Posts Tagged ‘spyder’

Wicked’s Inferno isn’t exactly a lightsaber, but who cares

January 3rd, 2014 No comments

Inferno laser

You won’t get a glowing blade, but the Inferno gets more exciting with the lights off.

Tim Hornyak/CNET)

I’ve always wanted a lightsaber. It would come in mighty handy in a zombie apocalypse, robot uprising, or alien invasion.

There are many gimmicky toys out there that attempt to emulate the signature “Star Wars” weapon, and Wicked Lasers’ Spyder series of handheld lasers truly look the part.

Wicked recently released the Inferno and Lunar additions to its Spyder lineup, and I had a chance to fool around with them.

The units themselves resemble lightsaber handles and are made of tough, aircraft-grade aluminum. The metal is cool to the touch and has remarkable heft.

When you turn them on, they don’t produce a light blade that can cut through anything, but they do emit powerful lasers that can be seen from very far away.

That’s especially true of the Inferno, which is billed as the world’s most powerful handheld red laser. It shines a 750-milliwatt light and has a beam distance of nearly 5 miles at 0.25 lux, roughly equivalent to light from a full moon on a clear night.

While not as powerful as Wicked’s blue-light 2-watt Spyder Arctic laser, the Inferno is extremely bright when activated. It can light up a small room or send a strong beam to illuminate a dark patch of wilderness.

It’s a Class 4 laser product, meaning it can be quite harmful, so you don’t want to aim it at anyone or anything, of course, especially aircraft.

There are all kinds of tricks laymen can try with one of these things, such as igniting matches, popping balloons, or reflecting the light through a series of mirrors. Once you get the hang of how to turn the lasers on (there’s a button-pushing sequence to prevent unauthorized use) and handle them safely, they’re almost as much fun as moving objects with the Force.

I contented myself with some laser photography, setting my dSLR shutter speed to 3 seconds, killing the lights, and then “drawing” in the air with the Inferno during the long exposure. One of the results is below.

Inferno laser

The Inferno can draw in the air with long-exposure photography.

Tim Hornyak/CNET)

The Lunar laser, meanwhile, is shorter and lighter than the Inferno and fires a purple light at 400 milliwatts. Its beam is much weaker than the Inferno’s (it’s a Class 3B product) and appears more like softly glowing neon than a laser beam.

Still, it has a beam distance of 7 miles at 0.25 lux, which could be useful for signalling.

Both the Inferno and the Lunar have nine modes including constant wave, strobe, and SOS. Wicked sells them for about $400 and $300, respectively, and they come with safety glasses, holsters, and rechargeable Panasonic batteries.

Would you buy one of these things? If so, what would you use it for?

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Arrow: A four-wheeled ‘fighter jet’ for the road (Q&A)

December 31st, 2013 No comments

Charles Bombardier Arrow

Charles Bombardier’s Arrow is a concept design for weekend escapes.

Charles Bombardier)

What if your main occupation was dreaming up fanciful, futuristic concept vehicles? If your name is Charles Bombardier, that’s exactly what you do.

The scion of Canada’s Bombardier, which manufactures planes and trains, Charles Bombardier recently showed off designs for his Arrow concept
car, an electric two-seater that looks like a retro racing car.

It’s designed with a torpedo-shaped body and “a cockpit that opens up like a fighter jet to reveal tandem seats.”

Bombardier came up with the Arrow concept as a cool commuter vehicle that can also be used for weekend escapes.

A 30-kilowatt, liquid-cooled, double-sided synchronous motor in the rear would be powered by lithium-air batteries, which would have a range target of over 370 miles.

Based in Montreal, Quebec, Bombardier runs a concept vehicle design studio. He isn’t focused on actually seeing his ideas realized, but he has dreamed up dozens of interesting concept designs. I was intrigued by his work and wanted to ask about his motivation. The following is a lightly edited transcript.

Q:What was the inspiration for the Arrow? Where do you get most of your ideas?
Bombardier: Recently, I went to visit an RD shop in California which makes personal watercraft that also double as semi-submersibles. They inspired me to create the Arrow concept. I also plan to use their frame for a eventual prototype.

What concept vehicles are you most proud of among your creations, and why? How do you produce the artwork?

Bombardier: I really like all of them! I work with various designers from around the world to create my concepts and they use different methods to create all these fantastic images. Some use complex 3D rendering software, others draw by hand.

A dream job dreaming up future vehicles (pictures)

You certainly have some unusual ideas, with stretching cars, motorized surfboards, and space scooters. Why did you want to purse ideas that may be seen as impractical?
Bombardier: I think it’s always good to dream a little about the future, it helps you generate ideas that will lead to short and medium term innovations. It also serves to spark the imagination and inspire other people to think and create on their own.

Have any of your concepts been realized, as prototypes or production units?

Bombardier: I worked on my concept at BRP that where produced (Traxter XL, Ski-Doo Elite, Can-Am Spyder). On my own I built various prototypes (the ZEUS, the Sierra, the B4) but in the short term, I am not planning to produce any units, I prefer to focus on the creative part and sell and share my concepts to interested parties.

What’s your relationship to Bombardier Inc. founder and snowmobile inventor Joseph-Armand Bombardier, and what kind of assembly line work did you do at age 16? What motivated you to go your own way in business?

Bombardier: J-A Bombardier was my grandfather. I never met him but being part of that family motivated me to work really hard all my life for Bombardier and BRP. My godfather is (Bombardier Inc. Chairman) Laurent Beaudoin so he also inspired me a lot to stay the course and work hard. On the assembly line, I was machining radiators and installed pop rivets on Ski-Doo snowmobile frames. I later worked as a night draftsmen in RD for Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo, and Tekko, which became our ATV division.

Do you think EVs such as super-compact commuters are viable ideas?
Bombardier: I think they are — the real challenge comes from legislation. If we decide to limit parts of our cities to these types of light vehicle they will have a fighting chance. Imagine dedicated zones where there is no emission, no noise, and where the roads are in perfect shape. It’s a viable idea and we can set a target dates right now.

What’s next on your drawing board?

Bombardier: Planes, trains, and automobiles, and lots of power sports!

Check out more of Bombardier’s designs in the gallery above.

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Phosforce laser flashlight can illuminate or incinerate


The Phosforce flashlight shines with 500 lumens.

Wicked Lasers)

Didn’t get enough of Star Wars Day on the weekend? How about dazzling Sith Lords with this lightsaber-style flashlight?

The Phosforce from Wicked Lasers turns the company’s powerful Arctic laser into a portable light that kicks out 500 lumens. It’s nowhere near as powerful as the company’s Torch flashlight — which at 4,100 lumens is apparently strong enough to ignite paper — but it’s mighty bright.

Wicked is calling the Phosforce the world’s first laser-powered flashlight. It uses a phosphor coating to turn the Arctic’s blue laser light into white light.

The promo vid below tells users in an ominous tone, “Use Phosforce when you want to illuminate. Remove it when you want to incinerate,” referring to the Arctic’s ability to explode balloons.

The Phosforce lens is available for $79.85, and does not include the 1-watt $299.95 Spyder 3 Arctic laser, which can produce 0.25 Lux of light at distances of up to 6 miles.

Wicked is also showing off the new $99.95 Nano compact laser with up to 100 mW of power. It can also pop balloons and light matches.

Not a bad way to light candles for a geeky romantic dinner.

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Do not attempt: Mixing alcohol with a Krypton laser

Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET)

Good things happen when you don’t drink but do fire lasers.

Last time we checked in on the antics of Scott Stevenson (aka WorldScott), he was vaporizing a row of 100 balloons with a Spyder Krypton laser.

He’s been at it again, this time firing the green-light 100mW Krypton at some flash paper atop a bottle full of alcohol.

The result is spectacular, but it looks even better when the laser ignites the contents of 10 bottles in a row.

The burning flash paper sets off a jet of fire from the bottles, as well as what looks like a blue plasma bubble expanding downwards.

The fires create unusual squeaking noises that sound like vinyl records being scratched by a turntable needle.

Check out the wild video below, but don’t try this at your local bar.

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Fun with lasers: Try popping 100 balloons

Screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET)

There are many ways I can think of to have fun with a laser, especially one described as “the world’s brightest laser you can legally own.” Popping balloons isn’t one of them, but YouTube tinkerer WorldScott’s stunt is interesting anyway.

In a bid for a record, he lined up 100 red balloons in front of a Spyder III Krypton and fired away.

As seen in the vid below, it took a while for the 750-1,000mW laser, fired through a focusing lens, to pop each balloon, but it eventually did the trick.

The green beam left a trail of red balloon fragments in its wake. Fortunately it wasn’t powerful enough to penetrate the far wall.

“If confirmed, this will have been the most balloons in a single-file line consecutively popped from end-on with a single fixed visible laser beam to date,” he says.

Hong Kong-based Wicked Lasers, which prompted an aborted action by Lucasfilm for its lightsaber-like Spyder III Pro Arctic Laser, supplied the Krypton for WorldScott’s feat.

In another video, he’s also used Wicked’s Arctic Spyder III lasers to pop popcorn. Natch, it also has slow-motion replays.

The Krypton is described as being strong enough to reach out beyond the planet’s atmosphere. What would you aim it at?

(Via Technabob)

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LaserSaber: A real ‘Star Wars’ lightsaber at last?


Special protective eyewear is required, and any actual swordplay may land you in the hospital.

Wicked Lasers)

The last time we caught up with Wicked Lasers, it was to check into the Spyder III Pro Arctic, a laser so powerful it requires wearing special eye protection and comes with the warning that it can blind instantly and set fire to skin.

LaserSaber hilt

This hilt attaches to a Spyder laser. (Click to enlarge.)

Wicked Lasers)

Since then, Wicked Lasers has dodged a potential Lucasfilm lawsuit and set about figuring out how to make the Spyder even more like a real-life “Star Wars” lightsaber.

The result of that effort is the $100 LaserSaber, an add-on to the $300 Spyder. It’s a 32-inch polycarbonate blade with an aircraft-grade aluminum hilt.

According to the sales pitch, the LaserSaber features “an ultrasmooth magnetic gravity system that can ‘power up’ and ‘power down’ the blade.”

This may sound like a dream come true for legions of “Star Wars” fans, but there are some big, honking caveats involved. One is the following warning, which it annoyingly does not heed in its stuntman-enacted promo video: “Do not participate in any form of fencing or swordplay. Fencing or swordplay will cause serious damage to people, pets, or property.” This means you, Wampug owners.

The Spyder warnings about protective eyewear, skin burning, and eye-searing laser madness are still in effect.

Finally, there are no sound effects. All those years of making “vhooom” noises with your mouth won’t be wasted.

Check out this promo video with its sweet powering-up and powering-down action and warnings that these are not toys and can have devastating consequences if used improperly. Then imagine yourself in an epic battle with Darth Maul. Vhooom! Vhooom! If you can do that, you don’t actually need a laser that has the potential to blind you instantly. Seriously, “Star Wars” fans, your plastic lightsabers are still awesome and are way safer than a LaserSaber.

(Via Gizmodo)

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BMW takes the top off the i8 hybrid concept

The BMW i8 Concept Spyder

The BMW i8 Concept Spyder

BMW i)

While most auto manufacturers are focusing their attention on the news and new models being revealed at the New York International Auto Show this week, BMW is setting its sights on the Beijing motor show, where it will debut the latest addition to the i family of vehicles.

BMW i8 Concept Spyder (photos)

The BMW i8 Concept Spyder is a topless two-seater version of the i8 coupe, and will make its first appearance at the Beijing motor show later this month. Slightly shorter than its 2+2 sibling, the Concept Spyder makes generous use of the carbon fiber reinforced plastic used in the LifeDrive architecture, features windowless doors that swivel up and a transparent tailgate. The interior is decked out in a mixture of plastic, carbon, and leather, and features an 8.8-inch high-definition screen that displays driving information in 3D.

Powered by a combined 354-horsepower eDrive power train (131-horsepower electric motor on the front axle and a 223-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder engine in the rear), the i8 Concept Spyder achieves a 0-60 mph time of under 5 seconds and tops out at an electronically controlled 155 mph. And yet, the roadster sips fuel to the rate of up to 94 mpg in the European test cycle.

BMW introduced the i8 and i3 electric and plug-in car concepts last year, and the i8 Concept Spyder will keep the sub-brand in the public eye until the plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles enter production some time in 2013. It’s also a way for BMW to show off its lightweight and modular LifeDrive architecture by quickly developing a new model using the same powertrain and materials.

BMW i8 (photos)

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Crave in Comments: From poop-scooping bots to HP PCs

October 29th, 2011 No comments

Halloween is nearly upon us, sure to usher in ghoulish tricks and treats. While I cannot give you any candy, I was able to find some tasty comments for you to nibble on until the big day. I’m still deciding what I want to be for Halloween, but it’s very likely I will be Ace Ventura. How about you?

In regard to PR2 robot learns to scoop poop:

For 400,000 dollars (the cost of PR2), you could hire someone for over a decade to pick up dog poop. –by Paramorekor

In regard to AeroShot: Ditch the coffee, huff your caffeine:

I would love to see someone try to sneak something that looks like a shotgun shell through the TSA. What? This thing contains a white powder? I don’t see any issues. –by Petriedish

In regard to Don’t blink! It’s a disappearing fruit label:

Good, maybe my coworkers will stop leaving those little stickers all around the office then. Seriously, these are friggin adults here! –by H00L1GAN

In regard to A gaming simulator like no other:

This is real cool until you brag to the 12 year old who decides to start going for ball hits rather than head shots. –by spyder3kgt

In regard to HP back in the PC game. Now what?:

What opportunity? HP is like the immature husband who leaves his wife, finds out he misses her, and begs her to take him back; there is no “commitment” there. No one sane is going to pay even as much as it costs HP to manufacture a consumer PC now; $99 is reasonable for a PC without reliable support. $400 and up is not. –by dumbspammers

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Moto Droid Razr could offer dual-core processor, LTE support

September 26th, 2011 No comments

Verizon may follow the Droid Bionic with the Droid RAZR.

This is My Next)

The hardware specifications for the rumored Droid Razr surfaced over the weekend at This is My Next, painting the image of a slightly evolved Droid Bionic.

The seemingly reliable details include a 4.3-inch display, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM, an 8-megapixel camera, and 4G LTE support. Although the processor’s manufacturer has not been identified, it’s definitely a step up from the Droid Bionic. What’s more, the Super AMOLED Plus display certainly is a departure from the PenTile matrix found in other recent Motorola smartphones.

According to This is My Next’s source, the handset had a code name of Spyder, but the name “Droid Razr” is referenced in the handet’s “About” screen. What’s more, the tipster indicates that the phone features an “HD” front-facing camera, though its resolution was not immediately known.

Comparing these new images to one that first surfaced in August, it’s highly like that this is the same phone once also known as the Droid HD. Indeed, the other details match up pretty closely with each other so I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this phone has multiple names.

Additional details for the Droid Razr include support for Motorola’s Webtop and Lapdock accessories, Gorilla Glass, and a Kevlar casing with a splash-guard coating.

Given all of the details, I expect that the phone will be announced for Verizon Wireless in the coming weeks with a fourth quarter release. I’ll be very interested in seeing how a Droid Razr is marketed, especially after the Droid Bionic is supposed to rule all machines. The Droid that rules the Droid that rules all machines?

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2011 Frankfurt auto show: Day 1 wrap-up

September 14th, 2011 No comments

Mini’s new Coupe only seats two, but promises a bundle of fun.

Josh Miller/CNET)

Car Tech team has been at the 2011 International Motor Show in Frankfurt, and in our first day of coverage we’ve seen a mini electric car from Audi, a stylish SUV from Maserati, and a futuristic concept from Ford. Here’s a rundown of the big stories of the day:

Audi Urban Concept Spyder
Audi’s little electric car explores extreme ideas in future urban transportation.

Audi Urban Concept

Audi’s Urban Concept shows what happens when you think small.

Josh Miller/CNET)

Mini Cooper Coupe
Mini adds to its repertoire of fun, small cars with the smallest yet. This Coupe only has two seats.

BMW i8 plug-in hybrid concept
BMW kicks off its new i brand with a hybrid performance two-door four-seater.

2013 Lexus GS 450h
Lexus delivers a significant update to its GS sedan, a year early.

Maserati Kubang

Maserati goes jumbo with its concept SUV.

Josh Miller/CNET)

Subaru XV
This new crossover from Subaru debuts with a Boxer turbodiesel engine.

Maserati Kubang concept
Maserati takes a stab at building an SUV, a big counterpoint to its sleek sedan, coupe, and roadster.

Ford Evos concept
Ford’s cool little concept showcases the company’s tech aspirations.

See more photos and video from the 2011 International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

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