, they may not be the one and only best choice. Lasers are even more efficient than LEDs at high amperages, although scientists have long believed that the quality of white light produced by diode lasers would be unpleasing to the human eye. According to a study recently carried out by Sandia National Laboratories, however, the human eye appears to like their light just fine.  Read More

Lazer Stunt Chasers are remote-control cars that chase a user-aimed spot of laser light ac...

If you have both a laser pointer and either a cat or a dog in your home, you probably know how much fun it can be to watch your critter chasing after the laser light point on the floor. If you don’t have any pets, however, now there’s something else that will chase a laser for you – a toy car. Thinkway Toys’ Lazer Stunt Chaser is a remote-control vehicle that goes wherever its user shines its laser light controller. Oh yeah, and its wheels light up, too.  Read More

A new system uses lasers to polish hard surfaces, and it can do so in as little as one ten...

When it comes to laborious, monotonous tasks that are typically performed by hand, the polishing of hard materials has got to rank right near the top. Although a really lustrous shine may still require the human touch, scientists have now developed a process for getting a “good enough” shine, using lasers. Instead of removing a fine layer of the material’s surface, which is what traditional buffers and polishes do, the lasers melt it.  Read More

The Spynet Laser Trip Wire system uses a laser emitter, reflectors and receiver to create ...

So, where do you keep your valuable pieces of jewelry and works of art? In a cabinet? No, that just won’t do at all. If the movies have taught us anything, it’s that valuable items should be stored out in the middle of a big open room, with a network of laser beams surrounding them. While we may be used to seeing such systems portrayed in places like the Louvre or Blofeld’s mansion, now you can buy your own – for forty bucks! It’s the Spynet Laser Trip Wire system, and it sure is niftier than a “Hands offa my stuff” sticker.  Read More

Conceptual image of the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration that is designed to incre...

Since the dawn of the space age, NASA has been relying on radio communications technology to send and receive data to and from spacecraft. Although it has developed higher data-rate radio frequency systems, data-compression, and other techniques to boost the amount of data that its current RF systems can handle, they can't keep pace with the projected data needs of advanced instruments and further human exploration. To break this bottleneck, NASA is turning to optical communications technology that would use lasers to increase data rates over existing systems by anywhere from 10 to 100 times.  Read More

A new system that utilizes laser light to detect the presence of explosive compounds could...

Approximately sixty percent of coalition soldier deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), placed along the roads. Because these bombs are often planted in public areas, it is important to detect them in a way that doesn’t harm the surrounding infrastructure, or unnecessarily require civilians to evacuate nearby buildings. Researchers from Michigan State University believe that a laser-based system that they developed could fit the bill.  Read More

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