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Solar death hose

"I'm almost positive this hasn't been suggested yet" (TM)
  (+16, -2)(+16, -2)
(+16, -2)
  [vote for,

I looked through all the Solar Collector ideas and, while they contain all the elements of my idea, they haven't been combined in the happy way I suggest:

Get a parabolic mirror to focus sunlight. Put a convex mirror at the focal point to shoot the near-parallel sunlight back through a hole in the original mirror (the way astronomical telescopes work.) Send this into a fiber optic cable, which you can then point at things and burn.

I originally envisioned this as a backpack-sized device you wear when facing away from the sun, with the death hose slung over your shoulder in a freakish battle on a sundrenched island, but I am pretty sure that the wattage required to get a really ferocious beam out of your death hose would require a large stationary mirror. Perhaps an astronomical observatory could be retrofitted to point its mirror's output into a fiber optic tube during the day (even the moon's light is bright enough to destroy the equipment behind telescopes like these.) Then you've got a center for deep-space observation by night, and a supremely defendable fort by day!

michaeltherobot, Apr 22 2006

Wikipaedia entry on 'Directed Energy Weapons' http://en.wikipedia...cted_Energy_Weapons
Everything you ever wanted to know about Death Rays! [DrBob, Apr 23 2006]

Unused fiberoptic solar power Unused_20fiberoptic_20solar_20power
You looked through _almost_ all the solar collector ideas. [bungston, Apr 24 2006]

Archimedes Heat Ray http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archimedes
[theGem, Nov 13 2008]

Info about common garden death hoses: http://chicagoist.c...panic_item_of_t.php
[Amos Kito, Nov 13 2008]

Parabolic Mirror Match http://www.youtube....watch?v=T_Rt93fvZls
[quantum_flux, Nov 13 2008]


       Could you really transmit enough light down a fiber optic cable to burn things? If so, then I want one!! (Oh, no particular reason.)
DrCurry, Apr 23 2006

       //supremely defendable fort by day//

       You've been playing too much Command and Conquer latley, haven't you?
Letsbuildafort, Apr 23 2006

       Ion Cannon-tastic.   

       Things get a bit tricky when you start to examine the practicalities, I'm afraid.   

       I'll kick start with sending the light down the fibre... Light can only be transmitted down optical fibre of particular diameters for particular wavelengths. Even then you only get a small series of 'modes' of light. The rest suffers from dispersion and self-interference. Laser light is coherent, with all the light in the same direction (give or take) but sunlight, even when focussed by the best mirrors we have will not be particularly coherent and suffer from dispersion and self-interfence even more...   

       Now, a *Sonic Tank* there's an idea...
Jinbish, Apr 23 2006

       The Graeae make a mean mirrored shield, or so the story goes. Personally I think they invented aluminum foil.
Shz, Apr 23 2006

       I avoid ideas involving death, but this involves a hose. Tough call. I'm going with it.
zigness, Apr 23 2006

       Like the name. I'd be very surprised if this hasn't appeared in a science fiction story somewhere along the line (I'm betting on one of the 1950s writers - I'd put my money on Asimov or Heinlein). + Anyway.

DrBob, Apr 23 2006

       Really, [phlish]? Wasn't the sonic weapon used in the film 'Biggles'? (Just mentioning Nazis reminded me) Also happens to be a weapon in the computer game 'Dune 2' - which was a forerunner of Command & Conquer.   

       Must be more feasible nowadays...
Jinbish, Apr 24 2006

       Didn't Archimdes do this (only without the fibre-optics... and only the one mirror surface)? (OK, so not quite this)
st3f, Apr 24 2006

       So, it's not a garden hose capable of extinguishing the sun then?
half, Apr 24 2006

       I recommend that such a garden hose not be developed. Although such a hose, if used at less than its full capability, might be used to combat the effects of global warming. It might also help render Mercury habitable.
bungston, Apr 24 2006

       //So, it's not a garden hose capable of extinguishing the sun then?//

Or a special pair of trousers to wear when the sun finally burns itself out?
DrBob, Apr 24 2006

       This has been built - an Israeli medical technology company has installed systems just like this as a replacement for scalpels and/or surgical lasers.
BunsenHoneydew, Apr 24 2006

       Hmm... very nice,   

       BUT: Couldn't you just defend yourself from the ray-gun by wearing a shirt made out of the same material that makes the walls of the fiber hose? Nice & flexible.
sophocles, Apr 24 2006

       I think this is baked by Archimedes (the mirror thing). First, it's nearly impossible to send that much light inside a 1mm fiber optic cable. You can't be that presice. And second, even if you could, you couldn't hold the cable without roasting your hand.
croissantz, Apr 28 2006

       Ha ha! You point your solar death hose at me at your own risk! I take a small mirror and reflect the death ray right back at you! Ha ha ha!
SledDog, Apr 29 2006

       I made one of these around 1987, using a 12" plastic fresnel lens and one of those glass FO cables with flexible metal jacket. Works great as a wood burner! The end of the FO at the lens's focus gets too hot, but the other end stays cool. A plastic FO cable would definitely melt. The light exiting the far end of the FO cable spreads out though, so you need to place the "hose" directly upon whatever target you wish to char.
wbeaty, Jul 02 2007

       [Jinbish] //Light can only be transmitted down optical fibre of particular diameters for particular wavelengths. // Laser light is coherent, // but sunlight// will not be particularly coherent and suffer from dispersion and self-interfence even more... //   

       How about placing a laser tube at the focal point of the solar collector? Use the gathered energy of all that incoherent light to create coherent light, and begin the FO from there
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 07 2007

       WRT to the chaotic light could it not be sent through a series of filters (like polarisers) to achieve some sense of uniformity? I recognise that it would lose some of it's potency but that would just mean upping the amount captured.
Mony a Mickle, Nov 13 2008

       One good thing about fiber optics is they don't require polarized light, but they do transmit a constant wavelength though. Perhaps the focused lightbeam from the mirror could be re-aimed with a divergent lense toward a prism where it would be split up and then directed through the respective optical fiber waveguides and then recombined at the end. I like inventive ways to burn things. [+]
quantum_flux, Nov 13 2008

       I want a solar death horse.
zen_tom, Nov 13 2008

       Wikipedia has a nice write up on the Archimedes Heat Ray [link] that was designed to focus sunlight using polished copper mirrors on a wooden ship and burn it up. The experiments cited produced some flames and charring. If you add the fiber optics loses mentioned in previous posts your "death hose" might be good to touch up suntans. Think of it this way death is overrated anyway.
theGem, Nov 13 2008

       sp. losses
neelandan, Nov 13 2008

       With direct sunlight, I can burn holes in things by focusing the light through my glasses, so you could probably do quite a lot with a relatively modest-sized collector. Or ... <looks up some numbers> ... if sunlight gives you about 200 W/m^2 - then a 0.5m^2 mirror concentrated on a 1cm^2 area will give you an equivalent of 0.5 MW/m^2 on the target. This doesn't account for losses but it would still be quite a lot.
hippo, Nov 13 2008

       Hmm. Perhaps all that solar power could be used as pump energy to generate a coherent light beam ?
8th of 7, Nov 13 2008

       // I originally envisioned this as a backpack-sized device you wear when facing away from the sun ... //   

       If you dropped the fiber optics and adjusted the focus of the mirrors you could create a nasty flame thrower by lighting farts. Toot toot, scorch that foe sneaking up on you from the rear.
theGem, Nov 13 2008

       I'm pretty sure mythbusters disproved the Archimedes death-ray.
Domser, Nov 13 2008

       It did. It's in the Wikipedia Archimedes Heat Ray link.
theGem, Nov 13 2008

       Somehow i doubt that you would get much more than a severe sunburn unless you were willing to just stand there and wait to die. Stop there evil doer, or suffer temporary blindness! Furthermore arguing for ethical use of this as a weapon would be like arguing that magnifying glasses were a ethical way to control ant infestations; cruel and pointlessly ineffective.
WcW, Nov 13 2008


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