When I was a kid, I wished that lightsabers were real.
Wait. That's a lie.
This morning I wished that lightsabers were real. Actually, maybe even five minutes ago a tiny portion of my miniscule brain inadvertently thought, "Hey... I wish lightsabers were real." There are few moments that go by without my brain thinking something about Star Wars.
But, because I'm a huge geek, I stumbled upon this article on my favorite Star Wars fan site, The Force.net. And now I'm not so sure that I want these things to be real...
It appears that a company, Wicked Laser, is marketing a commercial laser called The Arctic that will literally fry your face off-and has the handle of that well-known tool used by the Jedi and Sith in Star Wars.
"The lightsaber"... um, I mean "The Arctic"
You know you should be worried when the makers boast that this is "the most dangerous laser ever created." This sucker has a beam 1000 times more powerful than sunlight. It can instantly blind someone and can apparently light skin on fire. It also has that extra-special benefit of causing cancer.
But, I'm an idiot. And like a cigarette, this device is oddly alluring. I want to play with it... even if it will kill me.
Direct blue laser diodes, developed by Shuji Nakamura (inventor of the first Gallium nitride LED), have only recently become available for consumers. The Arctic emits a 445nm ultra high power 1W beam in cool blue. This is a crazy 4000% (yeah... 4000%!!!!) brighter than other commercial beams.
Um... Is it me or does this sound scary as hell? Particularly in the hands of an idiot who would hammer down a few beers and aim this sucker up at a jet.
See for yourself:
Yeah... scary, but cool.
At least Wicked Laser is touting a safety feature: the SmartSwitchTM. Yepper. That's a little trademark emblem right behind that word. Apparently the SmartSwitchTM makes this laser over 100 times safer to handle than other lasers. I can't quite figure that out. Does it have some sort of child safety feature like what I have on my kitchen cabinets?
As a side note, remind me to start merging existing words together and trademarking them.
Back to the Arctic... It also comes with training lenses that only allow a portion of this laser's energy to be unleashed. Standard lenses bring it back up to it's destructive potential. At with a predicted 5000-hour lifetime, that's quite a bit of burning.
At least Jedi were trained from childhood to wield something as dangerous as this.
And Lucasfilm Ltd. isn't very happy about the handle design. David Anderman, Lucasfilm's General Counsel stated:
"It has come to our attention that a company called Wicked Lasers is selling a highly dangerous product out of Hong Kong that is designed to look like a lightsaber from Star Wars. This product is not licensed or approved by Lucasfilm in any way. We have demanded that Wicked Lasers immediately cease and desist their infringing activities. As Wicked Lasers itself admits, this product can cause serious injury to the user and other people. We strongly discourage consumers from purchasing it."
Even after reading all about it, there's still a little part of me-the part that likes blowing stuff up with chemicals or stabbing myself in the eye-that wants to mess with the Arctic. It's the kid in me, I suppose.
But I'd better brush up on my Jedi training first.
SOURCE: The Force.net