USA Science and Engineering Festival


James Roche explains how LiDar and the squealing wall work at the Laser Haunted House at the 2010 USA Science and Engineering Festival.

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October 23rd and 24th marked the beginning of the USA Science and Engineering Festival and the opening of our Laser Haunted House. Inside the house was a LiDAR device that made three dimensional scans of a skull and was a stop along the Evolution Trail where stamps could be redeemed for a prize. Next to the LiDAR detector was an image of an eye being projected into a glass bulb, illustrating how light bends, while creeping out the visitors who felt as though they were being watched. Further down the line was the squealing wall where visitors could hear the spooky sounds of interference when a laser is reflected back on itself.

There were other demonstrations not shown in the picture, which included SpectraSound, the device that uses laser modulation to give operators the same power as a DJ, scratching with lasers to Monster Mash. If SpectraSound wasn’t spooky enough, to keep the Halloween dance party alive, dancing lasers were reflected off mirrors attached to a speaker, vibrating with the sounds of Halloween themed music and demonstrating the principles of reflection. Beside this demonstration, whirling around the top of a modified turntable, lasers refracted or bent through a special transparent sheet, making ghostly patterns on the ceiling of the black tent. If visitors dared to venture further, they were greeted by Sean O’Malley from, Assistant Professor at Rutgers University who uses a YAG laser used to remove tattoos from a piece of mounted pig skin. When visitors survived all of the demonstrations, they were rewarded with a throwie, a small LED and battery that when secured with a sticker lights up.