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Laser

— Space

NASA's OPALS will use lasers to improve comms with the ISS

By - July 16, 2013 6 Pictures
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
— Music

Laser cutter carves music files onto wooden records

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
— Health and Wellbeing

Portable device detects potentially-lethal asbestos fibers in real time

By - May 2, 2013 3 Pictures
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
— Automotive

Compact laser system scans road surfaces at 100 km/h

By - May 1, 2013 2 Pictures
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
— Science

Laser system produces 3D images of objects up to one kilometer away

By - April 11, 2013 2 Pictures
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
— Military

U.S. Navy to deploy Laser Weapon System on warship

By - April 9, 2013 10 Pictures
The U.S. Navy took a step farther away from John Paul Jones and closer to James T. Kirk as it announced that a solid-state laser weapon will be deployed on a U.S. Navy ship in fiscal year 2014. The announcement that the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) will deployed on board USS Ponce (AFSB[I] 15) two years ahead of schedule was made on Monday at the Sea-Air-Space exposition, National Harbor, Maryland. The deployment is the latest in a line of recent recent high-energy laser demonstrations carried out by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Naval Sea Systems Command. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Zapping away cocaine addiction with laser light

By - April 5, 2013 2 Pictures
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
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