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BMW's i8 concept will be the first vehicle to sport laser headlights

In the past decade, LEDs have become increasingly popular for use on cars, mainly for use as turn signals, brake and park lights, and daytime running lamps, but more recently, also for use in headlights. Now BMW has revealed it is taking the next step in the development of vehicle headlight technology by working on the introduction of laser light headlights. The company says that laser light not only offers energy - and therefore fuel - savings, but could also enable entirely new design possibilities and light functions on vehicles to improve safety. It aims to have the technology ready for series production "within a few years."  Read More

With a 1-watt beam, the Spyder 3 Krypton is the brightest handheld laser you can legally o...

Perhaps you were one of the first people to buy a standard red laser pointer when they first came out. Then, you jumped on the bandwagon when the more powerful green laser pointers showed up. Now, you’re just willing to admit it: you want the most powerful handheld laser that it is legally possible to own. Well, according to the folks at Wicked Lasers, that would be their Spyder 3 Krypton. Just how powerful is it? Let’s put it this way, the website warns users not to point it at aircraft or satellites.  Read More

Boeing and BAE Systems have teamed up to develop the Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System for...

Both Boeing and BAE Systems have been working on laser weapon systems for use at sea for a number of years and now the two companies have teamed up to develop the Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System for the U.S. Navy. The system combines both kinetic and directed energy weapons capability by coupling a solid-state high-energy laser weapon module with the Mk 38 Machine Gun System that is already in use on many U.S. Navy vessels.  Read More

The Laser Pitch Detection Pickup system accurately detects the pitch of a string - even be...

If you've tried to digitally capture a guitar performance or turn your six-string into a powerful MIDI synth using an interface or special pickup, you'll no doubt be familiar with signal lag and pitch accuracy issues. As you pluck a string, there is a very short delay before it reaches its final frequency - it might only be a few milliseconds but it can be enough to cause latency angst. Germany's M3i Technologies has developed an optical system for accurately detecting the pitch of a string - even before a player has plucked it. The Laser Pitch Detection (LPD) Pickup system runs a beam under each string, from the bridge to the end of the fingerboard, and monitors its return to photosensitive receptors in the unit. When a player's finger touches a string, the beam is shortened and the system quickly measures and calculates the exact pitch.  Read More

Graduate students Guoping Wang (L), Sheng Chu (R) and professor of electrical engineering ...

Although ultraviolet semiconductor diode lasers are widely used in data processing, information storage and biology, their applications have been limited by the lasers’ size, cost and power. Now researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have overcome these problems by developing a new semiconductor nanowire laser technology that could be used to provide denser optical disc storage, superfast data processing and transmission and even to change the function of a living cell.  Read More

Microscope image of a single-cell living laser in action - its irregular internal structur...

While laser beam-shooting plants or animals might seem like something straight out of Star Trek, two researchers from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital recently wondered whether such organisms could theoretically exist. In order to satisfy their curiosity, Dr. Malte Gather and Dr. Seok Hyun Yun successfully created a laser that uses a living cell as its light source. The device, which utilizes a protein found in jellyfish, could have applications in the fields of biomedicine and optical computing.  Read More

BLAZE is a protype device that alerts drivers to the presence of a cyclist, by a projectin...

Many people are afraid of riding their bicycles on busy roads full of motorized vehicles, and it's easy to understand why. Not only are bikes slower and offer less protection than cars, but they can also be more difficult for drivers to notice. A device invented by a British design student, however, could help level the playing field a little. It's called BLAZE, and it alerts drivers to the presence of a cyclist by projecting a laser image onto the road in front of the bicycle.  Read More

Professor Jurg Leuthold led an experiment that achieved a data transmission rate of 26 ter...

With video content consuming ever more bandwidth, the need for faster data transmission rates has never been greater. Now a team of scientists at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are claiming a world record in data transmission with the successful encoding of data at a rate of 26 terabits per second on a single laser beam and transmitting it over a distance of 50 km (31 miles). The scientists claim this is the largest data volume ever transported on a laser beam and enables the transmission of 700 DVD's worth of content in just one second.  Read More

Researchers have developed and publicly tested a laser-guided feedback system which will h...

The introduction of the white cane early in the last century gave blind and visually-impaired users a mobility tool that not only helped them to get around, but also allowed them to be seen by others. Now researchers from Sweden's Luleå University of Technology – the same place that designed the autonomous wheelchair – have developed and publicly tested a system which could potentially give wheelchair-bound blind people a virtual white stick to help them detect and avoid obstacles. An electric wheelchair has been fitted with a navigational laser scanner which provides virtual 3D maps of the surroundings, and sends feedback about any obstructions to the user via a haptic interface.  Read More

Spark plugs could soon be replaced be laser igniters

Internal combustion engines are likely to remain in widespread use for some time yet, but it's possible that we may be bidding adieu to that most iconic of engine parts, the spark plug. Researchers from Japan's National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) are creating laser igniters that could one day replace spark plugs in automobile engines. Not only would these lasers allow for better performance and fuel economy, but cars using them would also create less harmful emissions.  Read More

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