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Lasers

  1. Tech

    Laser The Size Of A Virus Uses Nano Bow Ties To Create Tiny Laser Beams

    Northwestern University researchers can put a tiny little feather in their hat today as they have announced the creation of the world's smallest working laser -- one about the size of a virus. The incredibly miniaturized laser can operate at room temperature, and, even more impressively, seems to defy the diffraction limit of light using a nano-scale laser cavity that's shaped like a bowtie. Bill Nye must be so very proud right now.

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  2. Science

    Physicists Invent (Tiny) Working Tractor Beam, World Becomes Instantly More Awesome

    You guys, hold the phone. Drop whatever you're doing right now. Is it dropped? Yes? Good. We have tractor beams now! Like where you zap a thing with a laser and pull it toward you with beam power? Yeah, those! We have those now. Even though they are super tiny and effective only on microscopic items like silica spheres suspended in water for right now, they are still working tractor beams, and now that we have the principle down, they are pretty much only going to get cooler from here. If you can't get excited about that, I don't even know what to say, as I have to assume you are already dead inside.

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  3. Science

    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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  4. Tech

    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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  5. Science

    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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  6. Gaming

    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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  7. Weird

    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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  8. Tech

    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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  9. Space

    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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  10. Tech

    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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  11. Tech

    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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  12. Science

    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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  13. Science

    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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  14. Gaming

    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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  15. Weird

    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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