Monday, April 19, 2010

10 Things We Can Do With Lasers

  1. Start your car. * Igniting fuel with lasers is supposed to be more efficient, especially in cold or damp weather. This will not only get rid of a source of winter anger and reduce emissions, but will provide criminal masterminds new ways to blow up vehicles
  2. Put a touchscreen anywhere.** Now you too can project menus, computer screens, powerpoints, and images onto flat surfaces such as tables and walls. We'd need to expand past the current 10-inch limit to really realize the applications, but someday this could contribute to augmented realities and give us animated "wallpaper"—not too far from a customizable ceiling.***
  3. Play music. **** Kind of like a theremin, I'm thinking. Along with the laser harp, we could have laser guitars, laser violins, laser piano wires, laser touchscreen piano keys, and laser-powered amps. Not sure if laser trumpets and laser clarinets are feasible, but laser drums—absolutely! (We've already got laser microphones.)
  4. Connect bionic limbs to the nervous system.***** They'd be more accurate with lasers than electrical pulses because lasers can hit exactly the right nerve fiber, while the pulses hit the right one and a bunch more. Greater accuracy equals greater dexterity equals a) less stigma towards amputees and b) more dangerous cyborgs.
  5. Move liquid uphill. This is probably best used, as the article says, to cool computer systems. I can't think of any other useful applications right now, at any rate.
  6. High-speed data transmission. † If this becomes widespread, it will revolutionize communication, and through that developing countries, globalism, and quite possibly space colonies. In fact, there's probably some very good potential in terms of space colonies and space travel.
  7. Nuclear fusion.†† Enough said, no?
  8. Prevent photography.††† Lasers taking out cameras could become commonplace, given current paranoias about privacy.
  9. Destroy missiles.†††† (More at Gizmodo—video!—and io9) Also enough said.
  10. Etch fruit.††††† Using lasers to help ID foodstuffs is useful, but boring. Where's Mrs. Jone's Patented Laser-Based Garnish Maker?
†† Engadget. More at Gizmodo and Tor.com
††† BoingBoing
†††† Gizmodo
††††† Gizmodo

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