Written by Tom Nugent on Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
Thanks to Lloyd Budd, President at LNJ Media Productions for sharing this video of LaserMotive’s new InvisiTower tethered VTOL powered by our laser Power over Fiber (PoF) technology, as well as our other wireless power systems. Check back later for more updates from our SPIE DS&S appearance!
Written by Tom Nugent on Monday, April 29th, 2013
LaserMotive Unveils World’s First Aircraft System Powered by Laser Over Fiber
First Public Flight Powered by New System to Be Held at SPIE Defense, Security & Sensing
BALTIMORE, MD–(Marketwired – Apr 29, 2013) – LaserMotive, an independent company specializing in delivering electric power via lasers, today unveiled InvisiTower, the world’s first tethered vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft system powered by laser over optical fiber. The new, portable system can power any multi-rotor helicopter indefinitely using laser power sent via fiber optic cable, enabling aircraft to stay in the air as long as power is available on the ground. The first public flight of an aircraft powered by the new system will take place this week at the SPIE Defense, Security & Sensing (DS&S) tradeshow at the Baltimore Convention Center in technical demonstration booth T2 and booth #1970.
InvisiTower enables any helicopter to stay in the air as long as power is available on the ground. The system is compact and portable (small enough to fit in the back of an SUV) and does not require a pilot to fly — just someone to monitor the video coming from it.
At DS&S, LaserMotive will be demonstrating InvisiTower powering a small quadrocopter, which will fly each day of the tradeshow.
“The beauty of the InvisiTower system is that it allows unlimited flight even in small systems because fiber optics are much lighter than copper wires,” said Tom Nugent, president and CEO of LaserMotive. “In addition, it is safer because the fiber cable is nonconductive — it won’t conduct lightning or short out power lines — and no high voltages are needed. The laser energy is completely contained, and interlocked in case the cable is damaged, so there are no laser safety issues.”
InvisiTower can be used for a variety of applications in both the military and civilian markets including: ISR and situational awareness, communications relay, news & sports reporters, first responders, and industrial facility security.
InvisiTower is based on LaserMotive’s Power over Fiber system announced earlier this year, which takes LaserMotive’s free-space laser power beaming systems that have set multiple records delivering power to mobile robots and UAVs and sends the laser light over optical fiber. Power over Fiber can deliver power over long distances safely and without interference in the presence of high voltages, RF fields and electromagnetic pulses, or strong magnetic fields.
Headquartered in Kent, Wash., LaserMotive is a privately-held R&D company specializing in laser power beaming for commercial applications. The company was co-founded in 2006 by Dr. Jordin Kare, one of the foremost experts on laser propulsion, and Tom Nugent, former Research Director for LiftPort Group. Its industry partners include some of the leading companies in aerospace and lasers, including Lockheed Martin, The Boeing Company (Spectrolab), DILAS, and OFS. For more information, including a video demonstrating the PoF system, please visit the company website at http://lasermotive.com/products/power-over-fiber/.
Written by Tom Nugent on Saturday, April 13th, 2013
LaserMotive is going to have a special demonstration at this year’s SPIE Defense, Security & Sensing trade show in Baltimore. The next version of our laser power over fiber product line, capable of producing 70 watts, will be used to fly a VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) quadrocopter. The tethered VTOL system will be flying inside the Baltimore convention center throughout the trade show. We will have more to say about the system in the next few weeks.
You can read more at this SF Gate story: SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing exhibition, technical events will connect researchers and suppliers in Baltimore
Written by Tom Nugent on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
Clayton Christenson has a very important article in the NYT this week: A Capitalist’s Dilemma, Whoever Wins on Tuesday. He talks about the importance of different types of innovation to improving our economy.
Executives and investors might finance three types of innovations with their capital. I’ll call the first type “empowering” innovations. These transform complicated and costly products available to a few into simpler, cheaper products available to the many.
The second type are “sustaining” innovations. These replace old products with new models.
The third type are “efficiency” innovations. These reduce the cost of making and distributing existing products and services.
The economic machine is out of balance and losing its horsepower. But why?
The answer is that efficiency innovations are liberating capital, and in the United States this capital is being reinvested into still more efficiency innovations. In contrast, America is generating many fewer empowering innovations than in the past. We need to reset the balance between empowering and efficiency innovations
LaserMotive’s laser power technology is a prime example of an “empowering” innovation, which is the type most sorely needed right now!
Christenson goes on to discuss how the rules of allocating capital in an economy were formulated when capital was scarce. But these days, capital is abundant and certain new skills are scarce. We at LaserMotive are doing what we can to encourage students to learn the skills they need, by mentoring high school science fair students and talking with students when we can. We all can help educate and excite kids about new technology and what they’ll need to learn to be able to work on it!
Written by Tom Nugent on Friday, October 19th, 2012
An editorial in this week’s Aviation Week & Space Technology, “It Is Good That Wackiness Is Alive In Aerospace” talks about the need for innovation in an industry that has been becoming more risk averse. They mention LaserMotive and our recent laser-powered UAV flights with Lockheed Martin as one example of ways to make innovation happen.
Written by Tom Nugent on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
Next Tuesday, October 16th, Tom Nugent from LaserMotive will join Joe Landon from Space Angels Network and Chris Lewicki of Planetary Resources for a fun evening of discussions and networking: “Space Angels Network Presents: Meet the Space Entrepreneurs of Seattle” From the event registration page:
Space Angels Network invites you to embrace boldness, risk, and ideas that are out of this world.
Test your imagination of the limitless potential of startups, and please join us for an evening of discussion and networking with entrepreneurs on a mission to grow innovation in one of the most challenging industries: space!
Come join us!
UPDATE: A video snippet is now online, courtesy of Space Angels Network.
Written by Tom Nugent on Friday, September 7th, 2012
This video, “Unmanned aerial drones could run on laser power,” nicely summarizes what is possible for powering UAVs like the Lockheed Martin Stalker. Note that the power levels indicated in the video are not the actual power levels for the real flights we did.
Written by Tom Nugent on Thursday, August 16th, 2012
Bill Wong from Engineering TV interviewed Tom Nugent about our recent success in applying laser power to the Lockheed Martin Stalker. The video is titled, “LaserMotive Powers Lockheed Martin’s Stalker UAS – AUVSI Unmanned Systems 2012.” Here it is:
They also have a separate video discussing generally how our wireless power technology works: “How Does LaserMotive Power Beaming Work? – AUVSI Unmanned Systems 2012.”
Written by Tom Nugent on Monday, August 13th, 2012
The video below by Lockheed Martin was shot during last week’s AUVSI Unmanned Systems show. They talk about ways they’re extending their Stalker endurance, including with LaserMotive’s wireless power technology. We’re looking forward to further advancing the ability of the Stalker UAS to fly without landing!