Wynter is in full swing and Christmas is just a few days away. All the houses are decorated and the presents are stuffed beneath the twinkling tree. Of course, no Christmas can be complete without the beautiful Christmas lights we’ve come to expect that brighten the long nights and help distract us from the too short days.
This year, a new phenomenon has taken over the decorating zeitgeist. Laser lights are all the rage! They are beautiful, easy to set up and apparently they blind pilots and attract thieves! Yep, those gorgeous starry decorations draw thieves in like cookies do to Santa Clause!
Most of these lasers tend to use 532nm for green 650nm for red and some offer 445 nm for blue. Since the green wavelength is the most visible to the human eye I suspect they are able to use lower power laser diodes and still achieve a highly visible output. That highly visible output seems to be catching the eye of thieves all over the world!
A quick google news search for “Laser Christmas Lights Stolen” returns about 193,000 results. Yes, the stores are happy because these are flying off the shelves. Unfortunately, they seem to be flying right off people’s property just as fast! One popular website devoted to selling a certain brand of laser lights even has a section devoted to tips on how to prevent your lights from getting stolen!
It appears to be an epidemic! Ebenezer Scrooge hasn’t got a thing on these Grinches! Some have even been caught on video stealing the $40 laser. Apparently most stores are sold out of them so people are reverting to stealing from their neighbors during the most generous time of year. I don’t think that embodies the Christmas spirit too well, do you?
On the safety front, the manufacturers’ claim that after their lasers go through a diffuser (a common practice) that “usually” reduces each individual beam to less than 1mw. However with thousands of these shining into the night sky you can see how it can be distracting and even dangerous to pilots. (For more information about laser safety with aircraft, please see our post. jail-time-you-ll-put-an-eye-out-laser-safety-in-the-aeronautics-age)
So, here are The Laser Experts’ Christmastime tips for decorating with lasers.
- Make sure all laser lights are pointed directly at the structure you desire to illuminate.
- Ensure that the diffuser between the laser and the projected surface is in good shape and free of cracks or chips that might allow more dangerous levels of laser lights to reach the eyes of children or adults between the laser and the projection surface.
- Lock it down! Either take your laser inside each evening or secure it to a piece of metal that can be anchored to the ground to make it an undesirable target for thieves.
- Use LEDs. Yep, we are laser experts and we are recommending LEDs. LEDs are safe, low power, make for beautiful decorations and are rarely the target of thieves. Lasers are amazing but “the right tool for the right job” is something we believe in too! Maybe go with classic LEDs this year to get that classic yet beautiful Christmastime look and feel.
From all of us here at The Laser Experts we wish you a merry Christmas and a wonderful new year. We are looking forward to bringing you a lot of exciting news in 2016 and truly appreciate our relationship with you and your ongoing support.
See you in 2016!
Kristopher Hesson & The Laser Experts at Power Technology.
PS We need some new submissions for Wavelength Wednesday for 2016. Please submit your laser and pass this along to any friends or colleagues that might have an interesting laser application to share. Thanks!