Laser Craze — replacing the computer control of laser-cutting with hands on interaction

Etch-a-Laser?

It may be hard to see the details in this clip featuring Stanford Optical Society’s Nick Leindecker, but the two projects that he is presenting are each noteworthy in their own right.

Featured at Maker Faire Bay Area 2011, Laser Craze uses controllers in the familiar rotary format of an etch-a-sketch to transform a laser cutter into a truly hands-on interactive machine.

With the addition of a foot pedal throttle to control laser power, visitors to Maker Faire enjoyed breaking laser cutting from its CNC confines. No longer Computer Numerically Controlled, this time it’s meaty fingers that work those precision optics.

The second project that Nick reveals represents an outlet for his personal LED fetish and fondness for cycling.
Not satisfied with the low resolution of commercially available (and indeed many DIY) persistance-of-vision devices, he set out to create a high-res unit that boasts over two hundred and seventy surface mount LEDs.

Impressive stuff.

via Make

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