Author Topic: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp  (Read 5553 times)

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Offline dustout

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"firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« on: May 13, 2013, 07:12:18 am »
This Kickstarter project is basically a blue laser dot projector to create some 'ambiance' for a room.  I've had some bad luck with my crowd funding this far but this project is looking pretty promising to me so far.  I have been getting a lot of updates on progress including pictures of actual physical things.  I'm pretty optimistic that this project will pull through and it looks cool. I thought I'd share this as an example of a project that I've been impressed by in contrast to my other experiences... Anyone else kickstarting this one?
 

Offline MacAttak

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2013, 05:15:20 pm »
I'm a backer on this one too (was in the original ~100 or so). I have very little doubt that this one will fail to deliver. It will probably deliver on-time too (or perhaps slightly late).

IMO the project creator is bat-shit crazy though. Clearly very smart guy but reading his comments and updates is something like watching a slow-motion train wreck. Good thing he enlisted his brother and wife to help him with posting updates and answering questions.
 

Offline Rasz

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2013, 05:40:57 pm »
wait, is it fixed dot pattern or full blown mini X-Y laser effect?
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Offline TriNitroTolueen

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2013, 06:02:32 pm »
For the lazy readers, this is the link:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1251236349/blue-laser-lamp-with-passive-cooling-technology

It looks kind of cool as a party light or something, but I can't see this being used as a primary light source. In the short introduction clip it still looks very dark with the "firefly" turned on and it just doesn't look pleasant as everyday lighting...
 

Offline MacAttak

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2013, 07:32:35 pm »
The images and videos are terrible because most video equipment cannot handle coherent laser illumination properly. The images always come out very dark.

The device itself uses a diffraction grating to disperse a single beam into a grid pattern (within a forward-facing cone).

The basic concept is that the individual diffracted beams do not illuminate the location of the device itself... but when they reach a distant surface (like the wall or ceiling), they reflect and disperse at that location - essentially producing hundreds of small point light sources that illuminate the room *from* that surface.

By lighting a space in that way, you minimize shadows (a wall of point light sources is essentially a diffuse light source that casts minimal shadows). It also consumes very low amounts of power to produce equivalent amounts of illumination.

The project launcher has already created the same device using a green laser (you can buy it on Amazon). The green laser uses a crystal with a low lifespan and is not a very pleasant color (strains the eyes). The blue laser is supposed to be entirely new technology, that does not use a crystal, and produces a wavelength of blue laser light that stresses the eyes much less.

The lense options that add shapes (stars, hearts, etc) are just custom diffraction lenses. There is no beam control to "draw" shapes like what you would see in an entertainment laser display.
 

Offline Rasz

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2013, 08:13:12 pm »
The lense options that add shapes (stars, hearts, etc) are just custom diffraction lenses. There is no beam control to "draw" shapes like what you would see in an entertainment laser display.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/ksr/assets/000/431/097/92e073c062cfe2b4045ce7ed2f187f5f_large.jpg?1362724541

this picture was little misleading then :)
otherwise cool project, works like Kinects illuminator (IR laser)

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Offline MacAttak

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2013, 08:44:14 pm »
That picture was a time-lapse photo of a few people making shapes with a few firefly prototypes. You can see the same person standing behind both the F and Y in "fly".

I thought it was a dumb and confusing image for them to post. Again, going back to my theory about the project owner having a few screws loose.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2013, 05:50:39 am »
It says the laser is <5mW.
I find it very unlikely that those photos are realistic for a 5mW laser.

The photos maybe long exposure, or the prototype laser maybe 200mW,
but not 5mW and a true representation of how it will look in real life.
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Offline amyk

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2013, 11:06:52 am »
Might be good for an ambience effect but otherwise it looks too distracting; the bright blue power indicator LEDs some products like to come with are annoying enough already, imagine hundreds of them scattered everywhere! :o
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2013, 01:30:01 pm »
I'm a backer on this one too (was in the original ~100 or so). I have very little doubt that this one will fail to deliver. It will probably deliver on-time too (or perhaps slightly late).

IMO the project creator is bat-shit crazy though. Clearly very smart guy but reading his comments and updates is something like watching a slow-motion train wreck. Good thing he enlisted his brother and wife to help him with posting updates and answering questions.

 :-DD

I am a backer too, and your comments on the project creator are spot on!  I think it is a neat idea but his updates are.... a bit weird.  I am not sure if he is just way too enthusiastic or something, but reading the updates, you'd think this guy feels he invented time travel or something.  It's just a blue laser diode w/diffraction element.

The price is not too high so whatever happens, I'm happy to ride it out - but I tend to doubt it will have the performance they imply.  They show a hallway lit with a 1W night light, a 4W night light, and the FireFly.  The FF looks like it's 10-20x brighter than the 4W night light.  My understanding is that the luminous efficacy of blue laser diodes is not very high, so I have a hard time beliving a <1W blue laser diffracted out as the FireFly does will have an apparent brightness even close to what many of the pictures show.

But, it's not expensive, and it will be a neat toy, so I'm happy to be a backer.
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Offline codeboy2k

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2013, 01:05:42 am »
The video shows that it's a spot laser with a diffraction lens (maybe), but some pictures show lighting the walls in a uniform pattern of regular dots on all six sides of a cube, but I think it can't do that.... except the picture of the hexagon makes it "look" like it can do that, because it has bumps, which might be the light outputs (holes) that create the point sources of light.. is this what it does??

I am still not sure what I would get if I backed it.


 

Offline MacAttak

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2013, 02:35:06 am »
The video shows that it's a spot laser with a diffraction lens (maybe), but some pictures show lighting the walls in a uniform pattern of regular dots on all six sides of a cube, but I think it can't do that.... except the picture of the hexagon makes it "look" like it can do that, because it has bumps, which might be the light outputs (holes) that create the point sources of light.. is this what it does??

I am still not sure what I would get if I backed it.

There is a single lens/aperture (aka, "hole"). It appears to be roughly the same size as the camera lens on a typical smartphone, possibly slightly smaller.

The uniform pattern of bumps you see on the device are just part of the plastic mould - they are not additional holes. They are just there to give the device some texture and character.

Yes, it is a "spot laser" with a diffraction grating (fitted into the aperture) to produce the matrix of dots. This grating disperses the single beam into a cone of beams that project the "dots". I believe that the dots near the center of the cone have slightly higher luminosity than those near the edges of the cone.

The project owner stated the angular width of that cone in a comment or update - I think it was 45 degrees? I think the photo of the TV room had two Firefly units, the photo of the bedroom/hallway each have one Firefly unit.
 

Offline ARGLaser

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2013, 06:31:21 am »
This product is dangerous, take it from an experienced laser hobbyist. The guy says it's safe at 2 feet, but he's marketing it as a nightlight for kids  :palm: If a kid sticks their eye in the aperture it can cause irreversible damage.

This quote from another forum sums up my opinion on it.

Quote from: goninanbl00d
Something rather interesting's popped up recently involving a laser device that's not a projector, but nonetheless a device that's available to consumers. I figure the people on this board would be the most knowledgeable when it comes to matters like this.

Let's say we have a hypothetical laser-based nightlight.

Let's say this hypothetical device uses a single 445nm diode hitting a diffraction grating as the main source of light output, with the beams exiting an aperture and diffuse scattering off surfaces such as walls providing illumination. Each beam leaving the aperture is below 5mW, but you've plenty of beams (diffraction grating), and the total of the emitted beams would be on the order of a watt or so.

Let's also say the lead designer of this hypothetical device makes ridiculous claims along the lines of

Quote
Our product has a mechanism to prevent reaching such heights and therefore not capable of interfering with aircraft. It is a lamp and you are pointing a LED flashlight to an aircraft. If you were at a local airfield beyond the fence you be viewed as a flashlight.

or claims the product to be entirely eye-safe, while completely ignoring known dangers such as the blue light hazard or the the effects of blue light on your circadian rhythm:

Quote
The laser is no more dangerous than an LED light if a normal distance is maintained. I would not advise anyone to hold even the smallest light directly to their eye.

Maintaining a 2 foot distance between your eyes and the laser is advised. My children sleep with this lamp in their room and have no problems.

or

Quote
The diffuser mechanism is a diffraction using Young's experiment. This is not as simple as it is pictured the DG (diffraction grating) has to be within 1/4 the wavelength of the laser to eveningly distribute the beams without having a center area of concentration hence a safety issue.

while clearly having an abject lack of knowledge as demonstrated by quotes as:

Quote
The Firefly laser lamp does not burn and is not possible to burn. Lasers that burn in the market are 405nm have IR. A 90mw laser you can burst a black balloon, at about ?450mw you can start to burn a cigarette but hold it there and wait. The blue laser we use is exponentially ?far from that and more like the light of a florescent lamp with no heat. You need to multiple our laser about 1000 times to have any heat

or obvious technobabble along the lines of

Quote
Yes. *REDACTED* is my company and we have been researching the feasibility of a blue laser for two+ years. *REDACTED* has taught us a lot but is not the final end game. It has always been intended as a proof of concept for what we saw as the potential for blue lasers to fundamentally change the lighting industry. The blue laser is far more significant than just merely the color. We have a patent on our blue laser diode component design itself, aside from the *REDACTED* shell. It is completely different than the green component. The *REDACTED* shell is a convenient way for us to produce a giveaway for contributors. But its the BLUE LASER that's the most compelling component for several reasons. First, technologically it is constructed using stable state technology unlike the green which uses a crystal diode. Crystal diode is fine for normal environments, but the stable state is shatter proof and with our patent-pending heat spreader the blue stable state laser can withstand up to 150 farenheit. Couple that with the special calibration we use for the blue that allows it to reveal objects in a smoky room and we have what we believe can be a very compelling unit for a broader array of future uses - emergency lighting being one. You could say what we are giving away is a blue *REDACTED* of sorts, but the intent is be able to further the blue laser technology that has some really powerful potential to change the lighting industry. The photographs for the blue laser are not retouched. They are original blue laser photos. They just happened to be in the same settings as the ones we took awhile ago for the green. All that said, we hope this will increase the confidence that the giveaway you'll receive is a real lamp that has all its legal, safety, UL, CE, Rohs, FDA/CDRH, and independent laser compliance officially approved. And, with blue lasers pointers today fetching around $200 in the marketplace, even at the higher levels on our campaign we hope you'll see this isn't such a bad deal!
I cannot place links but if you look a Frontgate and search for lighting use sort $400 to $599 you will see a green and blue laser light for 550 in change something like that. the picture they have is green for the product so click on it. You are getting a great price for a proprietary laser that we make ourselves. We will have updates of more information and some unique aspects of this product that people will find exciting.

Now that all of that's out of the way, let's assume for a second that this hypothetical product does exist. How would one go about making sure such a product never makes it to market, or preferably, never leaves the drawing board?

Because, unfortunately, this product is a thing, the guy behind it seems to have his head up his arse and apparently they've got a whole company behind it.

I would like to think that being a crowd-funded project, people will begin to see just how much piss and wind is holding the thing together and pull out before this becomes a thing. On the other hand, the company claims to already have a green version of this laser nightlight on the market.

They're US-based, in which case I have no idea how they got the thing past the FDA in the first place.
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2013, 07:56:05 am »
This product is dangerous, take it from an experienced laser hobbyist. The guy says it's safe at 2 feet, but he's marketing it as a nightlight for kids  :palm: If a kid sticks their eye in the aperture it can cause irreversible damage.


My reading of the quotes from PhotonLexicon show that, IMO, a lot of people seem to just have a chip on their shoulder that the creator of this project got so much money.  I bet there is a lot of envy in many of the comments.  Not all, but many.

As far as safety, it does seem like a normal diffraction grating, but the people who are saying "it's a LASER, pointing it at an aircraft is ILLEGAL" seem to be way overstating their case.  If the whole thing is 5mW and if the beam is split into 1,000 beams, and the collimation of the light is such that the cross section size of one of those beams is 10 feet at 500 feet of distance, then how is it harmful to aircraft?  Photons are photons, whether they come out of a laser or an LED. 

I backed the guy for two of these... I like lasers, and it looks like a neat device.  I can't understand the characterization of backers as "idiots"... looks like a lot of success-hating to me.
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Offline MacAttak

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Re: "firefly" Blue Laser Lamp
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2013, 05:16:12 pm »
I agree. I have one coming too.

The device itself isn't anything new - you can buy the green ones for around $40 on amazon. Yes, this is supposed to be a new and much better laser, but still... effectively the same product as far as most people would care.

The "inventor" of the device seems very annoying and aloof, as does his wife (although to a lesser degree). And yes, there are some weird things going on such as the statements made about the ultimate purpose of this gadget is to eventually provide something to assist in firefighting. And since they are already making a product that can be readily obtained, I'm not entirely sure that crowd-funding was really needed in order to get the product made. I suspect it is mainly a sales tool for them.

But still, the safety concerns seem unfounded. Yes, this is a laser product. No, you shouldn't hold it up to your eye. Just like you shouldn't buy your 10 year old boy that hunting slingshot from Wal-Mart as a toy to play with in an urban neighborhood. Some things are just plain common sense.

Also, it has laser warnings on the box, in the instruction sheet, and permanently affixed to the device itself. Richard has been very adamant about telling us all about the details of it :palm:
 


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