Laser Synthesizer Turns Light Shows Into Performance Pieces
Tom Spendlove posted on July 10, 2019 |

Christopher Short, Andrew Kilpatrick, and QP Tharmviboonsri have a vision of making laser shows great again. A “laserist” running a show was a performance artist in the 1970s and each outing was a unique experience, but technology advances have changed the job into a computer technician position. The team developed Radiator as a laser synthesizer that can create “beautiful live, spontaneous vector and laser graphics.” Collectively the laser artist, electronics engineer and graphic designer call themselves Neon Captain, and are running a crowdfunding campaign for the Radiator.

The team wanted Radiator to feel like a music synthesizer, separating the controls into modules for the user to create laser art. Shape generators create geometric shapes, sine waves, cycloid or Lissajous patterns. Color generators can tell beams to be a singular color or follow patterns. The transformer brings the two dimensional beams into a motion state showing depth and rotation. The clone module lets the user turn one laser object into an array, while the modulator module can stretch or scale objects. Finally the master module controls size and brightness of the teams, with a blackout button acting as an emergency stop. An interlock key also gives the user security that the lasers won’t be operated by an unauthorized person.

Radiator’s standard output is an ILDA connector with a DB-25 cable to send analog, X Y position, and RGB color signals to the laser. USB and Ethernet outputs are also available. The laser synthesizer is intended to be a controller, appropriate for someone who already owns a laser or ready for the two lasers that can be purchased through the Kickstarter campaign. This might be an incredibly niche project, but I can think of five or six places I’ve seen laser shows in the last year. Following your passion and then building tech to further your passion is a great pursuit for any engineer, and I appreciate the team’s commitment to safety and legal use documentation that comes with the projectors. The campaign is approaching its funding goal and ends on August 8, 2019.












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