Here’s red in your eye!


DefenseTech on contact lenses designed to protect the wearer’s vision from lasers.

Don’t think for one moment that all of our gadgetry cannot be overcome, or that clever enemies will not discover how to use it against us. Everything has an Achilles heel. Remember the “laser cannon” warnings from nearly a year ago? I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about it but was stopped in my tracks when James Rummel of Hell in a Handbasket reminded me that a

US helicopter flying near the DMZ in Korea was very strongly painted by a laser. The speculation is that the Chinese, who’ve been talking about a battle-ready laser that can disrupt electronic devices, was playing cute and gave one to the North Koreans for testing.

The insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t likely to be toting around lasers to destroy the vision of our chopper pilots anytime soon, but we’ve got potential enemies with a lot more technology and money that are probably working on it as we speak.

I can see the potential of laser weapons that knock out the vision of many at once. What if an entire patrol was suddenly blinded permanently by some sort of laser device? Even if no immediate attack to exploit the incapacitated men occurred, we’d suffer the loss of combat-effective men. This could be bad, but maybe special contact lenses are the answer. Offense is almost always ahead of defense.


  1. I’d like to wear those contacts to protect my eyes from kids who like to aim those little keychain lasers at people. I understand even that relatively weak laser can damage your eyes if aimed directly into them. I very nearly got in a fight with a college kid a few years ago when he kept flashing a laser in our direction. He derided me for being unduly paranoid. I replied that I might be paranoid, but my retaliation to what he considered an unfounded threat (if he continued) would be feel REAL. He laughed, but didn’t flash the beam our way again. When I get serious, I’m rather scary. Even if a guy is younger, bigger, and stronger; and could probably beat me up; he usually realizes the ugly scene will not be worth the trouble, and since I’m an old man, he’s the one who will probably get kicked out of the place. The fact I wear an assisted opening combat knife (legal) and sometimes have a 5-shot revolver in my pocket (not legal in a public place, even with a permit, in GA) probably doesn’t enter his thinking, and I’d only use these weapons if my life and limb were threatened. But, they are the reason I’m willing to take on younger and stronger guys when necessary. I’ve suffered broken noses and cuts over the eyebrow requiring stitches before without resorting to their use, because I didn’t consider myself in serious risk of permanent injury.

  2. I’d think a reflective visor or sunglasses would easily thwart such a weapon, as well. File it under future weapons, like energy pulse rifles. Our grandkids might have to worry about such a thing. In the meantime, we’re replacing a 4-decade-out rifle design with … a 4-decade-out rifle design with incremental upgrades and star wars movies cosmetics. And, rumors are many units are packing pistols using a 94-yr-old design (upgraded versions of Browning’s brilliant M1911 design) instead of the wimpy foreign-company 9mms. The world of energy-pulse weapons, battle robots, etc. is coming — but not in the lifetimes of most reading this — and certainly not in the 2-3 decades (at most) I’ve got left. Watching R&D developments (via DARPA, etc.) will prove interesting, however. The US needs technological advantages, since we’re only 240 (or so) million people among a world headed toward 8 BILLION, and a number of free countries look to us to protect them as they criticize us and brag about how they don’t spend billions on their military, and those can spend on windpower generators and such.