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There are many, many accessories for your iPhone, ranging from the clumsy cash-in to the elegantly designed solution to make your phone that much better. As you might have gathered, the iPin serves as an example of the latter.

A Laser For All Seasons

First of all, yes, as you may have guessed, it’s a laser. What makes it clever, though, is that it’s a laser crammed into a tiny, tiny space; the entire thing is designed to fit into a headphone jack. Just slot the laser into a 3.5mm jack and you’ve got an instant pointer. But how the hell does it pull off such a feat of miniaturization?

Circuitfree

The short answer is that it does away with some of the bulkier aspects of lasers. Most lasers, even cheap laser pointers from the gas station have a circuit attached for the sole purpose of dissipating heat; lasers can, obviously, run pretty hot and that heat can cause a lot of damage. The iPin team has an embedded laser diode inside the jack that doesn’t need the circuit.

Partially that’s because the laser in question is a 635nm laser, which is both brighter and safer to humans, although this is still a class 2 laser we’re talking about, so don’t shine it in any eyes, or try to use it on a pilot as they’re taking off. It’s even got a clever mechanism to shut it off; just turn the pin 90 degrees.

Frickin’ Laser Beams

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True, the iPin is mostly for people who either need a laser pointer for everyday life (or to control computer presentations), or people who like having lasers on them because lasers are awesome. Then again “lasers are awesome” is a hard life strategy to argue against. If that describes you, you can pick up the iPin online for $50.



Dan Seitz

 
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.