Laserpod - your own personal light show
The Laserpod is a lamp, with a bit of a difference. Accoding to the booklet that comes with the product the Laserpod 'brings science and nature together to create ever-changing organic lifeforms of profound beauty'. That's quite some claim so let's investigate what it actually is and does.
The Laserpod comes in a nice clean 'modern' package. Open it up and inside you'll find a polystyrene package containing the elements of your new toy: a base unit, a power supply, a glass refractor lens and a couple of diffuser domes. As well as main power the unit will work from 3xAAA batteries, although there is no indication how long those would last.
The base unit does all the work. Peering in at the top (something you must not do when it's switched on!) there is a silver reflector surrounding the light source, which is a group of 3 LEDs, one of which I believe is a laser LED - the same kind of device corporate marketing execs find in there 'pointers' for presentations. The laser LED provides sharp points of light while the other two provide more cloud-like illumination. Mounted over the array of LEDs is a complex crystal. It looks like, and has similar function to one of the many-faced disco mirror balls that shine strands of light all over the dance floor as they rotate. In this case the light shines through the crystal as it revolves and is refracted, split and reflected creating from one source many points of light, all continually moving.
You can use the base unit by itself. For best effect we found placing it in the middle of a darkenned room allowing the points of light to scatter over wall and ceiling. It's very much like looking at a scene from Star Trek as the moving lights are traced across any surface they hit. One of the nice things about laser light though is that it works even in broad day-light, although the sharp points are all you see with the subtle cloud effects lost.
The glass refractor lens can be placed over the crystral which diffuses the sharp laser light, creating something much softer. Almost like clouds of light drifting over the ceiling. This mode is much more relaxing, but only visible in low light - probably better for relaxing the mind after a hard day! It's also somewhat easier on the eyes. The raw red harsh point of a laser I find very hard to focus - your eyes are forever trying to adjust to see something that seems to be in the wrong place. The diffuser avoids this.
Once you've shown all your friends your trendy new laserpod light shows on the ceiling you can use it in it's other mode - as a table-top lamp. You do this by fitting one of the two domed diffusers. These take the place of your ceiling, the light from the laser being projected onto the dome rather than your walls. Using the Laserpod in this way is much more akin to the old Lava Lamps. The effect is just as hypnotic - and in just the same way you can sit and watch as the minutes turn into hours!
The base unit has a single button. Press it once and the unit switches on - with all 3 LEDs active. Press again and you get just the sharp laser light. Press it again to turn off the unit. You are encouraged to try various combinations of light setting, diffuser and domes - you certainly have much more flexibility than with a lava lamp.
I haven't tried the Laserpod as a bedroom accessory, although I can imagine for those that find it hard to free up their mind and sleep, laying back and watching the diffuse clouds wander lasily across your ceiling may well help even the most stressed relax!
The Laser Pod is made by a company called Plugg. According to their booklet one is encouraged to look out for further accessories to provide more effects from the laserpod. I checked their web-site and the only accessory currently available is a 'smoke' diffuser. In this product you fill the special dome with smoke then place it over the light souce. This one assumes adds swirling gas clouds to the mix. Not sure where the smoke comes from in this age of healthy living of course!
The Laserpod is available directly from Plugg for £60, but ours was provided by The Gadget Store - who are selling the product for £55.95 at the moment. They also have some good images of what you can see. I tried taking some, but couldn't really do the product justice!
I'm not going to rate this product for value for money, because it's not that kind of product! If you want something unusual, hypnotic, entrancing or just plain cool then it's great value for money. If you want a standard lamp then it's probably not for you!
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