In the 1930s, Nikola Tesla claimed to have theorized a "death beam," which he said was an "apparatus [that] projects particles which may be relatively large or of microscopic dimensions, enabling us to convey to a small area at a great distance trillions of times more energy than is possible with rays of any kind." He added that people could use it to "make any country, large or small, impregnable against armies, airplanes, and other means for attack."
Now, before our very eyes, we have the first makings of the dream of the death beam! Or at least something that shoots a laser and is pretty good at cutting metal tubes.
The laser cutter in the above clip may not immediately make your nation run up the white flag and bend the knee to its new laser-y overlords, but it's still quite effective at completing its designated task of decommissioning nuclear structures. The 5kW laser -- half the average total power consumption per person in the US -- can have its beam focused for cutting metal tubes, or scattered for a process called "scabbling," which is essentially a method of removing layers of concrete. There's no word yet, however, on whether or not it will have Abe Simpson hand-penetrating capabilities.
According to TWI Ltd., the British research and technology firm behind the hand-operated laser cutter, this invention is perfect for tackling the issues that arise when using water jetting or mechanical scabbling for decommissioning nuclear facilities. And while the laser cutter providing safer methods for decommissioning nuclear plants may seem kind of tedious in the grand scheme of laser-related things, take a step back for a moment, put the whole decommissioning thing aside, and think about this: Nikola Tesla is not alive, but maybe his dream still is. And between Elon Musk and Mark Rober — the guy who's established himself as a great gigantizer of things — is it possible, nay probable, that very soon we could have a legitimate death ray on our hands? Side note: don't let the death ray touch your hands.
What do you think about this hand-operated laser cutter? Can you see a gigantic version of this thing shooting missiles out of the sky, or maybe curing a giant's cataracts? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: YouTube / TWI Ltd