Illegal Laser Pointers Are Everywhere, Including Your Drawer

You have to be suspicious when anything as cool as a laser is readily available to the PowerPoint-loving public. And a new study shows that more than 75 percent of lasers violate the Code of Federal Regulations. That's a lot.

The FBI has been trying to crack down on illegal laser use/pointing for awhile now, but the National Institute of Standards took things one step further, examining randomly selected laser pointers labeled as Class IIIa or 3R aka suitable for use in public spaces. These types of lasers have a 5 milliwatt maximum emission in the visible spectrum, and a 2 milliwatt max for the infrared spectrum. The majority of laser pointers failed to comply in at least one category, and one had a power output of 66.5 milliwatts...so that's troubling.

Green lasers are the most likely to exceed legal limits because they output more energy in the infrared spectrum than red or blue lasers. The bottom line, though, is that anyone who tries to forcibly drag you through a 50-slide set is shifty and potentially dangerous. [NIST via Slate]

Image Credit: Andrew Adams/Flickr