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Blisslights Spright Move – Advanced Laser Projection

The BlissLights Spright Move uses laser and holographic technology to project thousands of moving pin-points of light. Just plug-in and point to create a truly unique lighting experience. No longer are the lights static and you can see the “fireflies” dance in your garden or add extra allure to your holiday display! Indoors or outdoors, the possibilities are endless!

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Mike Gould sheds light on his passion for Illuminatus 2.1, a laser light show

Editor’s note: University of Michigan junior Ellora Gupta is writing a regular summer series called “Passionate People.” Her goal is to inspire others and her column will cover uplifting stories about Ann Arbor locals who are striving to achieve their goals and passions.

Laser Light Show

Mike Gould has a very unique passion: playing with lasers. As a member of Illuminatus 2.1, he puts together laser shows.

“Illuminatus 2.1, a laser light show, is the driving creative force for my life,” Gould said.

The history of Illuminatus stretches back to 1972 when Gould began constructing laser devices as a hobby with partner Wayne Gillis. Gould calls this period of time “Illuminatus 1.0,” during which they performed very basic light shows using one laser.

“We did light shows up through the 70s,” he said. “It kind of petered out because, really, the only place you could do light shows was in discos, and we were not into disco.”

During the 80s and 90s, however, Gould found it difficult to popularize the lasers.

It was not until 2009 that Gould resumed his activity with the laser light shows. He was asked to perform at Penguicon, an open source software convention. This was the beginning of Illuminatus 2.0, during which he built the first generation of laser lunchboxes: laser devices that had been embedded into metal lunchboxes and could be projected out from within.

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Lasik surgery

If your vision’s blurring and you hate the idea of using glasses or contact lenses, you should consider Lasik surgery as an option. Short for Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, this walk-away procedure is used to treat near sightedness (myopia), far sightedness (hyperopia) and cylindrical (astigmatism) refractive errors.

Lasik is a walk-away surgery where the patient does not need to be hospitalised. Using a microkeratome, a cutting tool with a metal blade, a hinged flap in the cornea is cut. The flap is folded back and an excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea from the newly exposed surface. Then the flap is put back in place, resulting in a reshaped cornea that produces better vision.

To be suitable for traditional lasik surgery, a person should be 18 years old to ensures that the eye has matured and developed properly, must have a stable vision, should not have any concurrent eye infection, cataract or eye injury, should not have a thin cornea, and suffer from an autoimmune disorder.

The entire procedure takes 15 minutes and is almost painless. The cost of a lasik procedure ranges between Rs 30,000 and 45,000 for both eyes.

Blade-free lasik uses two lasers instead of one, with the first laser replacing microkeratome blade used in conventional surgery. Then second excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea. The blade-free technique makes surgical vision correction possible for people who have steep, flat or thin corneas and not suited for traditional lasik surgery.

NASA has recommended the blade-free procedure for its astronauts as it can withstand the toughest physical conditions, including high G-forces. The cost of a blade-free lasik is between Rs 90,000 -Rs 1 lakh for both eyes.

Avoid splashing water or rubbing the eyes for a few weeks after surgery. You also need to wear sunglasses when you step outdoors. Other than that, you can follow your normal routine from the very next day, with restrictions on TV-viewing or computer use.

Source : hindustantimes

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Laser therapy may ease type of eczema

(Reuters Health) – Laser therapy that delivers a concentrated beam of ultraviolet light may help ease a hard-to-treat form of eczema, a small study suggests.

Health

The study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, compared the effects of laser therapy versus corticosteroid ointment in 13 patients with what is known as the prurigo form of atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema, or skin inflammation, that arises from an allergic reaction; the prurigo form is marked by small, hard, intensely itchy nodules on the skin.

Only a small proportion of people with atopic dermatitis have the prurigo form, but the condition can be challenging to manage, according to Dr. Elian E.A. Brenninkmeijer, a dermatologist at the University of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and the lead researcher on the study.

The current findings, while based on only a small number of patients, suggest that when topical treatments fail to improve prurigo atopic dermatitis, laser therapy may be a suitable option, Brenninkmeijer told Reuters Health in an email.

Specifically, a device called the 308-nm excimer laser is approved in the U.S. for treating atopic dermatitis and certain other skin conditions, including psoriasis and vitiligo. It works by emitting a concentrated beam of ultraviolet B (UVB) light directly to patches of affected skin, avoiding the healthy surrounding skin.

UVB light has long been used to treat some cases of atopic dermatitis; it is thought to help by quelling the exaggerated immune response causing the skin inflammation. The purported advantage of the excimer laser over traditional UVB therapy is that it more precisely targets the problem areas of the skin.

However, there are only limited study data on the effectiveness of the laser therapy for atopic dermatitis, and almost nothing known about how it works for the prurigo form.

To investigate, Brenninkmeijer and his colleagues recruited 13 adults with atopic dermatitis and prurigo nodules on the upper or lower extremities on both sides of the body.

Over 10 weeks, the patients received twice-weekly laser treatments on one side of the body, and used prescription corticosteroid ointment — clobetasol propionate — on the other side of the body. Both the laser treatment and the ointment were applied directly to the prurigo nodules.

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Mapping Ancient Civilization, in a Matter of Days

For a quarter of a century, two archaeologists and their team slogged through wild tropical vegetation to investigate and map the remains of one of the largest Maya cities, in Central America. Slow, sweaty hacking with machetes seemed to be the only way to discover the breadth of an ancient urban landscape now hidden beneath a dense forest canopy.

Even the new remote-sensing technologies, so effective in recent decades at surveying other archaeological sites, were no help. Imaging radar and multispectral surveys by air and from space could not “see” through the trees.

Then, in the dry spring season a year ago, the husband-and-wife team of Arlen F. Chase and Diane Z. Chase tried a new approach using airborne laser signals that penetrate the jungle cover and are reflected from the ground below. They yielded 3-D images of the site of ancient Caracol, in Belize, one of the great cities of the Maya lowlands.

In only four days, a twin-engine aircraft equipped with an advanced version of lidar (light detection and ranging) flew back and forth over the jungle and collected data surpassing the results of two and a half decades of on-the-ground mapping, the archaeologists said. After three weeks of laboratory processing, the almost 10 hours of laser measurements showed topographic detail over an area of 80 square miles, notably settlement patterns of grand architecture and modest house mounds, roadways and agricultural terraces.

“We were blown away,” Dr. Diane Chase said recently, recalling their first examination of the images. “We believe that lidar will help transform Maya archaeology much in the same way that radiocarbon dating did in the 1950s and interpretations of Maya hieroglyphs did in the 1980s and ’90s.”

The Chases, who are professors of anthropology at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, had determined from earlier surveys that Caracol extended over a wide area in its heyday, between A.D. 550 and 900. From a ceremonial center of palaces and broad plazas, it stretched out to industrial zones and poor neighborhoods and beyond to suburbs of substantial houses, markets and terraced fields and reservoirs.

This picture of urban sprawl led the Chases to estimate the city’s population at its peak at more than 115,000. But some archaeologists doubted the evidence warranted such expansive interpretations.

“Now we have a totality of data and see the entire landscape,” Dr. Arlen Chase said of the laser findings. “We know the size of the site, its boundaries, and this confirms our population estimates, and we see all this terracing and begin to know how the people fed themselves.”

The Caracol survey was the first application of the advanced laser technology on such a large archaeological site. Several journal articles describe the use of lidar in the vicinity of Stonehenge in England and elsewhere at an Iron Age fort and American plantation sites. Only last year, Sarah H. Parcak of the University of Alabama at Birmingham predicted, “Lidar imagery will have much to offer the archaeology of the rain forest regions.”

The Chases said they had been unaware of Dr. Parcak’s assessment, in her book “Satellite Remote Sensing for Archaeology” (Routledge, 2009), when they embarked on the Caracol survey. They acted on the recommendation of a Central Florida colleague, John F. Weishampel, a biologist who had for years used airborne laser sensors to study forests and other vegetation.

Dr. Weishampel arranged for the primary financing of the project from the little-known space archaeology program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The flights were conducted by the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping, operated by the University of Florida and the University of California, Berkeley.

Other archaeologists, who were not involved in the research but were familiar with the results, said the technology should be a boon to explorations, especially ones in the tropics, with its heavily overgrown vegetation, including pre-Columbian sites throughout Mexico and Central America. But they emphasized that it would not obviate the need to follow up with traditional mapping to establish “ground truth.”

Jeremy A. Sabloff, a former director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and now president of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, said he wished he had had lidar when he was working in the Maya ruins at Sayil, in Mexico.

The new laser technology, Dr. Sabloff said, “would definitely have speeded up our mapping, given us more details and would have enabled us to refine our research questions and hypotheses much earlier in our field program than was possible in the 1980s.”

At first, Payson D. Sheets, a University of Colorado archaeologist, was not impressed with lidar. A NASA aircraft tested the laser system over his research area in Costa Rica, he said, “but when I saw it recorded the water in a lake sloping at 14 degrees, I did not use it again.”

Now, after examining the imagery from Caracol, Dr. Sheets said he planned to try lidar, with its improved technology, again. “I was stunned by the crisp precision and fine-grained resolution,” he said.

“Finally, we have a nondestructive and rapid means of documenting the present ground surface through heavy vegetation cover,” Dr. Sheets said, adding, “One can easily imagine, given the Caracol success, how important this would be in Southeast Asia, with the Khmer civilization at places like Angkor Wat.”

In recent reports at meetings of Mayanists and in interviews, the Chases noted that previous remote-sensing techniques focused more on the discovery of archaeological sites than on the detailed imaging of on-ground remains. The sensors could not see through much of the forest to resolve just how big the ancient cities had been. As a consequence, archaeologists may have underestimated the scope of Mayan accomplishments.

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Tech Tips for Practicing Laserists

Animator Blends Old And New
Interview with Carl Graves of Laser Force
By David Lytle

“Smooth as butter” is how Laser Force President Chris Stuart describes the work of his animation director, Carl Graves. The company entered the ILDA Awards competition for the first time this year and took a total of six awards in four categories, including ISP Cel Animation and both the ISP and non-ISP Graphic Module categories.

The company’s pieces incorporate traditional hand-drawn frames, plus computer-generated animations, plus a third style that blends together the best of both worlds. This fall, Laser Force will begin releasing a series of compact discs chock-full of their trademark animations. The discs will also include “Module Makers” designed to help laserists easily generate customized animations from the stock frames. Laser Force plans to release one new themed disc each quarter, with the first disc focusing on fire effects. The Laserist recently talked to Graves about his special style of animation. To see examples of the animation and learn more about the Module Makers CD series, visit the company’s Web site at: www.laserforce.net


Laserist: Tell me about what you call “computer-enhanced animation.” How is that different from the way animators usually work?
Graves: Traditionally, laser animation has been very heavy on the digitizing side. Take the example of 24 frames for one second of film or laser output. In the past, I would draw those 24 frames by hand, then hand them over to a digitizer and then possibly someone else to colorize those frames. With the approach I have now, I may only need to animate 6 of those 24 drawings, and maybe only digitize one or two of those drawings and then let the computer do the math between the motions.

Laserist: How is that different than just giving the computer a start position and an end position and then letting the computer do the in-between animation frames?
Graves: Animation requires a lot of fine touches to be appealing. If I give the computer a start point and an end point it will give me a flat move from A to B. But I may change an eyebrow or move a lip or bend a finger to give the animation that extra bit of realism, that extra bit of action and ultimately appeal. You cannot get that with straight computer animation. With computer-enhanced animation, you create key frames and digitize those keys and then let the computer blend those two key frames for you.

Laserist: I’ve seen your work and it seems amazing that you can get such fluid, lifelike motion by only drawing a handful of key frames. How is that possible?
Graves: It’s all in the pre-production. As any animator does, you examine the movement from A to B, every part, every detail—you figure the motion, the path, the flow and pretty much calculate it. But instead of drawing every frame of it you can create the same kind of appeal and flow within a computer enhanced model.

Laserist: How much time does this save?
Graves: You save a considerable amount in the digitizing and colorizing end. If you can imagine 24 frames dwindled down to maybe 2, that is a great cut and you might be able to eliminate colorizing all those frames as well. But, because it is so reliant on pre-production, it doesn’t necessarily save a lot on the animator’s time. You are still plotting, still drawing and you will do reference keys and rough drawings.

Laserist: What about the tools you use? I understand you mix and match between hand-drawn animation, computer enhanced animation, and full-on digital animation all within the same show.
Graves: It is a balance between all the tools. If I am doing something that is very cartoony—something that is slapstick—I might want to go for more of a traditional look and not even use computer enhanced animation because I can’t capture the exaggerated look I want. Exaggerated motion doesn’t necessarily need to be as smooth as butter, so you use a more traditional style of art work. If you want mathematically correct perspective images you will go with a platform like 3D Studio Max (a conventional computer graphics animation program). If you want to kind of juggle in between, I think that type of animation is perfect for computer enhanced animation. It is just a matter of applying the right tool for the right job.

Laserist: I understand that some of these modules incorporate several styles.
Graves: Yes, it depends on the project. Various scenes might require one tool versus another. You may do 80% of your show with traditional hand-drawn animation, 15% with computer-enhanced animation and maybe 5% with LCMax [a Pangolin plug-in that renders 3D Studio Max output in laser light].

Laserist: I understand Laser Force is working on a series of animations and graphics that will be available for sale. Tellus about the additional tools these CDs will include to help people expand on the images.
Graves: Well, let’s say you are looking at a new or intermediate Pangolin user who generally will purchase graphics from another company and probably never use a lot of the tools that could possibly save them time or money. What I hope to do with Module Maker is not only offer great frames, but also include tips for Pangolin Showtime effects along with tutorials that help you get better use out of the equipment you have. It’s a whole suite of show-building materials that helps minimize production time.

Laserist: Can you give me a couple of examples of the effects in Showtime they might use?
Graves:For example, let’s say you want to create a star field moving through space. That is a very difficult thing to do by hand. You could do it on the computer and make that happen, but you might want some variations. You might want to go into a warp or you might want to pull out of a warp or slow it down or even change angles. Showtime effects can help do that without creating separate animations. You can change perspective, change scale, change position and add certain accelerations and decelerations within Showtime to achieve a different look. And most of these things we will show you how to do on the disk

Laserist: You aren’t afraid of giving away trade secrets, are you?
Graves: This is a service. It is something that we wish to share because of our passion for it, for the quality level that we wish to achieve. And it keeps us doing something we love and we have fun doing it, so I don’t think we are giving away too many trade secrets. Besides, when you boil it all down, it’s creativity and imagination that are most important.

Laserist: Let’s wind up here on the big picture. A lot of people look at lasers and they see them as a poor stepchild to traditional cel animation found in film and video. Critics don’t see laser displays on par with other forms of animation. How do you feel about that?
Graves: When I first started in the industry, I did share that opinion. I started in the traditional fields of animation, so doing lasers was really kind of an awkward thing. But the more I learned and the more I saw, I began to realize how it [laser display] really does the same things as traditional animation. You are not going to get the mega budgets for it, but you still get a lot of the same audience appeal. You can reach out and touch people in a variety of venues with lasers. It is more of a—I don’t know what the word is I am looking for— it’s a unique connection with the audience. I don’t think it pales in any way to other forms of animation. You are still communicating and you are still entertaining.

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Memorial Weekend

Dates:  May 29-31, 2010

Location:  Memorial Lawn

Stone Mountain park honors our troops and their families, in a three-day celebration of American spirit at Atlanta’s largest Memorial Day Weekend celebration.

Enjoy the park with an all-attractions Adventure Pass which will provide entry to all Stone Mountain Park attractions including Sky Hike, one of the nation’s largest adventure courses set high in the tree tops. Get your heart racing in a thrilling Journey to the Center of the Earth 4D Adventure located in Crossroads®. For an unprecedented view of the Atlanta Skyline, hop aboard the Summit Skyride. And of course, your family is sure to enjoy the Scenic Railroad, Mini-Golf, the Great Barn and more! Ask about adding a Ride the Ducks™ tour to your Adventure Pass for only $8 (plus tax).

Plus, join Stone Mountain Park as we salute our troops during the Lasershow Spectacular with a special fireworks finale. Marvel as the skies above light up in a specially choreographed musical tribute honoring the brave men and women who protect our country. The special fireworks display can be seen Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Weekend after the regular Lasershow Spectacular.

Save even more for your family members when you pre-purchase your tickets at the following bases:

Dobbins Air Reserve Base – Marietta, GA 
Fort McPherson – Atlanta, GA 
Fort Rucker ITT – Dale County, AL  
Kings Bay MWR ITT- Kings Bay, GA  
MCCS MWR ITT – Albany, GA
Robins Air Force Base – Warner Robins, GA 
Maxwell Air Force Base – Montgomery, AL 
Naval Supply Corps School – Athens, GA
NAS Jacksonville – Jacksonville, FL 
Mayport Naval Station – Duval County/Mayport, FL
Omega World Travel (Fort Benning) – Columbus, GA

Be sure to take advantage of this free admission special offer for active duty military & veterans along with special savings for their families.

In addition, military ID holders will also receive 20% off most food, beverage and merchandise items each day during Memorial Weekend. Restricions apply to glow vendors, existing deals/coupons and sundries. Simply present your military ID at the register to receive your discount.

Not a member of the military, but still looking for a value? Head to your neighborhood Kroger for best ticket pricing on Adventure Passes and Mountain Memberships.

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Lasershow Spectacular

The digitally remastered Lasershow Spectacular presents “Our Music Is Georgia Music,” highlighting the diversity of Georgia’s musical landscape during a special tribute to many of the artists featured in our Georgia Music Hall of Fame exhibit located at Memorial Hall Museum. With displays of laser lights, graphics, characters and fireworks, the Lasershow Spectacular is an Atlanta attraction that is not to be missed.

Heroes and sports medleys plus a patriotic finale including choreographed state-of-the-art graphics are also inlcuded. You’ll also hear some of your favorites like “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “An American Trilogy” and “Celestial Soda Pop”.

Relax on the lawn as Stone Mountain is transformed into a natural amphitheater.  The Stone Mountain Park signature event combines colorful lasers, surround sound and special effects into a 40 minute light show, precisely choreographed to music.

Don’t miss the Flame Cannon effect and the Laser Canopy that creates a ceiling of light right over your head. The grand fireworks finale makes your evening complete. The Lasershow is free with your $10.00 vehicle entrance to Stone Mountain Park.*

Everything you need to enjoy the Lasershow is right near the Laser lawn at the all-new Marketplace. From fresh food including deli sandwiches, salads and fruit as well as heartier fare, Marketplace is the perfect stop along your way to a fun-filled evening with friends and family. Blankets are also available for purchase at Marketplace if you’d like to enjoy your food while watching the Lasershow.

Stone Mountain Park is in the process of restoring the Laser Lawn to make it easier and more enjoyable for guests to view the historical mountain and its carving. Please note that during this restoration and renovation period, only the lower lawn section will be available during the Lasershow. Parking for the Lasershow is available in the Crossroads, Triangle and Yellow Daisy lots.

Click HERE to view the Lasershow schedule.

Source : Stone Mountain Park Festivals & Events

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Robot With Laser to Zap Weeds Automatically in Chemical Free Control of Pesky Plants

No more chemicals for fighting weeds in professional gardening! A fully automated unit drives over a field, a camera recognizes weeds sprouting up and a laser beam takes care of the rest. This science-fiction scenario is actually being researched at the Zentrum Hannover eV (LZH) and the Institute for Biological Production Systems (IBPS) at the Leibniz University Hannover.
Working sketch of the laboratory set-up for weed control using the laser. Image processing plants recognizes which plants are good and which are weeds, and aims the laser only at the weeds.
Image credit: Leibniz University Hannover/ Laser Zentrum Hannover eV
The main goal of the project supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) is non-chemical weed control, one of the main goals of ecological planning and effective production. The basic idea is similar to flame weeding, in which heat is used to eliminate the weeds. However, this method burns out everything under the flame, and it is neither precise enough nor can it be automated. In comparison, a laser beam is precise and can be used to hit a sprouting weed, not affecting the plants around the weed. And “laser weeding” can be automated.

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