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2006: Countering laser pointer threats to road safety

Sören Svensson, Stefan Björkert, Hans Kariis and Cesar Lopes


The market demand for bright laser pointers has led to the development of readily available devices that can pose a threat to road safety. Laser pointers can be involved in accidents caused by laser users who do not realise the dangers involved, but laser pointers can also enable deliberate criminal activity.

There are technologies available that can counter the threat in different ways. A number of protective principles are outlined below. Some technologies built upon Liquid Crystal Devices are described in greater detail.

Without any knowledge of what laser pointers a potential aggressor has access to, a frequency agile filter seems to be the most promising way to avoid the most severe consequences of dazzle from laser pointers. Protective systems incorporating suitable glasses or visors holding frequency agile filters of this kind however, are not commercially available today.

From Sören Svensson ; Stefan Björkert ; Hans Kariis and Cesar Lopes, "Countering laser pointer threats to road safety", Proc. SPIE 6402, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism and Crime Fighting II, 640207 (September 28, 2006); doi:10.1117/12.689057; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.689057. Available online at the SPIE Digital Library.