Laser Safety News

Laser Safety News and Events

 


Update - 05 November 2019

 

Can someone use a laser to hack into your Google assistant, Amazon Alexa, Facebook Portal, and Apple Siri? Can they do it through a glass window? From as far as a laser can point? Why YES!

Apparently, with some laboratory knowledge of converting voice commands to laser pulses, all access might be enabled if a voice-controlled system is within laser line-of-sight! All access includes unlocking doors, opening garages, opening web pages, and ordering things online. Please put on your spy-versus-spy spectacles and enjoy this month’s News highlight of some enlightening DARPA research.

 


Update - 03 January 2018

 

Authorities in Great Britain are ready to take a bite out of irresponsible or malicious laser use. New criminal penalties include fines without limit and years of jail time. The expansion doesn’t stop with aircraft. Trains, buses, boats, hovercraft are all included. Under this new code, malicious and irresponsible use will not be differentiated! Know your systems and know the hazards (LHA). Keep your inventory close and up to date (I help you with that annually). Keep it clear from children or others who may get themselves into mischief. Finally, for everyone’s safety, and to keep yourself out of the slammer, never point an ANSI controlled laser at another person or vehicle without applying LSO reviewed Operational Risk Management (ORM) and a strict Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

 


Update - 09 November 2017

 

Might we have lasers integrated into our own organic matrix someday? Doesn’t look like lasers that come out of our fingertips or eyes will be reality anytime too soon, but with the help of some sapphire, silicone, and crafty manufacturing, organic compounds are demonstrating perhaps surprising suitability as a lasing medium. Great thanks to LT Todd Coursey, a NPS student of the Combat Systems Program Office in Physics who noted a quick review of the organic compound research coming out of the Kyushu University's Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics Research in Japan.

 


Update - 31 JULY 2017

 

The capability to silently and efficiently project energy and power over a large distance with a laser makes it an attractive technology for military applications. But a weapon without a “bang” can prove challenging in its own way. Operators are so accustomed to the sounds of a weapon, that it has been noted as a deficiency, at least for operators of a truck that automatically shoots down flying target in development by Boeing. Of course, sounds can be added, but what should a laser sound like?

 


Update - 31 MAY 2017

 

What is the deal with the variance of the Laser Safety Signs? The winds of change have shaped these beacons several times, resulting in today’s cacophony. Here are some good illustrations and explanations of how we got to now. Expect all new NPS systems to be held to 2014 standards, and we’ll look to update the old systems as opportunity presents.

 


Update - 13 APR 2017

 

Sure, the jokes about the lasers on sharks get old, but how about shining lasers at dinosaurs?  Researchers at the University of Hong Kong realized they could uncover the body shape and texture of a small, feathered dinosaur named Psittacosaurus.  To see this extraordinary work either check out the original publication, or this review from PBS.

 


 

Update - 4 APR 2017

 

Web-based laser safety data has been established with photo and hyperlinks to commercial laser safety information that reflects FDA and ANSI standards.  New laser safety labels have been proposed with the added links.  The proposed additions and links promote standardization and efficiency of information delivery and flow.

 

The new labels look like this:

3R

 

The links lead to Class specific data about that laser system.  The links for the common laser classes are below, please take a look!

 


Update - 29 MAR 2017

Ever wonder if Laser Safety has gone too far and actually inhibits progress more than enable it?  Well one case where it has literally gone to the birds has been revealed by a Stanford Mechanical Engineering study that trained a parrot to fly through a sheet of particles illuminated by a laser to reveal the secrets of the aerodynamics of flapping wings.  In order to properly provide Laser Safety controls called for by ANSI Z136.1, small goggles were manufactured to protect the parrots vision.  For videos of the beautiful field flows and a few peeks at how adorable and nerdy Laser Eye Protection (LEP) makes a parrot, see the Wired article from 5 December written by Liat Clark.  Hard to argue that even the birds would view this as progress.

 


Update - 23 FEB 2017

Overpowered laser pointers continue the trend of becoming more available, more powerful, and more insidious. Not only are these devices being found on internet auction sites, but they may able to be delivered in 2 hours in some market areas by fast online retailers. Technology of solid state systems enable household batteries to produce up to 1,000 mW of laser power, more than 200x above the limit of temporary vision impairment, and 1000x over the limit of continuous safe operation. Perhaps most worrisome is invisible laser wavelengths may be present in the beam with the visible wavelengths, adding unseen energy to what may appear to be a dim source. LaserToday captures these points in this article.

  • Purchase laser pointers from reputable sources.
  • Look for certification or guarantee they are <5mW total.
  • Look for Class 2 (<1.0 mW) or Class 3R (<5.0 mW) labeling. Choose Class 2 for safety if there’s an option.
  • Avoid Class 3B and Class 4. These are above safe limits. These lasers are restricted at NPS and not authorized without a permit.
  • Get piece of mind that you and your audience are safe! The NPS Laser System Safety Officer will test and classify a laser pointer if desired. Call Scott Giles at x7568 to get a turn on the calibrated NPS power meter

 


Update - 7 Dec 2016

Ever wonder if Laser Safety has gone too far and actually inhibits progress more than enable it?  Well one case where it has literally gone to the birds has been revealed by a Stanford Mechanical Engineering study that trained a parrot to fly through a sheet of particles illuminated by a laser to reveal the secrets of the aerodynamics of flapping wings.  In order to properly provide Laser Safety controls called for by ANSI Z136.1, small goggles were manufactured to protect the parrots vision.  For videos of the beautiful field flows and a few peeks at how adorable and nerdy Laser Eye Protection (LEP) makes a parrot, see the Wired article from 5 December written by Liat Clark.  Hard to argue that even the birds would view this as progress.

 


Update - 1 NOV 2016

Rail guns and Lasers headline Ronald O’Rourke’s Congressional Research Service review article 21OCT16.

 

Navy Lasers claim two major advantages in the short range – depth of magazine, and cost exchange ratio.  Both emerging technologies offer considerable advantages over explosive charges in these areas.  The cost of firing a fully installed Navy laser round is $1, which is the cost of the fuel to generate the energy.  Rail Gun projectiles might cost about $25k/each. 

 

The facts and figures of the entire Navy Solid State Laser program are concisely presented in about 8 pages here.

 


Update - 12 SEPT 2016

This month a quick review of the ANSI standards that may be encountered and implemented here at NPS.

All volumes are available from the LSSO at x7568, Ha285.

 

ANSI Z163.1-2014, Safe Use of Lasers

ANSI Z163.2-2012, Safe Use of Optical Fiber Communications Systems Utilizing Laser Diodes and LED Sources

ANSI Z163.5-2009, Safe Use of Lasers in Educational Institutions

ANSI Z136.6-2015, Safe Use of Lasers Outdoors

ANSI Z136.8-2012, Safe Use of Lasers Research, Development, and Testing

 

While the Navy specifically cites ANSI Z136.1 for the Laser Safety Program, DoD guidance advises consulting all the ANSI standards where Service, ANSI Z136.1, or Command guidance is silent.  NPS has referenced all of the above standards at one time or another for various operations and experiments.  If you have any questions about how your laser system can best be managed, or would like to peruse any of these standards (they are difficult to find freely sourced and cost about $100 each from ANSI) drop by or call on the NPS LSSO.

 


Update - 1 AUG 2016

While here at NPS we sometimes struggle with control requirements for the safe operations of lasers, particularly outdoors, the F-35 leads by example. With an advertised 33km hazard zone for aided viewing (like binoculars), and 9km Nominal Hazard Zone for naked eye, our defense partners wonder if they’ll be making frequent trips to isolated US test ranges to exercise their new equipment.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/08/01/f35_electro_optical_targeting_system_laser_cant_used_uk/


Update - 30 JUN 2016

One of the first elements we consider in any ORM analysis is the task of Identifying the Hazards. How this is accomplished can be critical to establishing objective, repeatable, standardized, and comparable results. This month, take a moment to review the fundamentals that codify Navy Laser Hazard evaluations and formalize Navy application of the ANSI standards. This documented has now notched 10 years as the foundation for nearly all aspects of the Navy Laser Safety Program and is an excellent review of the Navy laser hazard evaluation process.


Update - 3 JUN 2016

Laser communications in space have reached a higher technological readiness level as the European Data Relay System has demonstrated the first 1.8Gbit/sec laser data relay across 35,000 km of near earth space.  The bandwidth of space-based laser relays is claimed to enable 50TB of imagery a day, enabling near review of very high resolution satellite imagery in nearly real time.

http://phys.org/news/2016-06-european-relay-laser-image.html


Update - 12 MAY 2016

What happens when Lasers are applied to Lithium Batteries?  This May, an extra special news event as two of NPS’s favorite research elements are paired to laser generate 3D capillary battery architectures where researchers achieve large energy capacities while maintaining high power densities at the same time.


Update - 31 MAR 2016

A novel Laser application:

Laser technology employed in Marin Open Space Lands to deter speeding of Equestrians, Mountain Bikers, and Pedestrians.

http://patch.com/california/millvalley/lidar-technology-deployed-marin-stop-speeding-open-space-lands


Update – 8 MAR 2016

Laser Safety continues to make headlines across the world.  The availability of potentially hazardous lasers, particularly when directed at aircraft, has created a risk that has motivated some to seek a ban on possessing them.  On 15 FEB, Virgin Atlantic Fligth 025 was forced to return for landing after getting lased at 8000’ on climb out.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/pilots-call-laser-ban-after-7377077


Update - 26 JAN 2016

11th Department of Energy Laser Safety Officer Workshop will take place at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory on 09/27/16 – 09/29/16. 

The Department of Energy LSO Workshop is for individuals with laser safety responsibility and interest in a research or academic setting who want to update and expand their knowledge. It features presentations on current laser applications, and associated laser safety issues and solutions.  The workshop also serves as the official annual meeting of the U.S. Department of Energy Laser Safety Task Group (DOE - EFCOG). 

The Board of Laser Safety will offer its Certified Laser Safety Officer (CLSO) and examinations prior to the workshop on Monday, September 26th.


Update - 4 JAN 2016

Happy New Year!  Here’s a great link to the FDA’s 2016 Laser Pointer and Toy Laser Safety Video: