Making Faster Optical "Cables" Using Nothing But Lasers and Air

Pulses of light are the absolute fastest way to transfer data (because nothing's faster than light), but old school fiber optic cables can only go so many places. Scientists have a new idea: use high-powered lasers to make a column of low-density air that can carry a light signal just as well as a normal cable. Yes,… » 7/22/14 11:23am 7/22/14 11:23am

Scientists Use World's Largest Laser To Recreate Jupiter's Core

It is not pleasant inside the core of Jupiter—or any other planet for that matter. However, gaining a better understanding of what's going on in there is key for understanding how these planets form. That's why a team of scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently used diamonds and lasers to recreate » 7/18/14 11:21am 7/18/14 11:21am

The Navy Wants to Mount an Anti-UAV Laser on a Hummer--A Hummer!

The Office of Naval Research has just announced another breakthrough in its efforts to bring laser-based weapons to future battlefields. What once could only be accommodated by a tractor trailer now fits neatly in the back seat of a Humvee. It's only a matter of time until our armed forces march off to war with GI… » 6/17/14 2:20pm 6/17/14 2:20pm

These Revolutionary Optics Could Make Battlefield Lasers a Reality

Weapons that shoot light rather than bullets are quickly becoming a reality, however their huge bulk and even larger energy consumption still demand that they be mounted on vehicles such as battleships and tractor trailers. But thanks to this newly developed optics system from the US Army Research Lab, tomorrow's… » 6/16/14 4:20pm 6/16/14 4:20pm

NASA's Using Space Laser to Download Video From Orbit at Gigabit Speeds

NASA's latest data download just covered way more distance, and contained way more awesome, than any earthbound file transfer: the agency beamed a high-def video down from the International Space Station this week using a high-powered laser. Go ahead and give your WiFi router a good stern look. » 6/07/14 10:00am 6/07/14 10:00am

Scientists Invent a Laser That Fires Electrical Charge, Not Light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have just stumbled upon the most important development in laser research since the invention of the semiconductor diode in the 1950s. It promises to create a new class of lasers that use 250 times less energy than today's, and that's not even the craziest part. » 6/06/14 11:40am 6/06/14 11:40am

Hobby Drones As Guided Bombs And The Rise Of Laser Defense Systems

"Drones" are changing the world's view of aviation rapidly. At first, larger models such as the Predator and Global Hawk took center-stage in the public's consciousness, but now small unmanned aircraft, some the size of lunchbox or even smaller, are capturing the public's imagination and keeping defense and homeland… » 5/01/14 3:41pm 5/01/14 3:41pm

Guy Builds Spider-Man's Web-Shooter Using an Electromagnetic Launcher

Since scientists have yet to figure out a formula for real-life human spiderwebs (c'mon, guys!), hardware hacker Patrick Priebe took matters into his own hands. But since he's limited by real-world constraints too, he instead engineered this wrist-worn electromagnetic miniature harpoon launcher. » 4/17/14 9:20am 4/17/14 9:20am

Jackass Who Lasered Children's Hospital Chopper Gets 14-Year Sentence

Astounding moron Sergio Rodriguez got slapped with a 14-year prison sentence earlier this month, convicted of aiming a laser pointer at an emergency medical helicopter taking a young patient to Children's Hospital of Central California. Remember folks, trying to blind pilots midair is a very, very bad idea. » 4/01/14 12:00pm 4/01/14 12:00pm

Military Future-Lasers Could Help Detect Bombs and the Flu

DARPA is investigating handheld UV laser devices to help soldiers detect biological and chemical weapons from a safe distance. But when they master that technology, it won't just be used on the battlefield; it could also help public health workers detect and track outbreaks of communicable diseases. Fighting flu with… » 3/21/14 2:20pm 3/21/14 2:20pm

New Safety Lasers For 3D Scanners Won't Burn Your Retinas

If there's one rule of thumb that goes along with lasers—no matter how weak they may be—it's that you should never, ever point them at your eyes. But lasers are more energy efficient and responsive than LEDs, making them better suited for the 3D scanners used to detect gestures on a game console. So Sharp has come up… » 3/18/14 2:20pm 3/18/14 2:20pm

Overhead Laser Lights That Illuminate With Images and Video

As far as giant corporations go, it's usually Sony that's willing to a take risk on an unorthodox new product. But this time it's Panasonic's turn with the company's new Space Player that combines overhead lighting with compact projectors letting you project everything from different colors, to still images, to videos… » 3/16/14 3:00pm 3/16/14 3:00pm