Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Shark Technology

New Real Life Laser-Rifle Cuts Through Metal Like a Blowtorch 143

Posted by samzenpus
from the like-a-hot-knife-through-butter dept.
dryriver writes "We've seen real laser guns before pulling off tricks like starting small fires, or popping black balloons. That's cool, sure, but it's got nothing—on this handheld laser rifle. Developed by TWI this laser-cutter was initially designed for use by robots, but a few recent tweaks including a pistol-grip and a trigger made it into a human-sized rifle. It is designed specifically with nuclear decommission in mind, specifically chopping up huge pieces of metal infrastructure into bite-sized bits that are easily disposed of. And while it's definitely suited for that, it has some short-comings compared typical rifles. That range is pretty low, for instance, and it's not exactly mobile."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Real Life Laser-Rifle Cuts Through Metal Like a Blowtorch

Comments Filter:
  • by peragrin (659227) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @11:53AM (#44986127)

    WE don't have high energy portable power sources.

    We really need to figure out an iron many style reactor to power the next generation of cool toys that we can dream but not really use.

    • by TeknoHog (164938) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:05PM (#44986193) Homepage Journal

      WE don't have high energy portable power sources.

      We really need to figure out an iron many style reactor to power the next generation of cool toys that we can dream but not really use.

      Also, it should be able to operate in frickin' saltwater. In fact, the frickin' buoyancy might even help with the frickin' portability.

      • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:16PM (#44986253)

        Jarvis and the reactor were the two most under-rated bits of tech Tony put together.

        The reactor would have ended war.

        But Jarvis... a real AI? That's far beyond anything else we've ever built.

        • "End war"? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sjbe (173966) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @01:25PM (#44986653)

          The reactor would have ended war.

          Nonsense. People simply aren't that evolved. If we aren't fighting about energy we'll fight about something even more absurd like skin color or which imaginary invisible man in the sky we should all believe in.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by fustakrakich (1673220)

            Wanna start a real fight? Tell her that dress makes her butt look big. That will surely start WWIII.

            • by Belial6 (794905)
              I've found exactly the opposite. Tell her that it isn't the dress that is making her butt look big. That will start a fight. Telling a woman that her dress is ugly is like telling her that her dress is stuck in the back of her nylons. If you are not a jerk about it, she will appreciate it.
              • As a very happily married man with a wife whose posterior is quite round, I'm continually confused by the prevalence of jokes about big butts which assign a negative value to that trait. Apparently, many women think most men want to date twigs.

                • by Kilo Kilo (2837521) on Monday September 30, 2013 @06:34AM (#44990635)
                  I think you meant to say "I like big butts and I cannot lie."
                • by Belial6 (794905)
                  Big and round are orthogonal.
                  • I happen to like the combination of both, which I assure you exists. Maybe you don't get out often enough.

                    • by Belial6 (794905)
                      It seems you don't know what orthogonal means.
                    • orthogonal - 1. of or involving right angles; at right angles. 2. (of variates) statistically independent.

                      There aren't many right angles in the posteriors I admire, and their size and roundness are anything but independent.

                    • by Belial6 (794905)
                      Untrue. There are plenty of big butts can be round or flat, as can small ones. Perhaps YOU should get out more. ;)
                    • I'll freely admit to the possibility that my dominant visual processing scheme includes automation rejection of unsuitable posteriors :)

          • Exactly. Like the rare materials needed to build these reactors.

          • by Culture20 (968837)
            Sue Richards is the Invisible Woman, not Man. Although her brother Johnny did have her powers for a while as a herald of Galactus.
          • I'd like to think you have that backwards: fighting over silly things like skin colour and sky fairies is just a cover for fighting over even sillier things like land, fresh water and oil.
            • Humans have been fighting with each other since there were enough people to chose sides. Beating each other the head with clubs to win the bigger cave and prettier women. Today the fights are pretty much the same except for much better weapons.

              • Humans have been faced with life threatening scarcity for all of history up to present day. I don't think anyone knows what will happen when literally everyone can trivially have plenty of food, clean water, and energy very cheaply. If and when it happens, there is no doubt that it will change many things.
            • by TubeSteak (669689)

              I'd like to think you have that backwards: fighting over silly things like skin colour and sky fairies is just a cover for fighting over even sillier things like land, fresh water and oil.

              If energy is cheap and plentiful, things like clean water and fuel are a lot easier to make.
              Arable land is also less of a problem when cheap energy can be used to make fertilizer.

              • by sjbe (173966)

                If energy is cheap and plentiful, things like clean water and fuel are a lot easier to make.

                Depends on how clean the energy source is.

                Arable land is also less of a problem when cheap energy can be used to make fertilizer.

                Arable land is less of a problem though there is a finite amount of it and not all of it can be used no matter how much energy you have. Access to fresh water remains a problem which is somewhat alleviated by energy availability. Excess use of fertilizers are a problem all their own. Petroleum based fertilizers (which most are) are a serious pollutant and no amount of cheap energy will make them less of one. Like fossil fuels used to power equipment they have a b

      • by Subm (79417) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:18PM (#44986259)

        "You're going to need a bigger shark."

      • I see where you're going with this.

    • by pollarda (632730) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:16PM (#44986251)
      This isn't very impressive. If it isn't mobile, then it is like any other cutting solution. Of course, if you want to see something really impressive for cutting metals, Petrogen [petrogen.com] is the way to go. It is an oxy-gasoline cutting torch and can cut up to 14 inches of steel at once. Be sure to check out their videos. Super impressive.
    • by godrik (1287354) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @03:46PM (#44987447)

      Actually, how much power does it need to operate? There must be some energy cost per time unit. But I could not figure it out.

    • by fa2k (881632)

      Maybe now that there's a demonstrable military use we will finally see some breakthroughs in the energy storage business. [don't really think it's that bad, but it had to be said]

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      what do you call "high energy"? we have 3.5 kW generators that weigh less than 50 lbs. Imagine charging cycle of twenty seconds followed by firing for one second....

    • by Optali (809880)

      Besides the portable energy source another important thing that needs to be figured out is how to make a sword of it. A rifle is not cool at all. We need swords.
      And if possible before Disney churns out any Star Wars Pre-Post-Interquel so that we have something to retaliate with.

  • handheld rifle (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ...but truck-sized power supply. Just in case the Space Patrol thinks this is Star Trek. Plus, the atmosphere is a great shield; a 1$ bullet has more lethal range...
  • Pulse Rifle (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:02PM (#44986179) Journal

    "Phased-plasma pulse rifle in 40-watt range".

    If only...

    • by pr100 (653298)

      Hey, just what you see pal.

    • by torsmo (1301691)
      At the end of that cool video, just for an instant, I thought it listed Paris Hilton as the person to contact for inquiries. Turned out, it was a Paul Hilton. Would've been fun, wouldn't it?
    • by kimgkimg (957949)
      Hey just what you see on the shelf buddy.
  • Safety at Work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainOfSpray (1229754) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:02PM (#44986181)
    "designed specifically with nuclear decommission in mind, specifically chopping up huge pieces of metal infrastructure into bite-sized bits", which it vaporizes and then throws all over the operator (photo in TFA).

    Note to self: do not apply for that kind of work, no matter what the rate.
    • Re:Safety at Work (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:19PM (#44986271) Journal
      I'm a trifle surprised that they'd be using some fancy laser apparatus in this situation:

      There are aspects of nuclear decommissioning (if memory serves, some lucky sucker got to deal with the 'eh, we don't know what this is, so we'll just weld it into barrels and leave it for the future' supply stored at Hanford, much of which was virulently radioactive, some, which one is always a surprise, also chemically unpleasant and/or explosive) where you can't get away with the heat, open flames, and vaporized-bits-getting everywhere that you see with lasers, various cutting torches, or high powered saws. For that sort of thing, you have somewhat exotic toys like liquid nitrogen cutting jets. If you are allowed to expose the sample to ridiculous temperatures and open flames, though, why expensive lasers rather than boring (and mature and relatively cheap) cutting torches or thermic lances?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        What is wrong with cutting stuff the way people handle cutting easily work-hardened materials? That generally means submersing it in water and using very normal, cheap, boring tools like angle grinders and sawsalls.

        Not everything demands six digit priced tools and years of research to get done.

      • I don't know about you, but my first thought was, dang, that would be useful in Payday 2 [youtube.com]. It takes forever to drill into a vault.
      • If you are allowed to expose the sample to ridiculous temperatures and open flames, though, why expensive lasers rather than boring (and mature and relatively cheap) cutting torches or thermic lances?

        Because they're freakin' laser beams! It's awesome!

        • If you are allowed to expose the sample to ridiculous temperatures and open flames, though, why expensive lasers rather than boring (and mature and relatively cheap) cutting torches or thermic lances?

          Because they're freakin' laser beams! It's awesome!

          THIS.

          and maybe because there's something problematic about delivering and burning an oxidant and fuel in the intended environment.
          but mostly, it's just awesome. freakin' laser beams, hand-held, and with a squeeze trigger. I'd stand in line to try that sucker out.

      • If you are allowed to expose the sample to ridiculous temperatures and open flames, though, why expensive lasers rather than boring (and mature and relatively cheap) cutting torches or thermic lances?

        Possibly because focused light energy can't become radioactive with prolonged contact with radioactive substances, whereas everything else you mentioned... does. Everything you use to handle nuclear waste materials with, itself eventually becomes nuclear waste material. I'm sure slashdot of all places will recognize a recursion problem when it sees one. Even putting a few feet between the torch and the material extends its service life before it has to be thrown in with the other waste... root square law an

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Neither does a flame... Why are your posts always so wrong? Eagerly wrong too.
          • Yes, she is wrong, but your post adds little to the discussion. I suppose the flame would have to be closer, but then a cutting torch is cheaper. Perhaps it has to do with the distance between the operator and the radioactive stuff.

    • Re:Safety at Work (Score:4, Informative)

      by flimflammer (956759) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @02:22PM (#44987011)

      The robotic version was made for nuclear decommission. There is no operator in the vicinity in that situation. The video here is just demonstrating the same laser beam technology with a mounted pistol grip for manual use.

    • I guess the question is in terms of "thowing whatever it is that is being cut up arround" is this better or worse than more traditional soloutions like cutting discs, thermal lances, plasma cutters and so-on.

  • by overshoot (39700) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:06PM (#44986197)
    I do need (semi) portability, as long as it's good for line-of-sight use on pigeons.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:06PM (#44986201)

    I find it hard to call this a "laser rifle." Aside fromt he fact that rifles are rifles because of the rifling in the barrel (grooves which cause the bullet to spin), Rifles have a medium to long range. This appears to have only a slightly greater effective range then my Oxy-Fuel torch (which is to say, less then a foot).

    • Indeed, my friends and I have wondered what the term for rifle-sized lasers will be, since they don't actually have any rifling.

      Probably rifle, the same way we still use a 3.5" disk for the save icon and the rotary handset icon for "make a call".

    • by wjh31 (1372867)
      If the light was circularly polarized, would that cover rifling for you?
    • I find it hard to call this a "laser rifle." Aside fromt he fact that rifles are rifles because of the rifling in the barrel (grooves which cause the bullet to spin), Rifles have a medium to long range. This appears to have only a slightly greater effective range then my Oxy-Fuel torch (which is to say, less then a foot).

      It looks like it'd be simple to move the lens and refocus the beam further away. Then the blower to get the debris out of the way wouldn't work though. And it'd probably also be really hard to keep the thing on target. I can't even hold a little laser pointer without looking like a spaz.

      • by leuk_he (194174)

        Wouldn't cause reflection on a real parralel laser (without some focus point) cause bit problem...

        Some reflection.... oops there goo all the camera's on the site...

        Some reflection ... I hope you were not to attached to that arm of yours...

        • by Chrontius (654879)
          That's why he's wearing the entry suit and the laser lenses.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          A lot of systems use a focusing beam shape in part so that the highest intensity part of the beam is not limited by what the optics can do. Even high quality optics will easily get damaged by a laser beam that is a little too small or focused (or in real life scenarios, slightly uneven with a hot spot), so you use a large beam until you actually want it to cut something. Even then, depending on the optics you use, there is a limit to how far it will stay parallel-ish (if you had a ~1 mm beam, you would st
    • They'd be pretty stupid to have a columnated beam that went cuts anywhere along it's length, with only attenuation being the limiting factor. I suspect it's deliberately designed with a short focal length so that it's easy to keep objects at the focus of the beam, and to make it more efficient / less dangerous.

      Gotta love how pedantic comments like yours get modded up on /.

    • by jon3k (691256)
      If it cuts metal in seconds at one foot, I wonder what it does at 100 feet to a person? The real problem is the power supply, of course.
    • I was thinking the same thing. I can't really find any reason to rifle the barrel of a laser device.

  • A solution to deal with all those Sectoids infesting rural plots in middle America!
  • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:47PM (#44986407) Homepage

    The only one I can see is that it works from a couple inches away, and doesn't need an electrical ground return connection to the workpiece.

    Other than that, a plasma cutter is cheaper, less hazardous, and can cut thicker materials.

  • When can I print one?

  • I for one wel--- BZZZZZAP

  • Introducing the new Ginsu 3000W, it can slice a watermelon AND cut a tomato with grace and ease!*

    *not dishwasher safe

  • Looks like it uses a gas stream as a laser waveguide... Perhaps a noble gas, like Argon. That would account why there appears to be a force upon the melted debris.

    • by Kiraxa (1840002)

      Looks like it uses a gas stream as a laser waveguide... Perhaps a noble gas, like Argon. That would account why there appears to be a force upon the melted debris.

      if you listen to the narrator he says exactly what the "gas stream" is. Air. Its just blowing air out to move the slag out of the way.

  • A blowtorch can't cut metal. Maybe they mean cutting torches?

  • I want one!!!

  • by mpoulton (689851) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @02:57PM (#44987191)
    Apparently I already have a plasma rifle in my garage! It shoots plasma and cuts metal with it - and just like this laser rifle, it requires compressed air and a remote power supply connected by an umbilical. I also have a MOLTEN METAL WELDING RIFLE! Similarly, it requires a power supply and umbilical assembly. Strangely, none of my actual rifles need cables or power supplies attached to them in order to operate.
  • it's slower than a reciprocating saw...
  • by giorgist (1208992) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @04:50PM (#44987709)
    Hand aimed would be more accurate. The harness is bit of a giveaway. I wonder what that piping attaches to. Nice toy though
  • Atomic hydrogen torches have been around since the 1940s... here's a GE training film about them [youtube.com]. They produce insane amounts of heat and a reducing atmosphere, perfect for cutting almost anything.

  • Send in Giant Robot armed with this to neutralize the place

    Seriously, about time the stuff there was made sub critical. We can't keep cooling it forever.

  • Reality catches up to science fiction... the Thunderbirds episode 'PATH OF DESTRUCTION' had International Rescue using handheld laser cutters to cut into the cabin of the mighty Crablogger. That was back in 1965.
  • This may be a naive question, but why do the sparks blow off away from the gun? Is there also a stream of air from the gun specifically to do this? Or is it just how the physics works when the laser hits the metal?
  • I've always wondered why a chem laser system isn't used. Each cartridge would contain the chems.. sure, it would need expensive amo, but it's a start.

    But as far as for warfare, I think we should go back to single load non-rifled muskets, knives, and wind power on ocean only for war ships. Make war like it should be - face to face and increatable hardships before you even enter battle. Demand absolute best medical care free of charge for the rest of their lives to anyone injured. On societies tab. I'm talkin

  • Guns are so fucking cool, right? Let's keep salivating over them in all their forms.

    Technology assholes.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

Working...