Defence, Science and Technology Group (DST Group) have developed an exciting device for defence forces and are looking to secure an industry alliance to help take the product to the market.
DST Group have created the eye-safe attention gaining laser emitter (EAGLE), which, using a simple locking system, is designed to mount on to any weapon with a standard mounting platform.
Inventor Michael Gillyon said the invention was designed to be used specifically by military or police.
"EAGLE is designed to be particularly useful in the military or police checkpoint scenario where people are walking or driving towards a location," he said.
"Checkpoint operators want to get a person’s attention in order to get them to stop. With that use in mind, we developed a laser that is eye-safe at the aperture (in other words, from very close up) that can be directed onto a specific target.
"EAGLE is a low power device but is really quite bright and the beam is only 70 centimetres in diameter at a distance of 100 metres, so you can easily place it on the target of choice to get their attention.
"EAGLE, to my knowledge, even to this day, is still the only option for initiating a natural blink response that is eye-safe at zero range. This also means that if you turn around and clumsily shine it at a colleague you won’t injure them."
DST Group said that is an important selling point, as there have been many cases recorded of “friendly fire” using other higher-powered laser attention-gaining devices.
The invention has been almost a decade in the making, with DST Group scientist Olivia Samardzic and her colleagues first starting to look at how to safely alert people approaching a checkpoint, without harming them, in 2008.
"Defence forces wanted to be able to call in people in a slow and orderly fashion so we conducted studies to show that you could use a laser to get someone’s attention at quite some distance even in bright daylight," Samardzic said.
"All the commercial-off-the-shelf systems we were evaluating at the time had an associated eye-safety hazard distance. In other words they were unsafe.
"If you engaged at a closer distance and the person being targeted sustained an eye injury you could potentially be brought up on war crime charges. We knew there had to be a safer way to do this."
EAGLE's unique capabilities have been patented and companies interested in taking the product to the market can contact DST Group.