It might look like a poor man's game of Pong
now, but a new laser steering system coming out of North Carolina State University could make blowing things up Star Wars
-style cheaper and more efficient. The setup enlists a series of "polarization gratings" through which a laser beam passes. Each of these gratings, made of liquid crystal applied to a plate of glass, are configured to redirect the light in a particular direction, thus simply steering the laser beam without significantly decreasing its power -- with each grating comes a new "steerable" angle. The system's creators point out its not only hyper accurate, but also less expensive than existing arrangements due to the use of liquid crystal. Apparently the US Air Force is already using the stuff, but don't expect them to go all Death Star anytime soon.