Celebrating 50 Years of Laser


It was on May 16, 1960 that Huges Lab researcher Theodore Maiman built the world's first laser using a flash lamp to simulate a pink ruby rod. Now 50 years later, lasers have become a prominent fixture in every day life. Here's a quick look at some of the lasers hits and misses.

  • Back before Val Kilmer largely fell off the acting radar, he starred in a movie called Real Genius as a laid back college student working on a chemical laser. In the final seen, Kilmer and fellow students fill their corrupt professor's house with a huge tin of popcorn and pop it using a laser, which fills the entire home. Sure, Mythbusters went on to debunk the possibility of something like this happening in real life, but the original scene is no less awesome, or memorable. Watch the clip here .
  • Sharks with fricken' lasers attached to their heads - nuff said.
  • Anyone remember Kenwood's 72X TrueX optical drive? We do, and we named it one of the top 10 tech blunders because of its high failure rate, disappointing speeds, and poor media compatibility. The technology seemed promising at the time, which took a normal red laser diode and sent it through a diffraction grating splitting it into seven parts, but the technology just couldn't live up to the hype.
  • In late 2008, Microsoft took blue lasers mainstream with its Sidewinder X8 mouse. Our verdict? A disappointing 5. Read the review here .
  • So we weren't overly impressed with Microsoft's X8, but we absolutely loved (and still do) Logitech's G9x, the only rodent we've ever awarded with a perfect 10 verdict. The G9x replaces the original G9's 3,200dpi laser sensor with a 5,000dpi laser senor, resulting in ultra-sensitive movement when you need it. Read the review here .
So where lasers go from here? Time will only tell, but here's to another 50 years of awesome innovation (and wacky Hollywood portrayals).

Image Credit: plaza.ulf.edu

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