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Weaponized Lasers

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by MachIVshooter, Nov 17, 2012.

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  1. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    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?
     
  2. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    6 years.
     
  3. mg.mikael

    mg.mikael Member

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    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.)

    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.
     
  4. Ar180shooter

    Ar180shooter Member

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    As mentioned, what will hold back weaponized laser technology is a compact and lightweight power source.
     
  5. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    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).
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  6. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Member

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    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?
     
  7. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    And what makes you think they can "cause cancer"?
     
  8. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    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
     
  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  10. hmphargh

    hmphargh Member

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    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?
     
  11. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    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.

    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.
     
  12. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    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?
     
  13. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  14. Aikibiker

    Aikibiker Member

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    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.
     
  15. velojym

    velojym Member

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    "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)
     
  16. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  17. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    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.
     
  18. hmphargh

    hmphargh Member

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    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.
     
  19. mg.mikael

    mg.mikael Member

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    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.
     
  20. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    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.
     
  21. Sky

    Sky Member

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    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.
     
  22. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  23. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    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=Bx2h...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.
     
  24. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    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=Bx2h...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.
     
  25. Sky

    Sky Member

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    [QUOTEJacques Vallee originally published in FATE Magazine, 1978
    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."][/QUOTE]

    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......?
     
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