Awesome Stuff: Lasers, Infrared And Photons

from the beam-it dept

Another week, more awesome crowdfunding projects. No need to waste time with the intro, let's get right to it.
  • Lasertag has been around for a while but a bunch of students (high school?) have tried reinventing it for the modern era, using infrared devices that are more stealthy and have some advantages over the old game. First, they have a system of LEDs that will light up and show how many hit points you have left when hit, and second is that pretty much any IR device can act as a "gun." I'll be honest that I was never a huge lasertag guy, but a project that involves students building something cool seems pretty awesome. Of course, lasertag has always been misnamed, since I'm pretty sure it's always been IR devices rather than lasers, but it's cool to see how it's being reimagined by some students.
    The project is definitely still a work in progress and looks fairly crude at the moment, but many of the rewards involve sending you the schematics to build your own out of various household items.
  • Okay, you say that's unfair and you want real lasers? How about the Blue Laser Lamp. While they talk about its use for home theaters and outdoors, it really does seem most likely to be useful as a nightlight of some sort. It also has a vibe that suggests that this could be the next lava lamp. Something that stoned college kids think looks awesome, but has little functional practicality. Still, it's a unique design, and I figured some folks out there might appreciate it.
    The early bird pricing ($35) sold out quickly, and the project has gained a huge amount of support pretty quickly, though it still has a ways to go before reaching its goal. Given the time left, however, I doubt it will have much trouble getting there.
  • Finally, perhaps something a bit more useful. The first time I ever got to "play" with a 3D scanner was in 1997 when I took a class with Donald Greenberg (who I later went on to work for and consult with), one of the pioneers in 3D computer graphics and the Director of Cornell's Program for Computer Graphics. He had a massive 3D scanner in his lab, and I got to be the guinea pig in our class, getting my head scanned. Even though I recognize standard technology trends in which products get cheaper as they get much better, it still seemed ridiculous to think that there'd be a day not that far in the future where personal home 3D scanners were possible and reasonably priced. There's been plenty of talk about 3D printers, but less attention has been paid to the scanning side. So it's cool to see the Photon 3D Scanner, which is an attempt to make an affordable home 3D scanner.
    The early birds sold out at $349 and $399, but everyone else can jump in at the $449 level if you feel the desperate need to scan things in 3D in your home any time soon.
And that's it for this week -- and a special thanks to folks who have started submitting examples of crowdfunded "awesome stuff." It's really helpful, since there are so many interesting projects out there these days.

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  • icon
    Andrew Norton (profile), 6 Apr 2013 @ 10:19am

    Well, it was called 'laser tag' because the visible component was a laser, with a paired IR system. I used to play a lot in the 90s, although mainly the Quasar brand system. Had all kinds of cool varients including turning the suits into bombs, and the guns would display the lives left (and the suits could too, if it were set that way)

    I'm just really surprised it never took off as much as it could/should have. But then again, there's no 'visceral' feel of a shot with a quasar gun, like there is with airsoft/paintball, and the restrictions in such places (like 'no running') was also a big downer.

    Perhaps it's a branding problem. I could see a 'rebels vs stormtroopers' or 'clones vs trade fed' system maybe taking off, and it's a real amazement that Lucas never thought of it.
    (There are other sci-fi themes, likes Alpha Vs Gamma quadrant trek theme, or 'King of the [borg] Cube'; Sandmen Vs Runners from Logans Run; Colonial Warriors vs toasters (original, of course, none of that reimagined rubbish - stogie optional)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2013 @ 12:20am


      "and the restrictions in such places (like 'no running') was also a big downer."

      Yet another situation where for profit companies (insurance in this case) stick their noses in and make something less than viable. Much like patent and copyright trolls, they produce nothing, cost a lot, and the lawyers win.

      Insurance as an idea is a good thing. The way insurance is run these days, you pay for what they perceive as the risk, plus their profit, every year. When it comes time, due to some natural or other disaster, they don't have any money, or want to pay some portion of your loss. Their profits are secure. Their executive pay is secure. Your insured property is less than secure. Not bad for them. Not so good for you. And, in the case of automobile insurance, required by law.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2013 @ 1:38pm

    "pretty much any IR device can act as a "gun.""

    IIRC some of the older laser tag games, when I was a kid, will respond to a remote control as a gun. Not sure if they still do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 8 Apr 2013 @ 4:28am

    pretty much any IR device can act as a "gun."

    Holy damn crap we need laws to stop this or we'll have Newcastle shootings like at least 5 times a day. And imagine the terrorists!

    On a side note, if you stick 7 remote controllers and rotate them would it make a gatling gun with virtually unlimited ammo (providing you use alkaline batteries)?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2013 @ 11:07pm

    A group of friends and acquaintances acquired like 30+ LazerTag brand guns like 2-3 years ago on clearance and just ad-hoc games of laser tag in public places at night like parking garages and parks. We have more players than ever now, novelty never wore off. It's fun as hell, and beats running on a treadmill for excercise.

    I need to fund that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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