The unbearable lightness of gadgets

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People say that money makes the world go around—I couldn’t disagree more. What makes the world go around? Light makes the world go around. Think about how much of what we rely on everyday depends on light: radios, the Internet, discos . Without our mastery of light, we’d be stuck in the dark ages. Literally.

There are many different “flavors” of light: white, ultraviolet, strawberry twist . While they have different purposes and uses, one thing remains true of them all: They are delicious .

On this week’s installment of Gadgetbox, we’ll be taking a look at three examples of harnessing light for our purposes. See how that wonderful luminescence can clean off even the peskiest stains, incapacitate potential threats, and even power your favorite peripherals.

OxiClean, eat your heart out

Things get dirty; it’s a fact of life. Some of them are easier to clean than others, but for that really tough stuck-on grease, there’s only one real answer: frickin’ lasers .

Clean Lasersysteme is the self-proclaimed “worldwide leaders in laser beam cleaning technology,” and I see no reason to doubt them, given that they have a $53,700 backpack cleaning laser and I do not. The pack uses a focused 20W laser to remove difficult stains by firing thousands of pulses at the target per second. Stains stand little chance against your friend and mine, radiation.

You may think that this is overkill for around the house usage, and, well, you’d be right. The laser cleaning system is designed for use in industrial processes like de-greasing surfaces prior to welding and cleaning vulcanizing molds and tools. Of course, if you happen to have those kinds of materials just lying around the garden shed, then not only is this gadget for you, but you’re a very scary individual whom I really don’t want to meet.

Finally, I’d just like to commend the marketing genius who came up with the slogan: “Laser beam cleaning technology—the gentle cleaning process.” You, sir or madam, have great things ahead of you.

[via Gizmodo ]

Flashlights: No longer just pretend lightsabers

It might seem obvious that if light can be harnessed to eradicate the toughest stains known to man that it can also be used to cause immense damage to people and things. But is there a way we can use light to cause less damage?

The Department of Homeland Security is so very glad that you asked. They’ve commissioned Intelligent Optical Systems to design a non-lethal weapon and the company has delivered. The device shoots pulses of light from an array of LEDs which, in an ideal situation, nauseate a target subject, or even induce vomiting.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having a badly-designed ceiling fan/overhead light combination, you may have had experienced the effects that this flashlight is attempting to cause.

Of course the weapon is far from foolproof; its effectiveness can be mitigated by rare factors such as daylight, closing your eyes, and running away. Still, there are no doubt some circumstances in which having a flashlight that can make people throw up could be YouTube-worthy crucial.

[via Engadget ]

Serve this mouse sunny side up

When it comes to light, nothing beats the sun. As Messrs. Linnell and Flansburgh memorably sang: “here on earth there’d be no life / Without the light it gives.” But not only can the sun provide us with much-needed heat and light for our own benefit, it can also do wonders for other things that you may not have considered.

Like, say, a computer mouse.

Researchers at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (a land fueled entirely by tulips and sunshine) have been working on a mouse that can be powered by solar energy. The Sole Mio, as it’s dubbed, features photovoltaic cells that would hopefully obviate the need for several hundred million batteries annually.

Unfortunately, there are some kinks to overcome. For one thing, many computer users aren’t working in direct sunlight, and while some amount of charge can be derived from artificial lighting, the cells are really designed for solar energy. That would likely require changing computer users’ habits to allow for time spent not using the computer. And let’s be frank: it would probably be easier to make the sun shine indoors than get computer users to change their habits, so let’s get on that.

[via Digital World ]

I see by the height of that mass of incandescent gas in the sky that it’s time for me to draw yet another installment of Gadgetbox to a close. See you next week.

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