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MM: Laser Deflector Shields & Brain-Controlled Robots

In this episode of Manufacturing Minute, a laser deflector shield concept and controlling a robot with your brain.

A Laser Deflector Shield

Deflector shields, are currently confined to sci-fi shows, but just as other far out ideas are becoming reality — wireless communication devices, tablet computers and medical tricorders to name a few — could a deflector shield make its way to reality as well? That’s what scientists at BAE Systems hope to find out. A new type of directed energy laser and lens system could lead to a deflector shield device within 50 years. 

Named the the Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens, or LDAL, the primary purpose is to provide better electromagnetic communications. It does this by creating naturally-occurring effects by changing the reflective and refractive properties in targeted parts of the atmosphere using a high-powered laser to create highly-reflective areas or areas where light can be bent at will, allowing communications operating at very high frequencies to be sent further than normally possible. 

To be used as a shield, the system would temporarily alter small parts of the Earth's atmosphere to create lens-like structures that magnify or alter the path of electromagnetic waves, including radio signals and light. The team thinks that a lens generated in this way could be used as a deflector shield to protect air, land and sea vehicles and troops from high-powered laser weapons. 


Do you think we’ll ever see a laser deflector shield? What other applications could this research be used for? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below. 

Brain-Controlled Robot

Have you ever wanted to be in two places at once? Although teleportation technology is still a thing of science fiction, a new robot called “Teleport” can help people explore the world.

Similar to other telepresence devices, “Teleport” — created by Melbourne-based startup Aubot — features a tablet mounted on a pole which is controlled by the user. However, unlike other devices, “Teleport”, allows users to control the bot through the power of thought. 

“Teleport” uses an off-the-shelf brain control interface called MindWave — a device typically used for meditation. Once a person concentrates over a certain threshold, the robot starts to move. By blinking twice, users can toggle between going forward, backward, left or right. Creators say it takes less than 5 minutes to set up and begin using “Teleport”.

In addition to helping employees attend meetings remotely, “Teleport” creator says the robot can give the world to those who aren’t able to get out and about themselves — such as the elderly and physically disabled. Some Teleports are even being sent to young people hospitalized with cancer allowing them to attend school remotely.

“Teleport” features a touchscreen tablet mounted on a retractable 1.1 to 1.7-meter-high pole. Ultrasonic sensors prevent collisions and a wide-angle lens offers a greater field of view. The device can also be controlled by a web browser or Android phone. It’s even compact enough to fit in the backseat of a car.


Are telepresence devices the wave of the future? How could this technology be used in the manufacturing world? Tell us what you think in the comments below.