Weaponized Lasers


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MachIVshooter
November 17, 2012, 12:38 PM
Reality is quickly catching up with science fiction. There now are commercially available, hand-held, battery powered blue lasers poweful enough to ignite flammables, boil liquids and cut through things in short order. The most potent you can outright purchase is a 1,250mW ($400 USD), but some people are cranking them up as high as 4,000mW! A typical laser pointer or laser sight is 5mW or less.

These things are class IV lasers, meaning they are truly dangerous, able to cause instant, permanent damage to retinas, even with diffused reflections. They'll burn skin deeply, cause cancer, etc.

With battery and laser technology progressing as rapidly as it is, how long do some of our more tech-savvy members think it'll take before compact, hand-held lasers have destructive power equal to or exceeding small arms?

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JShirley
November 17, 2012, 01:59 PM
6 years.

mg.mikael
November 17, 2012, 01:59 PM
how long do some of our more tech-savvy members think it'll take before compact, hand-held lasers have destructive power equal to or exceeding small arms?

I don't believe we'll ever have hand-held lasers with the power of firearms anytime in the foreseeable future(maybe in the next century). For a hand-held laser to have the power of a firearm, just think of the power source needed to supply that energy.

It would have to be huge there's no way to make that easily movable and versatile. Even if the power source could fit in a backpack, who would lug a back pack of batteries(but considering there's not even any batteries in existence that could provide the amount of power needed in such a small package this is pure fantasy/speculation.)

6 years.

That's realistic in laboratory/research settings, but the laser wouldn't be versatile to the point you could put in your pocket after firing or even easily carry it.

Ar180shooter
November 17, 2012, 02:18 PM
As mentioned, what will hold back weaponized laser technology is a compact and lightweight power source.

hso
November 17, 2012, 05:07 PM
Unknown

We're at an impasse on a couple of fronts that make it impossible to give a rational guess.

Short of a couple of "then a miracle happened" events specific to the current roadblocks we won't see anything other than very large systems for a long time (and we won't be seeing practical mobile system for like that for a while).

sidheshooter
November 17, 2012, 05:07 PM
What would the wounding mechanism be? Boring a tiny hole through someone? Burning all their skin off? Instant cancer is undoubtably lethal force, but that isn't exactly going to dethrone a 230 gr GDHP from a 5" 1911, so far as stopping power goes.

Instant boiling of all fluids in a target? Now *that* just might make both the jello junkies and morgue monsters sit up and take notice...

At any rate, I really am asking. What will ray guns do better than .55 gr of .223?

hso
November 17, 2012, 05:53 PM
And what makes you think they can "cause cancer"?

R.W.Dale
November 17, 2012, 05:57 PM
And what makes you think they can "cause cancer"?

The packaging says so as known by the state of California

And that's my tag




posted via that mobile app with the sig lines everyone complaints about

hso
November 17, 2012, 06:10 PM
Repeated or prolonged exposure to 230 - 380 nm ultraviolet lasers can possibly cause sunburn, skin cancer, or accelerated skin aging. The 280 - 315 nm ultraviolet UV-B region is the most likely to cause skin cancer, but keep in mind that you have to have a LOT of exposure to increase the risk. The labeling on lasers is about the increased risk due to abuse or prolonged and repeated exposure, but not for incidental transitory exposure.

Due to energy storage, energy delivery, overheating, to name a few problems, there's no personal laser weapon anywhere near the horizon that comes close to the defensive effectiveness of even a .22lr.

hmphargh
November 17, 2012, 08:51 PM
6 years.
Is that how long you think it will take to come to market, or how long you will be imprisoned if you're caught trying to use a weaponized laser that has been modified to output 4000 mW?

Cosmoline
November 17, 2012, 09:10 PM
Isn't it true that even a mild dust storm or fog bank is enough to seriously interfere with high-octane laser weapons?

The real problem with using them in lieu of ordinary weapons is that the ordinary weapons destroy things more effectively and cheaply. I could see potential in blinding your enemy, but that's already something a tactical light does pretty well.

known by the state of California

The state of California thinks pretty much everything causes cancer. Anyway if you're getting hole bored through your eye, cancer is way down the list of problems.

Onward Allusion
November 17, 2012, 10:50 PM
My guess is 5 to 10 years. Dependent on availability of compact powerful energy source. Perhaps with the commercialization of fuel cell technology.

As for what it can do. How about a pulse that puts a hole in ya or cut from afar like a sword except from 30 feet away?

hso
November 17, 2012, 11:26 PM
What is that "5 to 10 years" guess based on?

You'll need room temp superconductors and an entirely unknown power supply, not something from SiFi mythology, to make practical individual laser weapons.

There's nothing in current technology that indicates the technical problems have clear solutions.

Aikibiker
November 17, 2012, 11:42 PM
Who needs a battery if you are going to use your laser rifle for home defense? Plug it into the wall outlet in your saferoom and keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Realistically I could see one mounted on an aircraft with the A/C as a power source and airflow for cooling used to engage ground targets similar to a helicopter's door gun. Given the problems energy weapons are going to have with brown out weather conditions if they are helicopter mounted I am betting the ratio will be one energy weapon to 3 M-240/M134's. I also bet the 160th will get them first and act all cool about it. Because hey the Night Stalkers are cool and get cool toys.

velojym
November 17, 2012, 11:55 PM
"Back off or I'll give you melanoma!" :neener:

I think, due to the size of the effective beam, and that we really aren't as self-destructive as some would like to think (humans, that is), the "killer app" for portable lasers will likely arise in areas like precision machining (at home, right next to the 3D printer) and many other useful laser functions. Between those two tools, you'll have pretty much wiped out any possibility of disarming a populace, as you can program your printer and laser mill to churn out AR15 parts at will.
I think, to do traumatic, baddie-stopping damage, you might have to have a persistent beam, and learn to sweep it across the target a little... just guessing anyway.
Once the former has been accomplished, I'm sure some tinkerer will have perfected a way to get Greedo off of Han's back once and for all.
(Oh... yeah... that's been took care of already)

MachIVshooter
November 18, 2012, 03:57 AM
There's nothing in current technology that indicates the technical problems have clear solutions.

No. But then, 20 years ago when laser sights and pointers were first becoming compact and affordable, people probably thought the same thing about a hand held laser being powerful enough to actually burn and cut things. Yet here we are.

Think about it. I remember when LED flashlights first started hitting the market around 2000. They used multiple diodes and emitted a pretty dim bluish light. Fast forward to today, and look at lights like the Streamlight TLR-1HP. It uses a tiny SMD LED and a pair of 3v batteries, and produces a beam that rivals automobile headlamps.

We can cram more infomation onto a micro SD card than a 486 desktop could hold in the early '90s.

So probably not next year, maybe not by 2020. But you still have to recognize that the leaps and bounds in electronics over the last 3 decades have been astounding, and the pace is ever-increasing. Things that were pure science fiction not long ago exist in every day life now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqLkpcHavZE&feature=related

Double Naught Spy
November 18, 2012, 08:40 AM
You can already take a little handheld laser and convert it to one that will burn things quite easily, so the fact that they are already readily available in a form that can be made to do (slow) harm would indicate that it probably won't be hard or long for them to be handheld and readily damaging. I don't know when they will be ballistically damaging, but I am sure it won't belong until fraction of a second exposure flesh burn capability won't be far off.

Hacks...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgJ0EpxjZBU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQWx-7lH8ec

Commercial handheld burning laser...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0oM66jfaJ4&feature=related

Setting people on fire tends to be a motivator.

hmphargh
November 18, 2012, 10:54 AM
Yea, and they make flashlights that can light things on fire too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TsV3-IvS8UA

The last I heard, the military canceled the chemical laser testbed built on the Boeing 747 platform. As far as I've read, there are no viable, mobile, weaponized lasers being developed for military consumption that have any details published. Considering this, I think a realistic estimate for a man carryable weaponized laser is 25+ years, and probably 10-20 years for anything on an aircraft platform.

mg.mikael
November 18, 2012, 12:08 PM
people probably thought the same thing about a hand held laser being powerful enough to actually burn and cut things. Yet here we are.

Their not actually hand-held in the sense you can put one in your pocket or 'holster'. You're forgetting that they are attached to immense power sources, and those power sources make them burdensome with regards to weight, versatility, mobility, and all around general usage. Thus I'd argue hand-held lasers with the power as you put in you first post, "equal to or exceeding small arms" simply will not exist for decades by the very least.

Sure lasers can burn and cut through things, I use a laser-cutter to cut acrylic, paper, and plywood on a weekly basis. But the laser isn't hand-held, it's part of a large machine inside a sealed compartment using the voltage from the wall not a battery. Why? Because no such 'hand-held' laser exists where I can actually hold it and cut through materials.

jmorris
November 18, 2012, 12:25 PM
What would the wounding mechanism be? Boring a tiny hole through someone? Burning all their skin off? Cutting them into 2 pieces would likely be more effective.

That Amada AJ2000 will clean cut 3/4" steel with only 1/3 the power of CO2 lasers but at 31,000 pounds requiring 3 phase power you couldn't run it at your house much less carry it around.

The cutting head is quite fast though, able to transverse over 13,000 inches per minute.

Sky
November 18, 2012, 01:06 PM
Saw a discussion on a micro wave laser device that can cause all kinds of problems with a living body; it was hand held about the size of a pocket flash light. Heart stoppage, skin feeling like on fire, blindness etc were some of the pleasantries.

There are those who continually say R&D in some skunk works is 30 to 50 years ahead of anything we pedestrians are aware of. The SR-71 was developed in the early early 60's (late 50's actually) and was only known to the few until the late 80s if I remember right; much of the performance data is still classified even today. There are files on WWll that are classified for 75 years and are still closed to the general public; so maybe we do have a device stashed in some lab someplace or maybe we don't.

So I guess it depends on your definition of what a laser is as far as when and if we pedestrians will see one. The youtube vids Double Naught Spy posted are but toys with stuff pieced together using after market supplies and one battery. Now think about the money available and the research many facilities have done on various devices and you will probably come up with your own answer.

The problem with many research facilities and R&D is the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing unless invited in for a demo.

Remember a guy once saying "Why the hell wasn't I told" and the answer was "Sir you were not on the need to know list"...... Those who have worked with security clearances know from whence I speak.

MachIVshooter
November 18, 2012, 01:41 PM
Their not actually hand-held in the sense you can put one in your pocket or 'holster'. You're forgetting that they are attached to immense power sources,

The commercially available 1,250mW Arctic III Spyder is the size of a tactical flashlight, uses a little Lithium-Ion battery.

http://nexgadget.com/images/What-Happened-To-Wicked-Lasers-Spyder-III-Pro-Arctic-Laser-Lasers_ssea-_0.jpg

These guys make a 2.4W hand held, though it's kinda spendy at $1,900 and uses IR diode, so is not visible. http://www.laserglow.com/GSS

Some of the handhelds people have built are as powerful as 4W and not much larger. Look them up on youtube.

There are some good videos of home builds that do attach to larger power sources, except they are 80W.

Onward Allusion
November 18, 2012, 01:41 PM
hso
What is that "5 to 10 years" guess based on?

You'll need room temp superconductors and an entirely unknown power supply, not something from SiFi mythology, to make practical individual laser weapons.

There's nothing in current technology that indicates the technical problems have clear solutions.

Based on me being in tech and knowing how fast things move and evolve with technology. The growth is exponential not linear. Who would have thought just 2 years ago, that terabyte drives would be common? In another 5 years or less, we will have petabyte drives. Once 3D storage is perfected, you'll have all exabyte and above storage in something the size of a sugar cube.

Here's a YT on a 2 Watt home made laser using a Nintendo NES game gun. TWO watts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx2h3zeuQhg&feature=youtu.be&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.examiner.com%2Farticle%2Fdiy-handheld-laser-gun-can-blind-maim-and-or-kill

How hard do you think it would be to double, triple, quadruple....50x the output and literally have a light saber in one's hands? Heck, I'm an IT geek and I could probably put it together if I had the time or inclination. The constraint is the power source. Like I'd said - fuel cells - soon...

Now if we're talking about pulse laser based, then that would be more difficult, but I'm sure we have Enginerds here that can do it if they put their minds to it.

Onward Allusion
November 18, 2012, 01:47 PM
hso
What is that "5 to 10 years" guess based on?

You'll need room temp superconductors and an entirely unknown power supply, not something from SiFi mythology, to make practical individual laser weapons.

There's nothing in current technology that indicates the technical problems have clear solutions.

Based on me being in tech and knowing how fast things move and evolve with technology. The growth is exponential not linear. Who would have thought just 2 years ago, that terabyte drives would be common? In another 5 years or less, we will have petabyte drives. Once 3D storage is perfected, you'll have all exabyte and above storage in something the size of a sugar cube.

Here's a YT on a 2 Watt home made laser using a Nintendo NES game gun. TWO watts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx2h3zeuQhg&feature=youtu.be&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.examiner.com%2Farticle%2Fdiy-handheld-laser-gun-can-blind-maim-and-or-kill

How hard do you think it would be to double, triple, or quadruple the output and literally have a light saber in one's hands? Heck, I'm an IT geek and I could probably put it together if I had the time or inclination.

Now if we're talking about pulse laser based, then that would be more difficult, but I'm sure we have Enginerds here that can do it if they put their minds to it.

Sky
November 18, 2012, 03:04 PM
1978[/B]
NOTE: Brilliant scientist, SRI background, DARPA background, stellar thinker, really did help invent the Internet, friend of Dr. Christopher "Kit" Green says in 1978 that microwaves and/or electromagnetic energy can. "cause them to behave strangely, put them into shock, make them hear voices or even kill them."]

Notice the date....American research has come much further in the last 30+ years. Now does not mean we have a highly miniaturized version now but the seeds were sown long long ago. We can only speculate......?

hso
November 18, 2012, 04:24 PM
20 years ago when laser sights and pointers were first becoming compact and affordable, people probably thought the same thing about a hand held laser being powerful enough to actually burn and cut things. Yet here we are.

Current hand held lasers are still toys.

How hard will it be? It isn't a question of just scaling up. We literally lack the technologies in 3 critical areas to take the next step to a handheld laser weapon. We do not currently have the technology that would allow the power density in a portable source, the heat sink capability to keep from destroying the laser itself or the current carrying means to dump the power to a laser if we had the power supply or the heat sinking I (or an unknown lasing material that doesn't need the heat sink). The analogy of increasing drive capacity doesn't work in this case because we're not refining technologies to get better performance, we have to refine one and create 2 new technologies that don't exist.

I spent years at Oak Ridge National Labs and I've spent decades working with/around DoE and DoD and wishful thinking won't do a thing to overcome the current roadblocks to a immediately lethal hand held laser.

Onward Allusion
November 18, 2012, 04:46 PM
Ok - fair enough. I'll touch base with you in 5 years. Putting a note in my Google Calendar... :)

Sam Cade
November 18, 2012, 06:50 PM
I spent years at Oak Ridge National Labs and I've spent decades working with/around DoE and DoD and wishful thinking won't do a thing to overcome the current roadblocks to a immediately lethal hand held laser.

An instantly disabling (via blinding) laser OTOH would be pretty easy if you ignore UN treaties.

hso
November 18, 2012, 07:28 PM
IF we broaden the discussion from just replacing small arms for lethality to just stopping an attack we get closer to what currently exists.

The problem is you have to hit that small moving target, the head (I'll not just restrict it to hitting the eyes) with a beam bright and broad enough to make actually being effective as a defensive tool possible. That can be done and could result in several minutes of temporary blindness. They'd be easily countered with laser safety glasses, not that your typical goblin will be carrying those around outside of Toon Town.

Certaindeaf
November 18, 2012, 11:28 PM
If you totally utilize even one atom, instead of just changing its form, infinite energy will be yielded.. I think. lolz
A quantum advance will come in time.

MachIVshooter
November 19, 2012, 03:07 AM
Current hand held lasers are still toys.

I don't think I'd call something as potentially damaging as these class IV lasers "toys", and neither do the manufacturers and distributors of said devices. If it can ignite flammables or cut through hard plastic CD cases in a second or two, it's not something you want to entertain your cat or dog with.

I didn't start this thread believing that Star Wars or Terminator style pulse laser cannons are just over the horizon. But this kind of technology does develop at an exponential rate, so it's not really a stretch to believe that firearms may be supplemented or even supplanted by directed energy weapons within some of our lifetimes. I'll be 31 in January, and judging by the changes in my lifetime so far, I can scarcely imagine what technologies will exist by the time I'm 60 or 70. When I was born in 1982, home computers required 5-1/4" floppy disks to run any primitive program on their pitiful read-only hard drives and display them on crappy green or gray/blue screens. Today, my smart phone is far more powerful than the PC I used in high school.

Tirod
November 19, 2012, 10:34 AM
Asking for a laser that cuts someone in half is asking too much.

It's the same principle that was used to select a new battle rifle caliber in the late '50s - how much does it take to get the other soldier to stop fighting? .30 cal wasn't necessary - it caused the user some grief shooting it and reduced their effectiveness.

The .223 did a better job, and casualty rates went up with more effective aimed fire. Add in having a lot more ammo to fire, too.

Same with the offensive laser - you don't need to cut them in half. Just blind them. The eyes are very much a target. If they can't see, they are useless on the battlefield. What is on the market right now will do that.

One small retina damaging laser with a programmed pattern displayer can effectively control a significant radius from the emitter. It would be akin to laying down an minefield. Step into the bath zone and go blind.

There's already laws against displaying the small stuff against airline pilots, and reports of injuries. Things aren't getting better, and the potential of a serious incident already exists with the technology on hand.

If we're casually entertaining the concept on the internet, I feel horribly assured an actual device exists. It wouldn't take much to proof as a concept, a pen of pigs would do at various ranges and conditions. You haul the survivors off to the processing plant, no evidence.

By the way, it was said that dust, fog, and smoke might stop one. Well, if a direct fire weapons operator can't see his target, he is effectively stopped, too. There are other weapons used at that point. No army leaves themselves dependent on just one.

hso
November 19, 2012, 11:07 AM
Well, if a direct fire weapons operator can't see his target, he is effectively stopped, too.

You don't need to block the view to wreck a laser's ability to do harm. Scattering and absorption have a big impact. Heck, the use of laser safety glasses will as well. IF you push power densities high enough you can push through the normal dispersive conditions that defensive hand held weapons would address.

heron
November 19, 2012, 02:05 PM
You don't need to block the view to wreck a laser's ability to do harm. Scattering and absorption have a big impact. Heck, the use of laser safety glasses will as well. IF you push power densities high enough you can push through the normal dispersive conditions that defensive hand held weapons would address.This makes me think that lasers will never be much use except in vacuum, as in space. A conventional projectile won't notice that it's flying through a fog bank, but the laser beam has to burn through the fog first before it can damage a target. Then, as the laser is burning its target, it's creating another cloud that it has to burn through in order to keep being effective.

I might be wrong on this. Maybe some of you with experience on industrial laser-cutters can tell me: is a strong vacuum nozzle needed close to the beam's cutting focus?

Andrew Wyatt
November 19, 2012, 07:03 PM
Laser power is listed in watts, which is Joules/sec.

the advanced tactical laser is a 100,000 Joules/sec weapon that weighs at its lightest, 5000KG.

the M61A1 has a muzzle energy per round of 53,561J, and fires 100 rounds per second.
it weighs 600 pounds.

Jim Watson
November 19, 2012, 07:32 PM
I can visualize a single shot laser weapon.
A bank of ultracapacitors that is entirely discharged upon closing the trigger switch.
Just enough heat sink to keep the emitter from being cooked, it will have time to cool to operating temperature while you pull the extension cord to recharge the capacitors.

Would you be better off with a slugthrower and a 30 round magazine?

By the way, I believe blinding weapons are specifically banned by treaty.

If you have a hot enough beam to vaporize a sizeable chunk of target, the steam explosion from living tissue ought to make a nasty wound.

MachIVshooter
November 19, 2012, 07:54 PM
the M61A1 has a muzzle energy per round of 53,561J, and fires 100 rounds per second.
it weighs 600 pounds.

It also has an absolute maximum range of about 10 kilometers, depending on specific ammunition. I don't think I even need mention the difference in accuracy between a ballistic projectile and a beam of light.

The application of weapon lasers is more about distance and precision, specifically a combination of the two. There have been successful tests bringing down UAVs with lasers both on land and water.

If you can cut a hole in the missile's rocket motor and send it plunging into the ocean, there's far less risk of collateral damage (or even fallout) than trying to blow it out of the sky with a ballistic interceptor.

Zoogster
November 19, 2012, 08:02 PM
You could create a device that would permanently blind everyone within 100 yards fairly easily.
High powered device with a lens to cover wider area.
You could setup a home defense system that used a beam which covered 7 feet at a time at the likely distance which would be more than the height of a man, and scanned side to side, permanently blinding everyone approaching your compound or safe room.
Having the laser cover more area reduces power on what is covered, but you can certainly figure out just how much area you can cause a very powerful laser to cover before it drops below the instantly permanently blind anyone
it sweeps over threshhold, and by starting with something really powerful be able to scan large areas at a time.

A setup like those they use to create professional quality laser light shows could probably be used to permanently blind an entire battlefield if programmed right and connected to really powerful lasers.
You could probably transport such a thing on the bottom of a chopper, fly over an area, and use a scan to permanently blind a huge area.
Like everyone exposed in a town.
The dictators of the future can blind entire towns, then send in their forces to mop up.


A more single direction device could probably be made to blind pilots of aircraft. A human might not be able to point the device accurately at high speed aircraft, but a computer program controlling motors could certainly do it.
Several million dollar aircraft are not so useful with blind pilots.


I can certainly see laser weapons being used to permanently blind those in combat. All the techology is there to do it.
The solution would require protective eyewear resistant to the spectrum of light the lasers operate in (which of course might change in an enemy's lasers), or always using something like head mounted cameras or night vision and not using the naked eye anymore.
The military of the future might march in blinding everyone in the area for life, or even send drones in ahead to do it for them.



Similarly those already present in a standard small beam pose a great risk.
Those small handheld battery powered devices already in the thread like posted by MachIVshooter can blind someone so fast the eye is destroyed for life faster than thier blink response.
(Which also poses huge risks to the user, a split second of the device reflecting off a water droplet, piece of glass, reflective metal, etc and you have damaged eyesight or spots in your vision for life. Even though you were careful to never point it at yourself, just a partial reflection can do it before you even realized it happened. They really are not smart toys to play with.)

As a casual observer you also cannot tell the difference between many of the lasers that can instantly permanently blind you, and less harmful laser pointers. So there really is a reason to consider anyone pointing a laser pointer a threat of serious bodily injury (which can warrant lethal force.) However that understanding has not yet caught up with society, and killing the kid with the laser pointer will probably put you in prison.
They don't all cost much either, you can make one for a fraction of the price. For example a scrapped DVD burner drive can be used to create a laser powerful enough to burn through things, and can be made for like $20.

Sheepdog1968
November 19, 2012, 08:33 PM
We will still have the same problem that we have today. Folks just aren't hitting their targets.

JohnKSa
November 19, 2012, 11:24 PM
They may eventually be useful weapons for certain applications. They will never be useful everyday carry weapons.

The reason is that in order to safely use them, you and everyone else in the general area would need to be wearing special protective goggles. If there's enough power to actually kill or seriously injure someone, reflecting even a very small portion of that energy back at the user or at an innocent bystander could cause serious eye damage/blindness. If you miss and hit a piece of glass or something else reflective, the beam will split and/or reflect, and continue on with enough power to injure/kill or blind for very long distances.

Try shining a laser pointer at glass and watch what happens. Try shining it at something reflective or in an area with lots of glass (windows, etc.) and try to guess ahead of time where all the split/reflected beams will end up.

InkEd
November 19, 2012, 11:45 PM
Until we can Star Wars-style Light Sabers (or as any nerd will tell you more accurately Plasma Sabers), I will be sticking with my firearms. :neener:

jmorris
November 20, 2012, 12:16 AM
Asking for a laser that cuts someone in half is asking too much.

Maybe a hand held. Look at the clean cut on 1.5" thick steel by a laser below.

http://www.industrial-lasers.com/articles/2004/08/cutting-thick-steel-plate.html


That was 8 years ago. When I was a kid seat belts were not in every car and people would have said you were crazy if you told them cars would someday have bags of air that pop out to save your face while you crashed into stuff.

Zoogster
November 20, 2012, 08:00 AM
What JohnKsa said is entirely true.
As I pointed out existing handheld lasers powered off a small battery source (even a couple AAAs can allow a sufficiently powerful laser to burn through things) can be powerful enough to permanently blind you for life faster than your natural blink response to even shut your eye.
Yet what they would do to the skin instantly would not be a very deep burn.
It would take even longer for them when dealing with clothing.

The level of power required to actually burn through several inches of tissue as immediately as a bullet can reach vitals would be so high that far less than .01% of that energy even partially reflected off a surface would be blinding people for life at random for long distances. That means not even much of the beam needs to be reflected, just the most minute amount of that beam reflecting off water droplets, ice, snow, rain, metal surfaces, glass, and various other reflective things in society could instantly blind the user or other unintended targets.
This makes laser weapons of the sci-fi projectile replacement variety unrealistic, and unlikely to ever be fielded by infantry or individuals even if the battery of the future can hold enough power to make fielding such lasers possible. Now it is possible such things could be used from vehicles observing through cameras, but they would pose the same risk of instantly blinding friendly forces for long distances. A battlefield where things are constantly firing beams that have minor reflections permanently blinding anything within line of sight would not be a place infantry would want to be.
That would greatly limit where such things could be used.
Of course such a thing might technically legalize blinding everyone nearby, by claiming it was being used for its destructive potential and not its blinding side effect. Kinda like they initially claimed white phosphorous was just being used to screen or illuminate in Fallujah since using it as a weapon in the middle of a civilian inhabited city violates international law.
They will claim to have just been trying to burn the enemy with the laser, and blinding everyone for miles as it partially reflected off cars, buildings, and other surfaces, as a large number of smaller less powerful but still permanently blinding reflections... was just a side effect.

lobo9er
November 20, 2012, 06:16 PM
I have always heard and tend to believe that the most advanced of anything that is available to the public is 15 years behind actual technology that has been being used by Gov't. Not sure how that applies here but kinda related to the conversation.

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