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Blu-ray Laser Gadget 204

Posted by kdawson
from the hundred-bucks-a-milliwatt dept.
i4u writes, "Wicked Lasers has done the unthinkable. They took the sparse blue laser diodes used in Blu-ray Disc drives and are making cool laser gadgets out of them, called Sonar. You can own one of these very limited edition lasers for $1,999.99. The price is that high because Wicked Lasers buys Blu-ray Disc players and removes the Blu-ray diode for the Sonar laser."
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Blu-ray Laser Gadget

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  • by Salvance (1014001) * on Monday November 13, 2006 @04:50PM (#16829536) Homepage Journal
    OK, so it seems pretty crazy to junk a blu-ray just to grab the laser, but there must be some reason they are doing this other than the publicity, right? Can someone explain the importance of a blue laser over a regular handheld red laser of the same power that sells for ~$20? Or is it just supposed to be cool looking?

    Looking online, I see that the standard price for blue laser pointers is over $1000 (here's the cheapest I found [onpointlasers.com], which has a longer wavelength and lower power than the Blu-ray) ... are these so expensive just because they're expensive to make, or is there massive demand that keeps that the price up (and if so, what is that demand based on)?
    • by JesseL (107722)
      Demand > Supply = High Price.

    • ...well timed to coincide with the (non) launch of the PS3. Given that it's made the front page of Slashdot, I'd say quite a successful one. I am sure there are many slashdotters who would be interested in their other (cheaper and more practical) lasers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jdray (645332)
        It makes you wonder if they actually constructed one of these blue lasers, or if it's just vaporware...
    • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:21PM (#16830082)
      Can someone explain the importance of a blue laser over a regular handheld red laser of the same power that sells for ~$20?

      It's blue.
    • by NitsujTPU (19263)
      No, it's just a status thing. Much like having green lasers when they first came out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kemanorel (127835)
      This [thinkgeek.com] one's cheaper...

      All that searching and the cheapest source for one is right at the top of this page. ;-)
    • by eric76 (679787)
      a regular handheld red laser of the same power that sells for ~$20

      If you are referring to laser pointers, those are typically 1-5 mW.

      According to the article, this puts out 20 mW.

    • by ottffssent (18387) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:22PM (#16831028)
      Blue is cool. Also, hard to do. Between the two, you get expensive.

      Red lasers are cheap because they're cheap to make, though the suspiciously cheap ones are, indeed, suspiciously cheaply made. Green lasers are pretty close to the human eye's peak responsiveness, so they appear brighter at a given power level than red or blue lasers.

      There are all manner of lasers [wikipedia.org]. CO2, Argon, and other gas lasers. Chemical lasers. Diode lasers. And several other varieties. Hand-held (and small bench) lasers are commonly diode lasers. Low-power red laser diodes are approximately free, which is why they show up everywhere. Infrared laser diodes aren't terribly expensive, even fairly high-powered ones. There is no such thing as a green laser diode. Hand-held green lasers are DPSS lasers [wikipedia.org], in which a high power infrared laser blasts a fancy neodymium compound that outputs a different infrared frequency that in turn hits a frequency-doubling crystal which finally outputs 532nm green light.

      The take-home message here is that blue laser light is hard to get so it's expensive. It's also not terribly useful unless you actually need the high frequency for denser data packing. Green laser light is harder to get than red laser light, but in addition to looking cool it legitimately is more visible per watt. Check out the CIE luminosity function [wikipedia.org] - 650nm red light appears about 8x dimmer per watt than 532nm green light. A $100 15mW green laser therefore should appear almost as bright as a $200 200mW red laser. Even though production of green laser light is less efficient than production of red laser light, the green laser should consume somewhat less power than the red one.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      Because they're different and new, and some people will pay pretty much anything for that.

      I've been waiting for a blue laser pointer, but I'll wait a while more, until the blue-ray novelty has worn off and the things are $20.
    • OK, so it seems pretty crazy to junk a blu-ray just to grab the laser

      Doesn't HD DVD also use the blue laser? If so, couldn't they save a bundle by not buying a blu-ray drive for $1500.00 and picking up an X-box HD DVD drive for $200.00 instead?
  • by creimer (824291) on Monday November 13, 2006 @04:51PM (#16829556) Homepage
    Wouldn't buying a PS3 be cheaper?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, but its terrible ackward to point with at the meetings.
    • Didn't we just have an article yesterday about this?

      And everyone was blaiming Sony.
    • by ack154 (591432)
      Blue-Ray home theater player availability: now?
      PS3 availability: maybe eventually.
  • by JesseL (107722)
    No pictures of the beam? All we get to see is an aluminum tube that may or may not have anything inside it?
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nietsch (112711) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:09PM (#16829872) Homepage Journal
      Well we are being told that it has a 3 Volt lithium battery in it and a 20 mW blue laser, so we can take guesses how long you can play with this blue laser thingie before the battery runs down.

      Honestly, this is one of the most hollow slashvertisments I have seen in a long time. They are selling something, but we are not told why it is so good to spend 2K on it. My gues is they have bought 0 (zero) BlueRay players and created a mockup so somebody would pay them to take a blueray player apart (and put it's laser into a useless thingie).
      • by sebi (152185)

        It's not like this thing is the most expensive laser they offer. Sure, the whole Blu-ray laser pointer thing is mostly a marketing gag, although I have no idea how it measures up to other blue laser pointers available. But this is a legitimate company selling legitimate* products and judging from the image they created of themselves I'd say that this is exactly the kind of thing they would do.

        My guess (note the second s) is probably not much better than yours, but I am confident that they bought a Blu-ray

    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ignis Flatus (689403) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:14PM (#16829978)
      the wavelength of 405nm is right on the edge of the visible spectrum. i'm not even sure you can display that color on a typical RGB monitor.
      • by dangitman (862676)
        That's a stupid excuse. It could be easily photographed, even if you had to shift the color a little to display on a monitor.
      • by Megane (129182)

        the wavelength of 405nm is right on the edge of the visible spectrum. i'm not even sure you can display that color on a typical RGB monitor.

        Since when is violet not visible? Violet is a shorter wavelength than blue. Next comes ultraviolet.

        Of course you can't display it on a typical RGB monitor, because RGB monitors use combinations of single-color phosphors to trick the eye into thinking it's seeing a wider range of colors.

      • by MasterC (70492)

        the wavelength of 405nm is right on the edge of the visible spectrum. i'm not even sure you can display that color on a typical RGB monitor.

        This depends on your monitor and exactly what frequency "blue" is.

        Perhaps it is sufficient to say that neither the sRGB color space [wikipedia.org] and the Adobe RGB color space [wikipedia.org] support 405 nm (it is outside the superimposed triangle on the CIE 1931 image).

      • by alienw (585907)
        A monitor can't generate a specific wavelength. It has red, green, and blue phosphors/filters that each produce some kind of band of wavelengths. It can trick your eye into seeing a particular color, but it cannot produce monochromatic light.
        • so you're claiming that even the three phosphors are not monochromatic? because if they were, then that'd be three monochromatic colors you could reproduce.
          • by SnowZero (92219)
            Yes. Look at this example [wikipedia.org] of the light frequencies generated by CRT phosphors. It's not all that pure (i.e. a narrow band) when compared to a laser. So, if you are not being particularly stringent, you might say an (non-laser) LED or a phosphor is monochromatic; However if you are comparing it to a coherent light source such as a laser, you wouldn't call it monochromatic.
  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday November 13, 2006 @04:54PM (#16829614) Homepage Journal
    "The cost of a new Blu-ray disc player combined with international shipping, and import taxes raises the cost of obtaining a 405nm diode in China to approximately $1,500." I smell a lie... why don't they go down the street to the Chinese factory churning out these diodes for $5/unit and leave the marketing BS to Sony?
    • by bunions (970377)
      sure, the diode is $5, but the bribes to export significant quantities of them runs around $1450/per.
    • I smell a lie... why don't they go down the street to the Chinese factory churning out these diodes for $5/unit and leave the marketing BS to Sony?

      What makes you think that isn't exactly what they're doing now? They're probably not $5- more like $50/100, especially in single unit quantities...some laser diodes ARE pretty pricey. And then you need a drive circuit, though nothing specific to this type of diode, most likely. I also doubt they're being made in china; South Korea, Japan...maybe Malaysia.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LesPaul75 (571752)
      why don't they ... leave the marketing BS to Sony?
      Well, probably because if they said "The cost of a blue diode from the factory down the street combined with international shipping, and import taxes raises the cost of obtaining a 405nm diode in China to approximately $8," then they would have a hard time selling them for $2000.
    • This just happnes to be what I *do* these days (import from China). I just asked the president of my company about what it'd cost to import a blu-ray DVD player and he tells me it'd be around 2-3%. He also mentioned he's never paid more than 3.5% for anything we import (membrane keypads, circuit assemblies, etc.).

      If you can tell me the harmonized code for the device I can tell you precisely how much it costs to get through customs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tricorn (199664)

      If the best way to get a blue laser diode is from a player, why not pull it from an HD-DVD player instead, as they're selling for a lot cheaper and have the same blue laser in it, right?

      • by inKubus (199753)
        Because "Blue Ray" is what comes out of the laser. Which is why Sony will probably win this one.

  • You fool! (Score:5, Funny)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday November 13, 2006 @04:54PM (#16829622)
    Don't you know that there's a shortage of blue ray laser diodes?! Every diode you have is another PS3 that some poor kid who is willing to spend $600 doesn't have. Won't you think of the children? Or at least your fellow gamer.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      Are you kidding? They are. If I were rich, and if I didn't think Sony was evil (probably, the two would go together) I'd be buying up all the PS3s I could - then I'd put them in a big pile, point a video camera at it, piss on the pile, pour gasoline on it, and set the fucker on fire. Then I'd post the video on YouTube and laugh while thousands of gamers worldwide burst out into tears in their mother's basements.
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 13, 2006 @04:56PM (#16829662) Homepage Journal
    While they don't have any of the blue laser yet, the Wicked Laser Videos [wickedlasers.com] show off their other high-powered products. These things are powerful enough to light a match, blow up a balloon, burn a hole in your drywall, and other fun party tricks. What's cool about it, though, is that the laser is powerful enough to make the backscatter visible. i.e. You can see the beam!

    It's enough to make one wonder: How feasible is a handheld laser weapon? (Say, a few watts?) I realize that the key issue is that the laser does very little damage as it passes through an object. (Actually, it leaves a hole the diameter of the beam. Not very large.) However, I could see the laser rotating through a small arc during fire. That would at least carve out a centimeter or two from the target...
    • Scratch that. There are two videos of blue lasers. Though I can't say if they're the same lasers as advertised in the article.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nos. (179609)

      How feasible is a handheld laser weapon? (Say, a few watts?) I realize that the key issue is that the laser does very little damage as it passes through an object. (Actually, it leaves a hole the diameter of the beam. Not very large.) However, I could see the laser rotating through a small arc during fire. That would at least carve out a centimeter or two from the target

      That's an interesting question. I suppose carving a hole in someone's brain or heart could cause serious problems almost immediately,

      • not if you cut a hole through the part of the brain responsible for 'fighting back'.
      • That's an interesting question. I suppose carving a hole in someone's brain or heart could cause serious problems almost immediately, but if the wound is cauterized as it is made, it may be a relatively ineffective weapon.

        There's a lightsaber joke in here somewhere.

      • by kaoshin (110328)
        "if the wound is cauterized as it is made, it may be a relatively ineffective weapon"

        I'm in a fight with someone who pulls out a real life handheld laser weapon, my least worry is going to be how much I bleed or whether or not I suffer from internal bleeding as opposed to external. I'm going to be slightly worried about getting my nards and/or less important guts sliced by a frickin laser beam!!! There may be reasons why it wouldn't be an effective weapon, but this certainly isn't one of them dude.
    • Warning! (Score:4, Funny)

      by Lethyos (408045) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:12PM (#16829946) Journal

      Do not look directly into laser with remaining eye!

    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      The Wicked Lasers are more powerful than your typical green laser, but most green lasers are bright enough that you can see the beam, but can't do the tricks you see in those (totally sweet) videos. They're great for pointing at stellar objects when out stargazing. Just watch out for airplanes, not just for safety and common sense, but because Homeland Security will come after your sorry ass.
    • weaponization of lasers on the "handheld" scale. The flying "anti-satellite" laser that the DOD has is packed in a commercial-airliner-sized jet, and a good portion of that space is taken up by energy storage. At this point, even vehicle-mounted lasers aren't really practical, even when you're talking about some wheeled vehicle large enough to crate around a generator. In any "man-portable" laser weapon, the difficulty isn't the laser itself, it's carrying around the power storage/generation unit.

      It's possi
      • I only asked about a few watts, not a military grade, anti-tank weapon. :)

        Unfortunately, I don't know enough details about laser weaponry. (Thus my question.) For example, how does the wavelength affect the penetration of the beam? Can the diameter be adjusted to do more damage? How much power is required to actually drill the target rather than totally cauterizing the wound you create? Would spinning the laser help, or would the laser fail to deliver enough power before it's moved off to a cooler spot?

        Hone
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The flying "anti-satellite" laser that the DOD has is packed in a commercial-airliner-sized jet, and a good portion of that space is taken up by energy storage.

        The flying "anti-satellite" laser that the DOD has is packed in a commercial-airliner-sized jet, but a good portion of that space is not taken up by energy storage. It's a chemical laser, which means that it's a system that basically is there to mix some compounds. When they mix, they lase; the output is then simply focussed and aimed. A good por

      • This has got me wondering about Ghostbuster-style backpacks with attached rifles. If you wore either a massive battery or some sort of generator on your back, things could get portable and interesting. If nothing else, you could go after some big cockroaches...
        • If you wore either a massive battery or some sort of generator on your back, things could get portable and interesting.

          Or an unlicensed nuclear accelerator...
      • by bmo (77928)
        " you'd be foiled by the lack of a long enough extension cord."

        Go rent the movie Body Double. There's a scene similar to that, but more interesting.

        To be on topic, this is one of the silliest things I've seen on slashdot. Someone buying one of those would have more money than brains and can't be trusted to not look into the laser with the remaining good eye.

        If you can afford to toss $2k at a lame laser pointer, you can afford $10K for a laser engraver which can actually do something.

        http://www.google.com/ [google.com]
      • Nuclear pumped laser [wikipedia.org]. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzap!
    • by Goaway (82658)
      (Actually, it leaves a hole the diameter of the beam.

      Maybe you should stop getting your information about lasers from comic books, to start with, and actually try to learn how they work.
    • It's enough to make one wonder: How feasible is a handheld laser weapon? (Say, a few watts?)

      The main problem is that the amount of energy required to actually do *damage* with a laser is far greater than the amount of energy required to cause eye damage. If you fire your five-watt laser at an enemy, the reflection off of his reflective belt buckle, buttons on his jacket, or even just his glasses can be enough to damage your eyesight, at least temporarily. But even if that doesn't happen, you'll wind up

  • by maynard (3337) <j DOT maynard DO ... AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 13, 2006 @04:57PM (#16829688) Journal
    ...A $2000 laser pointer which outputs coherent light in the most difficult color spectrum for humans to see. I'll take one and a dozen pet rocks [wikipedia.org], please!
  • by jandrese (485)
    Hmm, for $2000 I could buy 3 PS3s (maybe just 2 off of eBay) and make two crappy laser pointers myself. The term that leaps to mind is "rip off".
  • Nintendo and Microsoft didn't just toss them in a warehouse after all! Ok, but seriously, who would do this kind of thing without some sort of prompting? I mean really, this is just too far fetched not to buy into a conspiracy theory. Come on, I can't even find any information about this China-based Wicked Laser company. Toshiba? Is that you behind the curtain?

    Really now, an independent Blue-Ray laser. For $2000. From China. Nothing suspicious about that!
  • Barely Visible! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Myriad (89793) * <myriad@NosPAm.thebsod.com> on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:02PM (#16829764) Homepage
    Sheesh, this thing is down at 405nm... that's almost at the bottom of the visible spectrum. The funny thing is, that's so low it's not even blue anymore - it's violet!

    Other "blue" lasers are in the range of 473nm. Given the color responsiveness of the eye these already appear darker than their Red and Green cousins even at similar power output. And you can't really get high power blue lasers.

    So given that these are only 20mw and super low on the spectrum, I'd expect these are hardly visible in comparison with other pointers. A unique color, if you can see the damned thing.

    Seems pretty pointless to me really... why would anyone buy one?!

    • by drgonzo59 (747139)
      Hardly visible => The cat/friend/child/self will not avert their eyes immediately and end up with a burnt retina. That is why the infrared lasers are also very dangerous.
  • Spam!!!!!!!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zip0nada (883919)
    Ah!!! Slashdot has been invaded by spammers! since when are we interested in $1,999.99 laser pointers that are made from a $1,000 drive? First of all it's a rip off, and second it's not news. This is an ad in disguise.
    • by Linker3000 (626634) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:27PM (#16830190) Journal
      Humblest Friend,

      My name is Kwame Ebola, attorney at Law and I have been referred to your esteemed self as a person of outstanding character who will help, my client, Mrs A Ohura, Widow of the late Mr Kim Ohura, founder of the highly successful company known as Wei-Kid Lasers. Mr Ohura founded his company not long ago with the aim to take apart fairly cheap laser-based products and use a small quantity of the parts to make something smaller that sells for a lot more money. Mr Ohura's business was very successful with many happy fool^h^h^h^h customers purchasing his noble products.

      Sadly, Mr Ohura suffered an untimely death when his private plane crashed while landing at his personal retreat near the delightful city of Lagos, Nigeria, when the pilot was blinded by a mysterious blue light - possibly due to witchcraft used by a rival company. Mr Ohura left the bulk of his fortune - some FIFTY SIX MILLION DOLLARS and TWENTY-FIVE BLUE LASER DIODES to his, wife, my client, but due to the complex inheritance laws in this country, my client needs a person outside the country to claim the estate to avoid Sony claming the diodes.

      Etc..
  • It's a laser... but it's called sonar... it causes an incredible amount of waste to produce... and serves no purpose?

    Is it a stupidity detector?
  • Yay (Score:2, Funny)

    by lostwars (964935)
    New cat toy! I can't wait to give this to my cat. Plus in most areas its illegal to point lasers at anything that isn't white. Or at least not at airplanes. Its now a federal offense.
  • by RingDev (879105) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:18PM (#16830032) Homepage Journal
    $2k for a laser to show off to your friends.

    $10k for corrected surgery to attempt to salvage vision after someone peeks at the source.

    -Rick
  • $2k laser (Score:5, Funny)

    by neuro.slug (628600) <neuro__@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:26PM (#16830174)
    But can it be mounted on a shark?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by McMoose (961071)
      But can it be mounted on a shark?

      No, but it fits nicely on an ill-tempered sea bass.

  • It stands for "Amazing Misuse of Resources," and this acronym comes from a KDE toy that features little roaming characters on screen.
  • Huh? It would only be unthinkable if they sold these for like $100. What's unthinkable when they purchase ridiculously expensive Blu-ray drives and reuse their lasers in ridiculously expensive products? Is the weird and "unthinkable" part that the lasers can at all be disassembled, or what, exactly?
    • by aiken_d (127097)
      The "unthinkable" is that these morons are apparently disassembling $1500 bluray players rather than $150 OEM PC HD-DVD players, thereby increasing the cost of their product by $1350. Either that, or they're not being entirely honest. Oh, and the beam wouldn't really be visible anyway. So I guess the bottom line is that "unthinkable" comes into this from several different angles, especially on the context of "is this worth spending money on?"
  • Total Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by ivan256 (17499) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:29PM (#16831138)
    From TFA:

    "The cost of the Sonar is mainly due to the high price of laser diodes which are taken from Blu-ray disc players. The cost of a new Blu-ray disc player combined with international shipping, and import taxes raises the cost of obtaining a 405nm diode in China to approximately $1,500."

    Either these guys a clinically stupid, or they're totally full of shit.

    You can buy a brand new, already-imported, Sony BD-RW drive for under $500 according to the PC Connection catalog that is on my desk right now, and you can get a Sony standalone player for $799. They're paying $1500 for them? I bet they making the whole thing up and he's just holding a piece of (poorly) machined aluminum or a regular laser pointer in the picture. It's a ploy to get you to go to their website that you wouldn't have ever heard of otherwise. They priced it at $2k so that nobody would buy one, and they're hoping you'll pick up an overpriced green pointer while you're there.
  • Ugh. What the hell were they thinking calling a laser device "Sonar"? In case anyone here doesn't know (and any geek *should*), 'sonar' refers to the sound-based systems used by various marine vessels, submarines in particular, to navigate and locate other ships. I've also heard it used to refer to bats' natural navigation system. 'Sonar' means Sound Navigation and Ranging. As an ex Submarine Sonar Tech I'm aghast that a supposed tech company would make such a stupid mistake.

    -chris
  • Thank God it's $2,000 for one of those damn things. The intense, blinding blue LEDs are annoying enough so I can't imagine just how annoying a blue laser would be. At least the pricing keeps the average jackass from pointing a Blue Death Ray laser at my eyes at a concert, sports event, or while I'm driving.

    Too bad I can't do anything about how managers will spend their bonus money...(and I know a couple who would love to do their damn Powerpoints with this thing...)
  • Considering you can get the blue lasers out of HD-DVD players for 1/2 the price, this is an incredibly inefficient way to make laser pointers unless the idea is to leach off the Blu-ray brand.

  • Their blue laser pointer [thinkgeek.com] only costs a grand. Of course you don't get the uber-cool titanium alloy and you probably can't burn a hole in someone like you can with the Wicked Laser but if you don't need those cool features you could save yourself a grand on thinkgeek.
  • A lot of Slashdot users are bashing this company because it has created an expensive and sort of pointless product.

    I don't understand why people complain. This product is obviously not intended for Wal*Mart or Best Buy. It's a high-tech gadget designed to appeal to the very same people who would care spending $5,000 on 3D glasses. It was never meant to sell for 179,99. Instead, it's just a nifty gadget and just a fraction of comparable items out there that are overpriced but neat.

    The day everyone will
  • This ranks right up there with burning down a forest because someone wants a spotted owl as a pet, or owning a humvee. I feel sad those who can justify the waste of natural resources for the sake of ego.

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