Superman's "Heat Vision" comes to life with new, eye-tracking lasers

They even burn through cardboard.
Irmak Bayrakdar
The eye-tracking lasers in action.Hacksmith Industries/YouTube

We're all familiar with the story of Clark Kent, a journalist from Metropolis who's in fact Superman, the alias Earthlings have come to know him. One of DC Universe's most influential superheroes, Superman boasts superpowers including superhuman strength, impenetrable skin, flight, and "Heat Vision" -- where he can shoot laser beams out of his eyes that are hot enough to melt, well, anything.

What if those who weren't born on Krypton could also shoot laser beams with mere eye movements? Famous for turning fictional items into real-life projects, Hacksmith Industries decided to find an answer to that question. Their latest project features real-life burning lasers that shoot wherever you look inspired by Superman's Heat Vision. 

Building real-life eye movement-controlled lasers

The team started the project with eye-tracking glasses that are initially built for AR/VR technologies for gaming and medical industries. With some calibration, the glasses can be made to match their IMU to where the user's eyes are looking. Next, they put together two 2.5-watt laser projectors with eye-tracking glasses with some coding magic thanks to Python. For precision and depth analysis, they also added a laser range finder to the mix.

The lasers' powers combined reached about 5 watts; that's enough to burn stuff and, possibly, make one go blind. That's why they upgraded the contraception by putting laser safety goggles inside the glasses. 

To complete the build, the team used pads to build a shoulder mount using camera equipment that could keep the lasers on the user's shoulders at precisely the same level as their head. To hide the rest of the electronics and the wireless router that are needed to make the magic happen, they used a backpack with a Superman logo to wear with the shoulder mount. 

Can you light matches with your eyes?

For the final demonstration, the team used the lasers to pop balloons from various lengths and through mirrors, light matches, and burn through cardboard pieces. They even used propane on balloons for that extra burning sensation. 

You can check out the whole building process and the final demonstration in the video down below. 

While this just-for-fun project would be cool to see in real life, it's a scary thought what it could evolve into if fell into the wrong hands. No, we're not talking about Lex Luthor. 

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