One of the unique things about fandom is the desire to own either an actual piece of the fan's favorite show, or a replica that is so close to the original that detection is next to impossible.
Fans will go to great lengths, and great expense, to get their favorite prop that looks just right, be it one of the toys you can buy at your neighborhood Walmart to extremely well-detailed replicas, like the ones sold on sites like Roddenberry.com for example.
However, a company in Hong Kong has gone and done a disservice to not only the world at large, but to Star Wars fans especially. The company in question, Wicked Lasers, is marketing a device that they call the Arctic Spyder III laser which is an actual burning laser. In the video, you can see a clear comparison. The laser pointer that is first demonstrated is your typical device that is used to highlight items on a screen during a presentation, to annoy people, or make cats go crazy chasing the little dot of light. The second device demonstrated, which is the one I'm writing about, not only generates a solid beam of light, but it actually burns a hole where it was aimed.
The device is so dangerous that the company has the following warning on its advertising for the device: Extremely dangerous is an understatement to the power of 1W of laser power. It will blind permanently and instantly and set fire quickly to skin and other body parts, use with extreme caution and only when using the included eye protection.
The thing that has caused this device to gain attention is the fact that it strongly resembles a lightsaber from the Star Wars series. This concern is shared by writers all over the Internet, and especially by Lucasfilm Ltd which has, according to a press release, sent the manufacturers a cease and desist order. In a statement, Lucasfilm general counsel David Anderman made clear their concerns were not just copyright infringement. This product is not licensed or approved by Lucasfilm in any way. We have demanded that Wicked Lasers immediately cease and desist their infringing activities. As Wicked Lasers itself admits, this product can cause serious injury to the user and other people. We strongly discourage consumers from purchasing it.
Now, I'll credit the manufacturers for not calling it a lightsaber, nor making any reference to Star Wars about it. The problem is that some fan out there will think it is the ultimate lightsaber replica, buy one, and somehow, someone is going to get hurt. When that happens, all of the warnings and all the Class 4 laser hazard acknowledgment forms in the world will not undo the harm that has been done.
If there was ever a case for the old Latin warning, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), this is a classic one. I add to it that anyone near a person carrying one of these should beware as well, or better yet, be gone from any room in which the person with that device is in.
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