LaserCube- Party Laser AND Laser Engraver, in One Device‽

Hey everyone! Today I’ve got a product that’s a lot of things, it’s cool, it’s fun, it’s brilliantly designed and well made- but it also has a dark side, dangerous tech from a dystopian near future with a user-friendly interface that can let anyone with a laptop or smartphone do serious harm to others. I’m going to set it up, discuss what’s awesome about it, what bothers me, and how I think it could be handled better. First, build quality is fantastic, it’s a block of aluminum. Very high quality, nothing feels cheap. I’d buy from WikedLasers in the future just based on the build quality here. The app runs on your phone or computer, needs to be tethered with a cable but I can live with that. There is no Linux version which is a disappointment. Once you’re in the app they really give you your money’s worth. Just page after page of functions and features. The games are my favorite, I’m not a huge fan of 8-bit games but I absolutely love the vector graphics aesthetics of the Lasercube games. They are basic but perfect for parties. I could absolutely see pointing this at the side of a building or just hanging a sheet between some trees for people to play. There’s a great variety included as well. Same with patterns, just a huge number to keep things interesting and exciting at a party. Hardware and software- just top marks for quality and execution. Here, let’s take a look with a bit less light so you can see it clearly. So if you want to use the cube, of course, you have to download the app first. You can download it in the Google Play store, or you can download their PC version
from their web page. So we are on their web page, it’s called WickedLaser and then you click Cube and scroll down and you can see get it on Google Play, download app for Windows, download app for Mac OS and then below there are a lot of other reviewers have a reviewed the laser cube. You can go check it out. Now let’s go to their setup guide. So when you go to the WickedLaser start page they will give you a LaserCube setup and operation guide and then just go down and this is their Quick Start Guide you can also download user manuals for PC. Okay, let’s open it I already have app over here. So you can see they have all these lists of the functions that you can use they have abstracts, visualizers, dancers, animation. They are all about the patterns you can see, for parties at home or a rave party whatever. You can do tons of things but first, you have to make sure the laser is on. So here you can see the laser at the corner is on right now. Okay, you can see on the wall I have this giant pattern. It’s called fractal and you can lock the effect. This is just a microphone because you can also use your voice to control the pattern but that’s the other thing. I already set the power to 65 because I
want you to see better so the power is 65. Hue, color, zoom. You zoom in to make
it bigger you can enlarge the area or you can make it smaller like this. Of course, if it’s this small you can not see anything. So I have to zoom in and let you see better, So that you can see it better. Circle Arc So on the wall you can see it’s turning and turning. I will choose another pattern. Wavy, so I
just select Wavy and now it’s kind of distorted and waving on the wall. Color Drop. They have huge selection for you to choose. So basically on this list, you’re going to select the patterns. And then on the other list on the right one, you’re going to select how it’s going to form its shape and how it will change its shape. Let me show you more like this one looks like all the waves, are waving on the wall Like a strong beat on the drums. I can move Gong B to the next order as it can play by orders and you can drag them to different orders So, dancers, that should be interesting. See? Okay, animation let’s see what’s in animation. It is waving money at me right now. Okay, I like this. Games, this should be fun. Games? Yes, you can play games with the Lasercube. Let me show you how I play games. Okay, laser frog. So the frog is me and I have to go go go, oh And you cannot touch, you can not let it
hit the boat. If you bump into the boat, it dies. So I go, no good, no go go go. okay now I am jumping, and jump Oh shit! So I die, I go back and I go go go
go oh shit Go go go I don’t know why I die so I don’t know how to get a higher level because that’s the highest is I can get Let us go into clock. Chinese really? Oh, they do have a clock written in Chinese. 19:41, 54, 55, 56, 3D, what time is it now? Now it’s 7:42. Flower? Youtube Subscribers? So you can log in to your twitch account, your youtube account and your Twitter account. They can connect with it. Beam Show. Multiple effects. Let’s draw something and see this is what
I drew this morning. Click it. I am going to draw the draw a small mountain This does not look like mountain at all. So I drew a little mountain and a rock. So it does come with not just dancing but also music. Let me turn the sound on. You can choose the mode, now it is set to staff you can choose circle. So now it’s showing “Please subscribe to my channel, thank you so much for your support.” I can choose random color, wavy spiral smoke and that is the text function. This video is made possible by the generous support of JLCPCB. China’s largest PCB manufacturer, with JLC, you can have PCB manufactured in under 24 hours all while you track the process in real-time. Prototype board starts at just 2 dollars in
any color, check the description box for more info. One of the best ways to support me is to support the companies that fund this channel. Now on to the tricky bits, some things are meant to go together. Like macaroni and cheese Some things not. Like engraving lasers and visual effect
lasers. In engineering and design, there is a class of errors called mode errors. Mode errors do kill people in the real world. Air Inter Flight 148 went down and killed 87 people because the pilot read the mode on one display wrong. I have a link to a whole discussion of this in the description box, worth a read- it’s really good. Mode errors are not just an interface issue though, they can be made worse by having a machine with functions that are directly at odds with each other. Like in one mode the Lasercube generates beautiful patterns and games you can watch, play and dance to. Change modes and those same patterns will burn your retinas out of your skull and permanently blind you. Yes, you can party or engrave- with the exact same laser, just in different modes, modes which will never be accidentally changed by a drunk or incompetent DJ. Like happened in Russia back in 2008 when 30 party-goers were 80% blinded by a laser accidentally pointed too low. That was 10 years ago, imagine how much smaller and powerful lasers are now. As is, fresh out of the box the Lasercube is a horrible accident waiting to happen. The next problem is about two steps away from being a whole lot more dangerous. Blinding lasers have been an issue for a few years now. What’s been keeping them from being a more serious problem is they require a human operator, and it’s hard to target well with a laser pointer although it is still incredibly dangerous and not something to play around with. They’ve shown up at protests but so far damage has been minimal. Controlling the beam has always been possible, but it’s a few pretty technical steps and not really something the average member of the public will be able to do. Once you have compact, low-cost beam control with an easy to access API- that all changes. Eye tracking is just a few lines Python code and galvos are lightning fast and can be incredibly accurate. You can’t out blink or out move them. For $500 you have an unmanned set up the size of a rice cooker that can potentially permanently blind dozens of people before they even know what’s happening. Of course like many types of weapons autonomous or remotely operated blinding lasers like this have always been possible. It’s just never been so cheap and so short a technical leap. It’s also scalable, want to blind hundreds or thousands? Brand the forehead of every person at an event with an indelible symbol or QR code in seconds? Just put it on the end of a 100w laser tube like this. You can even mount it in your trunk and drive through downtown. With an IR laser no one will even know what’s causing the damage. This tech, made cheap and easy to code is horrifically dangerous in the wrong hands. I can build it with what I have right here in maybe two days. But it would be pretty reasonable for the authorities to object to me having something like that sitting around so so I’ll pass. Targeted blinding lasers are also incredibly difficult to defend against. You’ve got bit of a Gorgon’s head only you can’t use a reflective surface. Protective glasses need to be on the same frequency as the laser light and even then can’t protect against a sustained high wattage beam tracking a single point. Best bet is FPV goggles with a built in camera pass-though like these, and hope the lasers are not mounted on a racing drone or otherwise hard to target. While it seems like something that just engraves wood could not be that harmful, it’s technically speaking a very short step. Once you add near perfect automatic targeting you’re dealing with a powerful weapon that violates international agreements for blinding lasers and for autonomous weapons. I’m not anti-gun. They are just a tool with appropriate users and appropriate uses. One of my favorite YouTube channels is Forgotten Weapons because I feel their history holds countless lessons. I think one of those lessons is the use of autonomous weapons and weapons designed to indiscriminately maim, like blinding lasers or butterfly mines that can harm innocent civilians who stumble across them, puts you on the wrong side of history. Proliferation and development of these should be something we all agree on. As far as what’s on my table right now? The Lasercube as is? What can be done about it? At the absolute minimum I’d want to see a passive IR sensor on the front of the Lasercube to prevent beam activation when people are in the beam path. The Xiaomi laser projector has this feature. Even still, who can blame WickedLasers for combining a bunch of cutting edge technologies and trying to sell an innovative product? Lasers are getting cheaper, galvos are getting cheaper, code to control this is getting so simple a child can get eye tracking up and running in hour. That’s no one’s fault. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but when developing new hardware with such destructive potential it is vital to be conscientious. I am delighted by the build quality and the play and party modes of the Lasercube, but horrified by how little thought went into making it safe. I’d love to see WickedLasers go back to the drawing board make something of this quality- but single-mode, safe for the consumer and with some reasonable steps taken in hardware to make misuse more difficult. That’s it for today, what do you think? Is the Lasercube safe? If not can it be made safe? Autonomous blinding lasers, are they a threat to public safety and how would you handle it? Let me know in the comments section and remember, if I can do it, anyone can do it, and that’s not always a good thing.

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