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back to article El Reg acquires wildly dangerous laser cannon (with lightsabre option)

Once a year, El Reg's Special Projects Bureau compiles a hardware/office supplies acquisition list for the coming 12 months, which is ceremoniously laid before management in the hope the Vulture Central coffers are particularly cornucopious. The trick is to slip in the more provocative items amid the usual litany of unremarkable …

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Black Helicopters

At last!

A way to return LOHAN to the ground, if everything else fails!

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Coat

Nice lightsabres

But do they make the NOISE?

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jai
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Re: Nice lightsabres

all the best Jedi's make their own noise.

that said, hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid!

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Lovely.

I want one - or two - but no matter how hard I try, I can't justify spending more on a toy light than I do on my off-road lights, no matter how fun it would be to mount one of these on my bike...Take that Mr BMW with HIDs....damn, it's tempting.

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MrT
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Lezyne...

...Powerdrive light things up off-road nicely on my bike...

Actually, I read the headline and thought that the Vulture Bureau of Reconstruction had invested in some of that snazzy new solar-powered Playmobil Future Planet stuff. Not that I'm disappointed or anything...

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Re: Lovely.

forget mr BMW with HIDs, a large number of cyclists in rural areas have absolutely BLINDING lights strapped to their heads.

Seriously - it's no fun having green spots in your vision when you're driving at night after passing one of these. If these were on cars they'd fail their MOT and/or result in roadside impoundment (There are standardsdefined for bike lights but most of the ones I encounter seem to be repurposed 3-5W MR16 Leds with no consideration for beamwidth by the users.

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Big Brother

Re: Lovely.

At least you have the option to buy them.

Here in the People's Nanny State Republic of Ausfailia, the government, in its never-ending quest to wrap us all in the cotton wool of paranoid safety, has classed all lasers over 1 mW as controlled firearms, and it's illegal to own, sell or import them into this pathetic fucked-up cuntry (spelling slip intentional).

Just another reason why I recommend against coming to this police state on holiday. Go to China instead. There's more to see, it's more free and you're actually allowed to own lasers there.

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Stop

Re: Lovely.

Same here in New Zealand, due to numerous brainless jerks thinking it is fun to target aircraft on their final approach and dazzle the pilots. Probably a good thing restricting them, considering the potential for disaster caused by mindless loons.

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Next year's requisition

... will include (rather belatedly)

Laser warning signs (adhesive backed)

Food for guide dog

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Is it waterproof?

And is there an ornamental pond nearby with some large Koi in it? Start small and work your way up.

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jai
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i want one

actually, i want two! i'm so jealous!!

although, at $1200 for the kit you had, it'll be some time before i'm ready for a jedi battle...

are these powerful enough to use as a means of lifting a craft into the sky? i seem to recall seeing something on telly... was it a James May show? where these guys in the States were pulsing a laser directly into the sky, and placing a silver bowl into the beam lifted it up into the sky

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Re: i want one

I don't think my bride-to-be will be too impressed if I blow my bonus (earmarked for the wedding) on one of these.

Hmm... Wife or frikin' laser?

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Re: i want one

If you can build a pulsed laser powerful enough then you can lift an entire spaceship with one.

Bell shaped chamber at the bottom, shine the (pulsed, this is important) laser in there and you've got lift. Once out of the atmosphere you'd need to be boiling something to continue accelerating. Caesium would do nicely.

Not that I know anything about the science or engineering of this of course. All comes from an old Jerry Pournelle story/

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Joke

Re: i want one

Hmm... Wife or frikin' laser?

Depends if you try and mount it on her head in lieu of a shark?

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Re: i want one

It's much more than just a Pournelle story. There's various suggestions for laser propulsion, one of the neat ones uses ice as the propellant. Blast that with a really big laser and the steam pushes your spaceship. All the big mass stays on the ground and doesn't have to be lifted. And all the complicated bits stay on the gropund where your engineers are.

The first studies on this were by Arthur Kantrowitz. There has been some practical work on it, in particular by Jordin Kare - I asked him about it once and he told me that the system is practicable and just needs enough investment.

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Mushroom

Re: i want one

I don't remember ever reading about laser propulsion of space ships, but there was an actual project for using nuclear explosions to launch a spacecraft.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Project-Orion-Spaceship-1957-1965-Penguin/dp/0140277323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351770011&sr=8-1

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Re: i want one

Laser-powered vehicle launch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtH-SxqdtaA (launch is at 1 mintue 50 seconds).

It reaches a height of 233 feet. The point is that the power source / fuel stays on the ground.

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Re: i want one

There's a video of a prototype laser-pumped vehicle here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAdj6vpYppA

Of course, the laser is ex-SDI antisatellite laser and is stupidly powerful (there's a scene where it rips the hell out of a paper target), and the vehicle is a tinfoil toy and gets maybe 10-15m into the air, but it does show the technique works.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: i want one

Or depending on your wife, some women could be classed as sharks, let's be honest. (Not that I am making any assumptions here)

Anon because my wife reads this and consider the icon to be "mines the coat" with quick getaway on the back.

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Headmaster

Re: @Anonymous Custard: i want one

You have a shark mounted on your wife's head?

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Paris Hilton

Re: @Anonymous Custard: i want one

I read that he mounted his wife on a shark's head. Is that what they call 'risky sex'?

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Joke

Re: i want one

Why would anyone want to mount a shark in his wife's head???!!!

Upon considering the matter for a few seconds, I'm getting horny. Where can you buy a shark?

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Childcatcher

Re: i want one

Hmm... Wife or frikin' laser?

Obviously, you need to buy a his-and-hers set. Either she enjoys the new toy and you are good, or she uses it on you and the problem is solved that way.

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Go

Re: i want one

Hah, newlyweds!!! It's a wonder anyone stays married these days.

Seriously, any man worth his salt knows that you go out and buy the laser, then give it to your best friend, who then re-gifts it as a wedding present!! You can even go for wife brownie points by offering to help with the post-wedding thank you cards (which also serves to cover up the agreement).

Here, let me help you with the thank you salutation:

"Dear XXXXX,

XXXXX and I want to thank you for the thoughtful gift of the Mark 9000 HyperLaser with optional Jedi Knight package. This will definitely come in handy the you for next time my sweetie wants me to kill a spider on the ceiling, start the fireplace when I don't want to get off the couch or scorch our initials and protestation of undying love into the side of the local highway overpass. I'm actually looking forward to my honey's and my first argument, where I can add the Jedi Knight package and warn her "You can't win baby! If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!!" In short, this gift will be at least as useful as the chafing dish we got from my in-laws or the three sterling silver tea sets that we now have to return.

It's generosity like this that makes you like a brother to me, and I'll let you know when XXXXXX stops thinking you're an irresponsible 12-year old and is OK with you actually coming over."

Congratulations on the now-guaranteed success of your marriage, and "with you may the Force be"!!

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Holmes

She's not a real Jedi

The pajama pants give it away.

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Boffin

Re: She's not a real Jedi

They normally wear just dressing gowns...

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Joke

Where on earth can you still get a spare 500 MB drive?

If you want one like that, maybe you can also use my 8" floppy disk (128 kB storage!!) with CP/M2.0 on it (official copy).

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Go

Re: Where on earth can you still get a spare 500 MB drive?

Gut one of these:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/23/new_mac_mini/

Trade you for your 8"!

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And I thought Q-Beam's were usefull...

And I quote:

...but then at its full output of up to 1W, you certainly wouldn't want to be waving it around the boardroom anyway.

I beg to differ.

On a separate note, were you able to put a spot on the moon?

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Happy

Re: And I thought Q-Beam's were usefull...

Absolutely. The BOFH for one would love to wave one around in the boardroom.

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Boffin

Re: And I thought Q-Beam's were usefull...

"On a separate note, were you able to put a spot on the moon?"

http://what-if.xkcd.com/13/

"The lightsabre option is great fun for kids"

Is that really a good idea? Wouldn't it be safer to give them some explosives to play with?

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Stop

Re: Is that really a good idea?.

You'd better be wearing hi-vis and carrying a clip board when you say that...

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Mushroom

Re: And I thought Q-Beam's were usefull...

"Is that really a good idea? Wouldn't it be safer to give them some explosives to play with?"

Bonfire night is coming up soon, don't worry!

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Coat

Please don't tell me

that you crossed the beams!

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Ok, very nice but...

... how long before some idiot starts flashing one of these at passing cars/ aeroplanes/ whatever?

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Re: Ok, very nice but...

Exactly. I'm just glad that these units are priced beyond the reach of most kids. Scary stuff.

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not to be a killjoy, but what are the practical uses for a consumer to own one of these? apart from "holy shit, its cool" These seem incredibly dangerous.

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Happy

Holograms?

Making holograms?

(But it is not easy. Tried it with a couple of friends and the science teacher when my high school got its first laser, and all we achieved was some clear films. More enthusiasm than knowledge we had. This was decades ago)

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Holmes

OFFS!

"not to be a killjoy, but what are the practical uses for a consumer to own one of these? apart from "holy shit, its cool" These seem incredibly dangerous."

Of course they are dangerous and would have someones eye out --

That's the point .

(Cars are also great toys but tend to kill if pointed indiscriminately at people and operated)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OFFS!

"(Cars are also great toys but tend to kill if pointed indiscriminately at people and operated)"

Trouble is some lunatic or fanatic could blind half a football stand with one of these

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WTF?

Apart from?!

What are you on about? "Holy shit, it's cool!" is a more than good enough reason per se to want one of these things.

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Anonymous Coward

Killjoy<>Joykill?

The power rating of these are one reason that they are illegal to buy and sell in the UK without the correct licence, in fact anything over 1mW (it used to be 5mW) is liable to be stopped on import (if it's for resale, personal imports should still be OK), because of the frequency the green ones are particularly dangerous (more damaging than red of the same power, 200mW will cause perminent damage faster than the blink response), contary to popular belief they are not illegal to own, but do anything stupid (like shine at unprotected eyes or aircraft) you could be looking at prison.

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Happy

Re: Holograms?

I had a class where we did this in college. Made simple holograms using methods that weren't that difficult, but did require an industrial laser. (This was ~ 1991 or 1992 if I remember correctly.)

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Unhappy

'a consumer'

Is that how you see yourself?

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quote: "not to be a killjoy, but what are the practical uses for a consumer to own one of these? apart from "holy shit, its cool" These seem incredibly dangerous."

So are shotguns, and they are perfectly legal to purchase and operate in the UK, if you can be bothered spending £50 on the certificate and have a nice talk with the local firearms officer about responsible use of firearms. They can be considerably cheaper than these lasers, too.

Also, anyone with a working knowledge of physics can construct their own laser from a collection of perfectly legal components. CO2 (that demon gas) creates an infrared laser that can be easily used to ignite things at a high enough power, invisible Martian "heat-ray" style.

So, those things considered, your point was that you think a high powered laser could potentially be dangerous, and I am assuming the unwritten portion of your thoughts was that they should therefore be regulated somehow. Might I suggest the shotgun or firearms certificate as a good starting point? That would make sure only criminals have unlicensed lasers, after all :)

Heh... firearms certificates required for a CD-ROM, that would be classic nanny state :D

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Unhappy

Re: Killjoy<>Joykill?

"contary to popular belief they are not illegal to own"

Going from 5mW to 1mW is truly Nanny State stuff which I certainly don't agree with, but ready access to 1W devices shouldn't be possible. As with guns, lasers >200mW are potentially very dangerous and should be licenced and the licensee appropriately trained (and such lasers kept under lock and key a la armory procedures). Moreover, unlike a rifle where every round fired is the result of a deliberative action by the shooter, a laser's continuous wave output combined with that it can be swung through an arc makes it particularly dangerous.

My concern is that now these devices are commercially available it means that those with ill intent will obtain them one way or another, and after a few people are blinded by the fuckwitted action of others--and as sure as eggs they will be, then the Nanny State will make it almost impossible for the legitimate user to gain access them.

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Re: OFFS!

"(Cars are also great toys but tend to kill if pointed indiscriminately at people and operated)"

I would hazard that cars have a practical value.

I'm not sure what the honest practical value of this other, other than "Wa-hoo, this is awesome!" [which it is, but I'm not sure I want it to be available for purchase for people with sub-100 IQs!]

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Re: Killjoy<>Joykill?

A few months ago I was going into a small club (well, pub with dancefloor) and some diminutive twat of a bouncer had a little green laser and was now and then shinging it onto women's backs as they went in, while wearing apeish smirk. It made an amazingly bright little green dot - I would not have wanted that in my eyes even though it *probably* would not have done anything permanent. It was pretty impressive even when just scattering off clothing from a few feet away though.

I just don't see the practical value of such a thing, unlike e.g. cars. There are too many dangerously stupid people in the world, perhaps like those who play with such lasers in the presence of children (no I don't think the shades were adequate protection, at all).

FTR <http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14310-party-laser-blinds-russian-ravers.html>. I recall that the laser was 'a few watts' (no more specific details and my memory may be wrong).

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Re: Killjoy<>Joykill?

Prison yes - IF you can catch the bastards.

I got flashed with a high power green laser while driving a few months back, by a wanker standing outside a pub. Cops called by about 10 different drivers. By the time they arrived he'd also targetted a few aircraft on their way into Gatwick - but he stepped into the pub and couldn't be found.

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Happy

"holy shit, its cool" isquite enough for me

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