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Lasers

  1. Laser Cage Traps Tiniest Bacteria For Study

    Studying things that are smaller than we can see often seems like no big whoop now that we're working with things like nanoparticles every day in labs across the world. However, seeing things is one thing, while actually being able to study them is another. Researchers at the University of Freiburg have developed a way to use tubes of light to trap microorganisms in a laser cage and image them for closer study.

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  2. Xfire Bike Safety Light Makes Your Own Bike Lane With Lasers

    Full disclosure: The Xfire Bike Safety Light is not the laser I've always wanted on my bicycle -- that fantasy has always been more of an anti-personell sort of a deal. It is a pretty nifty gadget, though. Mounted like a traditional bike blinker, the Xfire projects two laser lights that form a sort of virtual bike lane around a bicycle, so that rather than just seeing where you are, drivers can actually see how much space you take up on the road and -- ideally -- go several inches out of their way not to strike you with their car.

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  3. Laser-Powered Mind Control Is Now Possible, First Modern Supervillain Arriving In Short Order

    No self-respecting mad scientist or alien despot would ever dream of conquering the galaxy without their trusty mind-controlling ray gun. Thanks to a group of Harvard researchers, this venerable addition to the science fiction armory may be one step closer to science fact. The team has successfully used a series of brief laser pulses to stimulate the neurons of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, effectively taking control of its brain.

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  4. A DIY NES Zapper Modified With a Laser Sets Things on Fire

    Listen, we know that when you were younger you sometimes used your NES Zapper as a regular gun when playing manhunt with the rest of the neighborhood kids. Now, thanks to a kind of dangerous mod from North Street Labs, you can turn your NES Zapper into a real, working laser, and subsequently set everything on fire.

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  5. Artificial Tooth Enamel Developed, All We Will Ever Eat Now Is Candy

    Japanese researchers have formulated a way to create a super-thin mineral film that simulates human tooth enamel. The discovery could lead to patches that could leave teeth looking whiter and prevent tooth decay, even for people on a steady diet of sugary snacks like, you know, everyone.

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  6. Laser Guidance Allows 3D Printing on Molecular Scale

    3D printing is getting easier, more cost effective, and more household friendly every year. Some of its most impressive applications, though -- like its potential in the world of medicine -- won't be making their home debuts anytime soon. This is because while printing, say, a Mario statue in your Makerbot is very simple, printing things on a nanometer scale is still very hard. Doable, but very, very hard. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have made a step toward simplifying that task, though, using a laser beam to place single molecules on structures just a few nanometers wide.

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  7. Curiosity Goes on First Road Trip Looking for Rock Samples

    NASA announced that they're getting ready to send Curiosity out on it's first driving mission on the surface of Mars. The little rover that could is heading from it's landing point in Gale Crater to Glenelg, a "natural intersection of three kinds of terrain", to drill for rock samples. Because they plan to test fire the laser before they go, one could say this is a real "rock and roll" maneuver.

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  8. Laser Pointers Used For Super Fast, Directional Wireless Networking

    Lasers make everything better. Lasers can make random numbers that are perfect for encryption. Lasers can blow up an iPad. Lasers might eventually allow us to use nuclear fusion as a power source. That's already impressive, but is it possible that they could actually make our wireless networks faster, and all around better? In certain very specific cases, yes.

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  9. Web App Lets You Remote Control A Real RC Tank From Your iPad

    Who doesn't want to drive a tank? Joe over at Instructables sure does, and that's why he went through the trouble of building his very own laser-wielding remote control tank and a web app to drive it around and have it shoot at things. Ultimately, the idea is for the project to culminate in a full-fledged game called TankWars where players drive their tanks around and fire things in meatspace. For the moment, the game is limited to single player target practice, but is impressive nonetheless.

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  10. World’s First 2 Megajoule Ultraviolet Laser Fired Brings Us One Step Closer To Nuclear Fusion

    We may be a long way off from developing something like the Death Star, but with the first firing of a 2 megajoule ultraviolet laser, we're one step closer to feasible nuclear fusion. The record was set at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California where 192 lasers fired a combined 1.875-megajoule shot. After passing through a focusing lens, the laser managed 2.03 megajoules, blowing away the previous record.

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  11. This is What Happens to an iPad After Exposure to High Intensity Flashlights, Lasers

    So you've got a bunch of really, really powerful lasers sitting around and also some ridiculous flashlights and, oh, a new iPad, too. If you're Lowell Niles you see the perfect recipe for destruction, which is exactly what happened when he subjected Apple's newest tablet to a gauntlet of luminescent fury. Surprisingly, the lasers do little apparent damage to the device while the high intensity flashlights absolutely wreck it. Oh, and all those flames? Don't worry; that's just the iPad's lithium-ion battery giving up the ghost. See the video, after the break.

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  12. Laser Machine Plays Portal’s “Still Alive” by Etching Metal

    Though Portal 2 released quite a while ago with a couple of its own new, catchy songs, the original Portal's "Still Alive" by Jonathan Coulton is, ahem, still alive and kickin'. We've seen it played by a quartet of floppy drives, and while that was mightily impressive, this rendition by Chris DePrisco, played by a laser etching the Aperture logo into metal, is nothing short of incredible. Check out the video below.

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  13. DIY Laser Clock Makes a Salad Bowl a Cool Wall Fixture

    Analog clocks are boring. For that matter, so are digital clocks. So what's a person who likes to occasionally know what time it is to do? Build an unconventional clock out of some lasers and a salad bowl, that's what. After all, lasers are just cool. It makes for a neat mix of analog and digital. Like digital, the hours and the minutes are completely separated. Like analog, you've got "hands" that slowly cover ground. Also, it has lasers. Did I mention that part?

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  14. Turns Out Puffer Fish Like Laser Pointers [Video]

    When it comes to mortal enemies, there are few more notorious than cats and laser pointers. However, felines aren't the only members of the animal kingdom with a fascination for mobile red dots, as this puffer fish demonstrates.  However, I would ask that anyone hoping to try this at home use a laser that isn't attached to a pistol, as the creator of this video did. That just seems like a bad idea.

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  15. Physicist Creates True Random Numbers by Shooting Lasers at Diamonds

    If you're the kind of person who reads Geekosystem, you probably already know how hard true random numbers are to come by. If you don't, let me break it down for you: Really hard. Computers have an especially hard time creating random numbers since they operate by algorithm. Sure, you can get a pseudo-random number by using a "randomly" selected seed and running a whole bunch of operations on it, but that's still not random. For that matter, neither is rolling dice. Granted, we generally don't have enough information to predict the outcome, so rolls are effectively random, but not actually random. Now, Ottowa physicist Ben Sussman has come up with a way to create large quantities of true random numbers, with science!

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  16. NASA Plans Laser Communications Test in Space

    Hoping to make the next jump in space communications technology, NASA has planned for a three-year test of a laser communications system on a future satellite mission. The test will will involve the construction of two Earth-based laser stations, and could pave the way for far greater communication capability through space than we have now. The goal of the test is to prove that the technology for such a communication system exists, and also to develop the best methodologies for using it. For instance, because Earthly atmospheric conditions can interrupt laser communications, NASA will test how well they can move data reception from one tracking station to another and store data onboard the spacecraft until the skies clear. The end result of the test could lead to high-definition imagery from a Mars rover in near real-time or, thanks to the laser's small size, more capable microsatellites.

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  17. Guy Builds Powerful Iron Man Style Palm Mounted Laser

    German lab technician Patrick Priebe is a pretty big Iron Man fan, and eschewing years of public service announcements' advice, decided to try it at home. Priebe built a 1000 mW laser using a 445 nm laser diode and strapped it onto his palm, and as Hack A Day points out, Priebe's palm laser is as powerful as the Spyder Arctic 3, pretty much the laser one looks to for ridiculously powerful portable lasers.

    Not many details are known about Priebe's laser, other than it was constructed out of a 2 mm thick sheet of brass, which acts as a large heat sink, but also fits comfortably on his hand. Due to the large surface area, Priebe can run the laser for about three minutes straight before he needs to shut it off so it can cool down. Priebe has gone through a few builds of the laser, so check out a video of the most recent build in action after the break.

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  18. Diamonds Are A Quantum Computer's Best Friend

    Quantum computing is a new and exciting field, emerging from the ability to utilize quantum mechanics to create computers that can perform complex operations on data. Scientists have been making progress developing quantum computers and they know what is required to make such a system. Though they have developed working systems, scientists still believe that no existing machine has reached the full potential of quantum computing. The trend in quantum computing research is shifting away from proof-of-principle and focusing on trying to make a better way to control quantum bits (qubits) to perform operations. New research described in papers in Nature Physics by a team from the Center for Spintronics and Quantum Computation at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Physical Letters Review by a team from the Department of NanoBiophotonics at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany has found that impure diamonds may be an effective architecture for quantum computing.

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  19. Live Dyed Frogs Are The Latest Chinese Fad

    Pretend for a minute that you are the consumer culture of an entire country in Asia. You really like key-chains that contain live fish or turtles, but those are starting to bore you. What do you do next? Thats right: you make neon frogs by coloring them with industrial dye! If the dye sounds a little dangerous and borderline horrific, don't worry, you can also use lasers, somehow. These flagrantly florescent frogs have garnered a lot of popularity in China and are in high demand at aquariums, ponds and for personal ownership. The coloration is reported to last four to five years, which implies that the frogs last that long too, unless the coloration lives on as some kind of crazy, neon-color-ghost of its own, and you know what, I wouldn't be entirely surprised. Naturally, the ethics of dyeing frogs for fun and profit are questionable. It definitely sucks for the frogs who, so far, have failed to exhibit any accompanying superpowers. On top of that, there are concerns that the dyes could have dangerous effects on the people exposed to them, either by holding and playing with the frogs, or actually administering the dye (or lasers). For the moment however, none of those concerns seem to trump the "colored frogs are just plain awesome" effect and their popularity continues to boom. I am equal parts intrigued and horrified to see where this trend goes next. More photos after the jump.

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  20. Study: Lasers Used To Identify Spacesuit Contamination

    With sights set on a manned mission to Mars, the idea of astronauts taking a walk on the red planet is something scientists have to prepare for. The search for life on planets like Mars could be increasingly complicated by a manned mission, because microbes or signs of life from Earth could be transported to new environments on the astronauts' space suits. So, researchers have been working on the problem of spacesuit contamination using microscopic fluorescent tracers and lasers to test spacesuit simulations. Part of the Austrian Space Forum's PolAres program (which runs from 2007-2012,) researchers held mock Mars missions using spacesuit simulators in the San Rafael desert in Utah. Led by Gernot Groemer, president of the Austrian Space Forum, the contamination experiments also work in reverse to make sure that no particles from Mars get transported back on the space suits.

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