Raytheon Set to Sell The First Pain Ray

A company called Raytheon (ever heard of a Phalanx gatling gun?) is about to start selling what they’re calling the Active Denial System, or ADS.  It is apparently a non-lethal energy ray that penetrates the skin about 1/64th of an inch causing excruciating temporary pain.  In case you’re wondering, yes – this is a functioning pain ray.  Raytheon has been marketing this system as a non lethal deterrent system, and it is a huge device that looks like it should be mounted on a truck or ship or something:

raytheon painray ADS

It’s being called the Silent Guardian.  There are two models of the ray system – a 30,000W version (effective up to 250 meters) and a 100,000W version (effective up to 750 meters).  Raytheon recently gave a presentation to NATO about anti-pirate measures and the Active-Denial System, and produced this PDF document – Raytheon has been studying this technology since before they unveiled a version of it in 2001.  Think about this for a moment:  a point focus microwave generator that produces an excruciating feeling when directed at someone from a minimum of 250 meters.  As far as protecting cargo and container ships, I think this is a pretty interesting non-lethal weapon.  Raytheon seems to be pointing this towards non-military applications too – like law enforcement and security.  No offense to either of these industries, but quite frankly I wonder what kinds of news stories I’ll be writing about when this thing hits the market.  I think it’s great that we might have a non-lethal weapon that could protect whatever needs protecting from actual threats, but why don’t you go search Google News for the words “police” and “taser.”

I hate to sound like a broken record, but if we can’t even trust people with taser guns, what makes this joystick-controlled hurt beam any different?  What about the possibility of this thing being used in “questioning” situations?

pain ray

I like hearing about things that deal with light and energy, and even though the realistic part of my brain tells me differently, I am going to hope for the best here.  Let’s hope that we don’t read about some overzealous agent using this on a detainee or some militant law enforcement group just unleashing this onto a group of demonstrators without need or license.

From the PDF presentation:

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painray ADS

Thanks, Danger Room!

Happy Belated Birthday, Willie Williams!

I’m just now seeing this video – much to my chagrin – but HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, WILLIE WILLIAMS!  You all know Willie as the show designer and LD for U2 for the last decades.  Willie’s work reaches far beyond U2 – he’s done art installations, architecture, video, theatre, and other lighting and production ventures and bands across the years.

From both of us here at JimOnLight.com, happy belated birthday, sir.

Check out Willie’s portfolio site – congratulations on the 360 Tour!

Jim On Sweden – Been Here A Week, All Is Good

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I’ve been here in Haninge about a week, and I am getting a little more acclimated to the way that living here might go.  The city of Stockholm is beautiful – more beautiful than it has ever appeared in pictures I’ve seen – and the town of Haninge (where I am living) is less than beautiful.  I’ve found places here to shop for groceries (Coop and ICA), and I found a store that is a lot like a Big Lots (Oob) – comparatively, everything is a little more expensive than back home, especially red meat and chicken.  I was surprised to see that even salmon is a bit more expensive here, but crawfish and shrimps are much cheaper than in the United States.

I am meeting so many great people here – my dorm mates are from Iran, Sweden, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, India, Canada, Sri Lanka, France, China, Thailand, Chile, and a fellow American.  The kitchen is the most excellent place to converse, and it seems like every time I go in there, I leave after having some kind of great discussion.  This weekend I went in for coffee, and left 45 minutes later after talking about OLEDs.

One of the weirdest things that I have noticed is that my listening skills have exponentially grown in a matter of days – having people from so many different countries with so many different inflections on English is one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had with people.

I enjoy traveling with people to common places like the grocery and the city, and I am sure that we’ll be traveling in groups to other countries and cities around Sweden.  I’ve had my camera in my bag nearly everywhere I’ve gone so far, and I probably look like a tourist white guy, but I could care less.  This country is beautiful, and these people I am spending time with and getting ready to learn with are great.

Some things I’ve learned in the last week:

  • red meat is expensive here.
  • in Russian, you say “kind morning” instead of “good morning”
  • people in several languages say “pardon my French” before they swear
  • yogurt is not sweet everywhere
  • I have muscles in my legs and back that haven’t had exercise in years from walking so much
  • public transit is awesome

Anyone interested in seeing some pics?  I’m uploading everything to my Flickr account, and I’ll be posting random images here and there on the blog.  Check out these latest pics:

Waiting on the bus back from ICA grocery – we missed the first one…

waiting_haninge

Our group at the flagship Ikea!  Francisca, Kunal, me, Tatiana, Uthayan, Saghi, and Orquidea:

trip to ikea

Me, Tatiana, Francisca, and Kunal waiting for Saghi and Orquidea to get to the train station back to Haninge:

waiting at Ikea station

A sight we don’t often see in Dallas:

SL train

Ikea and flags – the only difference between American Ikea and Swedish Ikea is language:

Ikea flagship

This one is for my dad – everywhere I go, I take a picture of my feet in that country:

sweden_feet

Solar Blossoms in Austin – SunFlowers, An Electric Garden

I’ve not been to Austin a lot – a few times for working and visiting – but this is the kind of project I would want to see if I lived there.  Meet the SunFlowers, a photovoltaic sculpture garden that collects solar energy and turns it into night time light:

sunflower solar

A blurb from Good Mag on the project:

Comprised of 15 flower-shaped photovoltaic solar panels that line a pedestrian and bike path on the greenbelt between a retail lot and highway I-35, SunFlowers was unveiled on July 30. In such close proximity to a prominent highway, the 30-foot structures are, as Harries/Héder put it, “a highly visible metaphor for the energy-conscious city of Austin.” But because each one is a working solar collector, the art piece is both emblematic and functional.

The energy that the panels collect during the day is used, come nightfall, to power SunFlowers’ stunning blue LEDs, which illuminate the path below for bike-riders and walkers, and generally beautifying the area. An extra 15 kilowatts generated each day is fed back into the grid and used offset the costs of operation and maintenance.

What do you think of this installation? I’m actually a fan of projects like this – projects that use technology like solar tech and repurpose it in a dual role as art and civil lighting interest me.  The developer paid a large part of the project, and a grant was given for the materials.

Some information on the project from Mags Harries and Lajos Heder’s website – the creators of the SunFlowers project:

Location:      Austin, TX
Client:            Catellus Development Co.
Size:                30′ x 1000′ x 16′
Materials:     Photovoltaic solar collector panels, welded steel frames and stems, landforms and plantings
Budget:         $595,000:
$470,000 from the Developer
$75,000 from Austin Energy rebate
$50,000 grant from Applied Materials Inc.

The 15 SunFlowers that form the Electric Garden are sculptural solar collectors that generate solar energy for lighting at night. The additional 15 kilowatts of energy that they produce is fed into the electrical grid for credit, which will fund the maintenance and operating costs for the project. During the day they provide shade for a pedestrian/bicycle path and at night the LED’s in the SunFlowers’ stamens glow with blue light.
SunFlowers was initiated as a buffer to mask the loading docks at the edge of the Mueller Development from the I-35 highway.

To date, this is the largest public art project in the City of Austin.  SunFlowers is both an icon for the sustainable, LEED certified Mueller Development and a highly visible metaphor for the energy conscious City of Austin.

The custom-made solar collector panels have a blue crystalline surface and appear like a garden of huge flowers facing the northbound traffic on I-35.

More images of the project:

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sunflower austin

sunflower model

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sunflower_closeup

Thanks, Good and Core77!

Wybron’s Nexera – CMY Mixing Spot and Wash Fixtures

Have you seen or used any of Wybron’s NexeraLX luminaires?  Nexeras have dichroic CMY mixing, are DMX addressable, and come in spot and wash configurations.  Nexera is convection cooled, and can be fitted with a ceramic gas discharge metal halide lamp, mechanical dimmer, and ballast for install situations.

nexera_profile_and_wash

Aaron at Wybron sent me a press release for Houston’s Lakewood Church; they’re using 48 Nexeras:

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There are churches, there are megachurches, and then there are megachurches.

Houston’s Lakewood, the country’s largest church and the home of Joel Osteen, falls firmly in the latter category. With a weekly attendance of approximately 43,000 people, they make their home in the former Compaq Center, previously home to the Houston Rockets. And the job of lighting services in the 16,000-plus-seat arena, many of which have to perform the double duty of being recorded for broadcast and providing an intimate experience for worshipers? That falls to Chuck Pryor and his team.

“My production background is mainly in audio,” Pryor says, “So my team has a lot of fun making all the standard lighting/audio jokes to keep things light and fun. I was actually hired in audio but was invited to manage the Lighting Department when Tom Stanziano, the previous Lighting Director, left. Tom was the one who originally specified theses fixtures to accomplish the goals, and he obviously made a great call. I still split my time between lighting and audio, so having Josh Beard and Ryan Johanningmeier here to do all of the maintenance and programming makes it all come together pretty nicely. These guys are both really talented and we are fortunate to have them.”

Juggling sound and lighting in such a large venue certainly poses challenges. For the not-inconsiderable task of lighting the Lakewood stage-a lighting system that uses, all told, over 700 individual fixtures and must light dozens of performers-Pryor relies in part on 48 Wybron Nexeras, a move that Pryor calls a “perfect solution.”

“The Nexeras have one very important role at Lakewood,” Pryor says. “These are used to light the curtain that millions of people see each week on the broadcast. The Lakewood blue curtain that hangs behind the globe is lit exclusively by the Nexera fixtures. We also use eight of these fixtures as band front wash when color is needed.”

The “blue curtain” that Pryor mentions is a sort of visual trademark of Lakewood, a backdrop to the ever-present bronze globe and the activity that takes place on the stage-and which is a recognized symbol of the church to the millions of viewers who tune in to broadcasts of Lakewood’s services.

“The main technical difficulty we had was lighting our curtain evenly and having the ability to color mix smoothly. The fact that the Nexeras can throw 60 feet allows us to do this and light the entire curtain evenly.”

The vibrant color and smooth mixing provided by Nexera’s dichroic glass filters translates to a dynamic and reliable platform for Lakewood’s ultimate raison d’etre: the dissemination of their ministry’s message to the thousands of people in their congregation and the millions who tune into their broadcasts. “Obviously they have to work in harmony to have the most impact, and lighting can really help set the mood in the congregation,” says Pryor.

Although Lakewood is by any measure a large organization, with the trappings attendant to one, it’s the message that counts; the hundreds of lights, the pro-quality sound, the music, the technical accoutrements and flash are there simply to support it. And to do this, like so many other churches across the continent, Lakewood turned to Wybron.

I’m interested in hearing more about the Nexera – any hands on experience with the fixture?

Vari-Lite is Touring Some New Products

vari-lite_ad

A press release from Vari-Lite tells of the in-progress tour of new Vari-Lite gear – the VLX LED wash luminaire, the VL500 and VL1000 Ceramic Discharge fixtures. I am in Sweden, and I will miss out on this fun. I want to be there so badly I can taste the smell from the inside of old VL2Cs. Damn!

You are invited to join Vari-Lite as we bring you the latest in lighting technology featuring the debuts of the much-anticipated VARI*LITE® VLXTM Wash, VL500CDTM Wash, and VL1000CDTM automated luminaires. Plus as an added bonus, now is your chance to get a first-hand glimpse of the unmatched VL3500TM Wash FX automated luminaire.

The VL3500 Wash FX luminaire is the newest member of the Series 3000TM family of luminaires with an output that exceeds 50,000 lumens, as well as varied new options for color and beam control featuring internal zoomable beam optics, an interchangeable front lens system, and a four position plus open rotating FX pattern wheel.

The VLX Wash luminaire is the next generation of solid-state lighting which gives you all the benefits of LED technology and the best visual performance characteristics of both arc and tungsten sources. VLX offers stunning intensity, incredible color gamut, multi-year source life and upgradeability. VLX. Only from Vari-Lite. Accelerating LED lighting.

Energy-efficient, long-lasting and virtually maintenance free, the new ceramic discharge (CD) automated luminaires have a 315W ceramic discharge lamp offering 3200K color temperature of tungsten, a 95 CRI, and an incredibly long-rated lamp life of 8,000 hours.  Based on the Emmy® Award-winning VL5TM Wash luminaire, the VL500CD Wash luminaire maintains a light output greater than 7,000 lumens. Combining the functionality of the ellipsoidal reflector spotlight with the versatility of an automated luminaire, the VL1000CD luminaire maintains a light output greater than 8,000 lumens.

New Product Demo Dates, Times, and Locations…

August 26, 2009:

SEAL – Miami
12250 NE 13th Court
Miami, FL 33161
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

August 27, 2009:

PRG – New York
7777 West Side Ave.
North Bergen, NJ 07047
1:00 PM – 4:30 PM

August 28, 2009:

Barbizon
456 West 55th St.
New York, NY 10019
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

August 31, 2009:

SoloTech – Las Vegas
7465, Dean Martin Dr., Suite 108
Las Vegas, NV 89139
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

September 1, 2009:

PRG – Las Vegas
6050 S Valley View Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89118
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

4Wall Entertainment – Las Vegas
3325 W. Sunset Road, Suite F
Las Vegas, NV 89118
2:30PM – 5:00 PM

Barbizon – Atlanta
101 Krog Street
Atlanta, GA 30307
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Last Week’s Most Popular Posts

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I’m getting a bit more settled here in Sweden – one of the things I love to do is check on the analytics (you know, metrics) of JimOnLight.com pages.  I find it very interesting what people read the most from week to week!

Over the last week, the most visited pages on JimOnLight.com were the following:

1.  The Best Source Four Imitation EVAR (Congratulations, Daphne!!!)

2.  page two of JimOnLight.com!

3.  pages tagged with “lighting toys”

4.  Pussy Cat Dolls – Video by Naked

5.  PRG’s Bad Boy

Thanks for reading JimOnLight.com, everybody.  I love to write about light more than I could ever express!

LED Handrails – Good Concept or Potential Graffiti Surface?

I just read an article about lighting for stairwells – an interesting concept that includes illuminated railings along stairway walls:

led_handrails

Zoran Sunjic‘s design for an LED-lit stairway rail is based on the idea that a stairway that has low light can be spruced up by his LED rail, or some energy-hogging fixtures can be replaced by the inventi0n.  At each end of the rail, an LED illuminator lights up the rail – which is designed like a fiber-optic structure.

What do you think?  I think this is a really interesting concept, but as soon as it gets covered with the funk of ten thousand people running their hands all over it, it’s going to look like hell unless it’s maintained and cleaned.  Also, the minute some chump sprays paint on it or carves it up, it might look like crap.  Is the design modular?  That might be pretty handy in public installation situations.

More pics:

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led_handrails

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ledrail

Thanks, TrendsNow!