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Faded color, but this 16mm reel is a very interesting look at the earliest lasers in use and the ways that they were thinking into the future for uses of laser technology for medicine, communication, space, and manufacturing. This reel was transferred from my own 16mm archive print using my Eiki Telecine. The Eiki projects a 24fps print at 30 frames per second for a flickerless NTSC transfer. A special diffusion plate eliminates the 'hot spot' of the projector, and the sound is pulled right from the optical track.
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13 thoughts on “The laser beam 1968”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Pathos Bedlam says:

    This whole video reminded me of the funny video's you'd get in Fallout 4 about what makes you S.P.E.C.I.A.L but the mish-mashed music at the end was so spot on I thought it was a Bethesda production. Had me laughing so good. It was a really interesting video on Lasers though. It's so trippy to see what people in the 60's thought of technological uses for laser light before we had things like LASER Cutters and Laser Pointers or PC Laser Mice. Or more importantly the Laser Interlink communication satellites put up by SpaceX the other day for Starlink.

    We really are living in the future.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Glen Collins says:

    Interesting about w wanting to send the laser beam through a tube instead of using fibre optics which had already been around for some time. It would be slightly faster to send each pulse but it would be incredibly more expensive especially if you wanted to run multiple signals side by side.

    I wonder if ping time is considered that critical anywhere nowadays?

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Erick VonD says:

    There's a trip down memory lane. I remember seeing this back in middle school and thinking to myself that it might be a little far fetched. Given the current state of things it really wasn't far off the mark.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars geoff campbell says:

    great film…I saw a ruby laser demo at the NBS in Boulder, a few years ago-after much excitement and planning, my friend and I were going to build one!-after collecting a few things for the flashtube circuit, we learned that the ruby crystal was going to cost about 3 months of mom's pay…so that was the end of that experiment before it started!

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Don Carlos says:

    Great video and amazing to see how quickly following the demonstration of the first laser in 1960, that the various applications of it poured in from the best minds of the time.

    How do we purpose this new Light Beast? By understanding it better and better.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars dan b says:

    I find it interesting how many things they got correct, how many they were close, and also the number of ideas that never happened!
    Dentists are using UV light, but not laser light, no long earth bound vacuum conduits with mirrors, and all of the world's communications down one laser Beam… whilst completely missing out in fibre optic transmission with both plastic and glass instead of mirrors and vacuum tubes.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Lurker Smith says:

    Some day, lasers will be used to store music on tiny reflective discs, much smaller than conventional vinyl records, and those disks will later be refined to store television programs such as "The IT Crowd".

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Charles Kinzer says:

    One application they didn't mention was the laser gyroscope (or ring laser gyroscope). When this film was made, I was on the Navy ship USS Norton Sound which tested many things. One of the things they started testing in 1966 was the laser gyroscope. It is commonly used today. It still has the same curvature of the earth issue as mechanical gyroscopes where if you could sail around the earth on a great circle the gyroscope would thing the ship's pitch rotated 360 degrees end over end. On the Norton Sound, this was corrected by linking to the dead reckoning system and a computer was involved which I believe was a Univac 1219.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars JT Laser says:

    I loved that video! Back in the early 90s my brother asked me if I’d like to go on a “service call” with him. Turns out he was one of the leading LASER technicians in the Country (probably the World) and I had just been invited in. Twenty-six years later I’ve worked on some fantastic LASERS, created some cool electronic devices, and even patented a new optical device for using LASERS and X-rays together. Thanks so much for the video, it was basically the same thing my brother taught me the first few weeks I worked with him! ❤️

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars liquidsonly says:

    Every time he says Ruby Rod I think of Milla Jovovich for some reason.
    Also thank you Fran for this. These movies are awesome. Interesting to compare the predicted uses then to the actual uses today.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Anthony Tidey says:

    I can remember reading a Unitid Nations technical report on the laser when I was young it theorised that we would have laser tellecomunications links.
    As it was an early report it did not include it had to be line of sight with no obscureing such as water vaper.
    It also mentioned about the use in dentistry, but what happend to that?
    Thanks for the video.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars james spash says:

    My mother, now 80 plus years old, worked at Perkin Elmer in Norwalk Ct back in the late 50s early 60s. The engineers invited some clerks to their lab to see the first ever Visible laser developed there, She was one of them.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Eric White says:

    Good to hear Dr. Maiman's name mentioned as one of the inventors of the laser. He seems to have been neglected in recent popular historical articles. While it is important to credit theoreticians with inventions, somebody always needs to be able to build the damn thing.

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