The word “laser” brings to mind explosion-filled fight scenes from sci-fi movies, but the technology functions differently in the real world. Instead of being the cool weapon you think of, lasers perform more practical uses. So far, amplified light has proven to be useful in different industries.
Most notable examples include these three:
Surprising as it may seem, lasers are actually useful in agriculture. The most common use of the technology is in land surveying and leveling. Through the use of equipment like prism systems that bend light into 90-degree laser beams, the laser analyzes the lay of the land and provides important information to farmers. Some devices could even level the land automatically, thus improving overall farm efficiency.
Contrary to agriculture, lasers in metalworking go beyond analyzing and leveling land. In this industry, machinists use amplified light to slice through sheets and pieces of steel. Normally, this is applicable to flat sheets and round pipes. The technology removes the need for clunky mechanical parts that grind through the piece, thus improving the cleanliness and smoothness of the output. The laser melts the steel, burns it, and blows it away to make the desired cut. Laser’s purpose in metalworking is also applicable in the manufacturing process of the aerospace and automotive industries.
The use of lasers in mining bears a few similarities to its functions in agriculture. Yes, the mining applications of lasers include surveying and profiling land, but there is much more to that. What the laser does is map out the area, profile the rock faces, and measure the stockpile volume underneath all the rocks and soil. Some might think this is unimportant, but laser’s function in this industry is critical to ensure sound management decisions and safe labor practices, especially when it comes to setting off explosives.
The world may still be a decade or so away from turning lasers into sci-fi-esque weapons, but that doesn’t mean the technology is useless. After all, modern life wouldn’t be this advanced if not for amplified light.