How to Use a Laser Pointer Creatively and Safely

There are plenty of things you can do that are safe and fun with a laser pointer. As the old saying goes, "Safety first!" because nobody wants to get hurt, but don't let that prevent you from being creative with your laser pointer.


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    Be Safe:
    • Do not point your laser pointer at any person or animal, especially if it is above 5 mW (milliwatts). The eye can take up to 30 minutes to recover from light exposure damage to the eye (such as the "snowball" created by a camera flash). Direct eye exposure to the powerful laser pointer can blind people or animals permanently within seconds.
    • Do not try to burn things or start fires with a laser. A fire is harder to put out than to start.
    • Do not point the laser at an aircraft. A laser can be powerful enough to blind someone even at great distance.
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    Have fun:
    • Star gaze. A laser pointer, especially a green laser pointer is ideal for pointing out celestial objects, and also works for aligning telescopes and for astrophotography. Click here for star gazing pointers.
    • Use your laser pointer as a presenter. Use it to direct a groups' attention to a specific piece of information and ensure that your message reaches them correctly.
    • Tease your cat or dog. A cat (or dog) will chase a dot around the floor for hours on end. This toy will even give your pet a feeling of satisfaction after the "hunt" even though your pet cannot catch the dot.
    • Play laser tag. (This requires specialized, sturdy electronics, and usually requires computing power and unique software for scoring. There are many softwares for you to use even if you have limited programming skills.)
    • Try laser dancing. Point the laser pointer at a crystal, which will produce countless amazing laser beams for dancing in. This is fun, but be careful. (Be safe: remind dancers not to look directly at the reflected laser beams and only use a low MW laser pointer.)


  • A crystal is used for laser dancing because a crystal supports double refraction (common glass can only result in single refraction). There can be 18 facets in a natural crystal.
  • Green laser pointers are the preferred laser pointer color for astronomy because green is the most visible laser pointer color. The reason green is more visible is that the human eye is most sensitive to green light. Another reason is the effect of light in the earth's atmosphere: light is visible in the sky when the atmosphere scatters it and lower wavelengths are scattered more than higher wavelengths. Green is a medium wavelength so it scatters more and is more visible than longer wavelengths such as red.
  • The type of laser described here is a 100--200 mW green, blue or red laser.


  • A green laser pointer is more dangerous than a red one because it has a higher frequency.
  • Laser pointers which exceed 5 mW are particularly dangerous because the human eye is more sensitive to them.

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Categories: PowerPoint Presentations