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?
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
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 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.