Photokina 2014 highlights

Laser

Scientists have been able to instantly cure rats of cocaine addiction, by applying laser l...

Like so many other illicit drugs, cocaine can be extremely, destructively addictive. Recent research suggests, however, that ridding people of such addictions may be as simple as zapping them on them scalp. In a study conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UC San Francisco, scientists were able to turn cocaine addiction on and off in rats via pulses of laser light to their brains.  Read More

Is a sun-powered space laser the answer to stopping major asteroid impacts? (Photo: Shutte...

This past Friday was not a good day for asteroid-human relations with asteroid 2012 DA14 passing a mere 27,700 km (17,200 miles) from the Earth just a few hours after a meteor exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, damaging hundreds of buildings and injuring thousands. Scientists have been quick to point out that both of these events – a meteor exploding over a populated area and a large asteroid passing through Earth's geosynchronous orbit – are quite rare, but when the worst case scenario is the complete annihilation of all life on Earth, it's probably best to be prepared. That's why researchers in California recently proposed DE-STAR – a system which could potentially harness the sun's energy to dissolve wayward space rocks up to ten times larger than 2012 DA14 with a vaporizing laser.  Read More

Professor Xiong Qihua and his team used a laser to cool the compound Cadmium Sulfide (Phot...

A research team at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has successfully used a laser to cool down a semiconductor material known as Cadmium Sulfide. The results of the recently published study could lead to the development of self-cooling computer chips and smaller, more energy efficient air conditioners and refrigerators that don't produce greenhouse gases.  Read More

The laser isotope ratio-meter, which is being used to detect counterfeit honey

When someone mentions counterfeiting, it brings up images of money, watches or DVDs. It certainly doesn't make honey spring to mind, yet honey smuggling and counterfeiting is an international problem involving hundreds of millions of dollars. In an effort to combat this, the European Space Agency (ESA) is funding a demonstration project to adopt lasers designed to study the Martian atmosphere, to detect fake honey.  Read More

The HUD prototype at CES

While walking through CES 2013, we happened upon something intriguing from JVC Kenwood. The company had a prototype laser heads-up display (HUD) on the floor that sports some interesting features, and that could soon show up as standard equipment on a variety of automobiles.  Read More

A team led by the University of St. Andrews has turned a laser into a tractor beam that wo...

From The Skylark of Space to Star Wars, no self-respecting science fiction spaceship would break orbit without a tractor beam on board. We’re still a long way from locking on to errant shuttlecraft, but a team led by Dr. Tomas Cizmar, Research Fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, has turned a laser into a tractor beam that works on the microscopic level.  Read More

Patrick Priebe has created a functioning laser gauntlet, modeled after the one worn by sup...

Given that most real-life superheroes don’t have the budget of Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne, you would assume that their gadgetry wouldn’t be quite on par with what we’re used to seeing in the movies. German cyber weapons hobbyist Patrick Priebe recently dropped us a line, however, to tell us about his latest homebuilt creation – a working laser gauntlet, just like the one made famous by a certain Iron Man.  Read More

The swallowable capsule, and its tether

Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition typically caused by chronic exposure to stomach acid, and is usually diagnosed by inserting an endoscope down the patient’s throat. A tool has been developed, however, that should allow for a quicker, easier way of getting a good look at such peoples’ esophagus – it’s a swallowable capsule that contains a spinning laser.  Read More

The Rheinmetall Laser

Practical high-energy laser weapons came a step closer to reality in November as Rheinmetall tested its new 50 kW high-energy weapon laser demonstrator. The series of exercises took place at the German-based group’s Ochsenboden Proving Ground in Switzerland. There the 50 kW laser weapon was tested against a series of targets to show the improvements over last year’s 10 kW version.  Read More

CalTech's new nanofocusing plasmonic waveguide

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a nanofocusing waveguide, a tiny passive plasmonic device which is capable of concentrating light onto a spot a few nanometers in size. In so doing, they have sidestepped the diffraction-limited nature of light, which normally prevents focusing light to a spot smaller than its own wavelength. This remarkable feat may lead to new optoelectronic applications in computing, communications, and imaging.  Read More

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