Originally Posted by CHLChris
Not to hijack the thread, but of course there would be a record of the pilots' voices yelling, "Oh my eyes, what was that flash of light? I think I just got blinded by a laser!!!"
And to get BOTH pilots? Highly unlikely. But I still agree that this is very dangerous stuff. I generally don't like the gov't, though, telling me what I can and cannot buy. I suppose explosives are an exception...
When I saw that they were selling a 1 watt Class IV laser for $200.00, I knew that it would be banned in a very short time. Up until that time the strongest laser that they sold was 200mW, and it cost $2000.00. The cost kept it out of the hands of undesirables. It is too dangerous for untrained people to use. If you shine it in a room and a reflective surface shines the light back into your eye, even with laser glasses, you are blind.
I will have one. I may demonstrate in a controlled environment for others, but the liability of handing it to someone is far too great. One mistake and you are blind, intentional or not.
Now with that said, next year they are planning on selling a 100watt laser, for the same amount of money. I am sure the misuse of the 1 watt will doom the 100 watt even before it is marketed. Too bad because in the right hands they could be quite useful.
After the initial sales pitch, they (Wicked Lasers) realized that a 1 watt laser is too dangerous. To make it safer, they ship it with a greatly diffused colminator lens. In addition there is now a complex power up sequence (an electronic combination lock) that prevents it from reaching full power. It only starts in a "practice mode" that is a low power, and not tightly focused. There are instructions on how to change the focus, and the power, but someone will not be able to pick one up and flip a switch and have a tightly focused 1 watt output.
Is it dangerous? Probably. But the beam is visible, and will always point back to the source. I doubt anyone could use it dangerously and not get found, and the jail time would be significant. Any misuse would probably constitute a Felony.
The one that I ordered has been at US Customs since 10/4. I am curious to see how many make it to their owners. Judging by the published serial numbers, 20,000 have been ordered. I predict an epidemic of blindness from the untrained use of these devices.