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Laser

Artist's concept of the LADEE spacecraft (Image: NASA)

Space communications have relied on radio since the first Sputnik in 1957. It’s a mature, reliable technology, but it’s reaching its limits. The amount of data sent has increased exponentially for decades and NASA expects the trend to continue. The current communications systems are reaching their limits, so NASA and ESA are going beyond radio as a solution. As part of this effort, ESA has finished tests of part of a new communications system, in preparations for a demonstration in October in which it will receive a laser data download from a NASA lunar orbiter.  Read More

An AR-15 pistol equipped with an Auxetic muzzle break (Photo: Sintercore)

Michigan-based Sintercore is billing its Auxetik as the first commercial 3D printed firearm muzzle brake. Made of Inconel alloy using a laser additive manufacturing process, the Auxetik is designed to tame the recoil and muzzle rise of AR-15 pistols.  Read More

This artist's concept of OPALS in operatin (Image: NASA)

In internet engineering, there’s a problem called the “last half mile," which looks at how to connect users to high-speed fiber optic networks without going through old-fashioned copper wires that can slow data down to a crawl. NASA has more of a “last 250 miles” problem in making data connections with the International Space Station (ISS). The upcoming Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) project is an optical technology demonstration for using lasers to improve communications with the ISS and other spacecraft in hopes of boosting connection speeds by a factor of 10 to 100.  Read More

The Petcube device with creator Alex Neskin's dog, Rocky

You’re sitting in the office, but don’t you wish you could be playing with your dog or cat using a laser pointer instead? With the Petcube, you’ll be able to do both at once. Not unlike the iPet Companion, the Petcube lets users remotely play with their pets in real time, via the internet.  Read More

Amanda Ghassaei recently programmed a laser cutter to carve playable records from wood and...

Not too long ago, Amanda Ghassaei from Instructables caught our attention when she constructed several playable records with a 3D printer. By sending raw audio data through a custom script, she was able to automatically generate 3D designs for a printer to follow – albeit with crude results. Recently, Ghassaei programmed a new code that let her substitute the 3D printer for a laser cutter to carve functional records from wood and other materials.  Read More

Lockheed Martin's ADAM laser system destroys a rocket mid-flight

Lockheed Martin has released a video of ADAM, its high energy laser (HEL) system, taking out a rocket from a range of 1.5 km (0.9 miles). Slowed down, the 300-fps video clearly shows the laser beam striking and tracking a point towards the front of the rocket, before destroying it mid-flight.  Read More

A material known as a plasmonic polypeptide nanocomposite has been shown to strengthen las...

Stitches and staples may be on their way to becoming a thing of the past, thanks to a developing technology known as laser tissue welding. Now, a new gold-based solder has been created, that could make tissue welds in regions such as the intestines much stronger and more reliable.  Read More

The portable detector analyzes scattered laser light to identify asbestos (Photo: Paul Kay...

With the nasty tendency of its airborne fibers to cause lung cancer, the installation of asbestos building insulation has been banned in many countries for some time now. A lot of buildings still have the insulation, however, the fibers of which can get stirred up when work such as renovations or demolition are being performed. In order to help protect the people performing such work, scientists at the University of Hertfordshire have developed what they say is the world’s first portable, real-time detector of airborne asbestos.  Read More

Cars and lasers, together again (Photo: pop culture geek)

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques have come up with a car-mounted laser scanner the size of a shoe box, that can survey the contours of road surfaces at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph). The system detects potholes and other road damage in need of repair. According to the Institute, the Pavement Profile Scanner (or PPS) has surveyed 15,000 km of road since mid-2012, in which time it has proven cheaper, faster and more accurate than existing systems which require hefty attachments to the carrier vehicle.  Read More

3D images taken in daylight from 910 meters away using the new imaging system (Photo: Opti...

Physicists at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University have created a 3D imaging camera system capable of resolving depth on a millimeter scale at distances of up to one kilometer. Working much like a laser version of radar, the “Time-of-Flight” (ToF) measurement system “pings” a low-powered infrared laser beam off distant objects and records a pixel-by-pixel map using a detector that counts and positions individual photons as they arrive back at the source.  Read More

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