Traditionally, laser technology has been associated with high-tech applications, hence its use was "reserved'' for tech-savvy individuals. However, things have changed in the 21st Century and the technology has gained widespread adoption. Some of the noticeable areas of application include medicine, military weaponry, industrial processes, and entertainment. The continued adoption has given many individuals, including hobbyists, an opportunity to dabble with the technology.
Nonetheless, lasers pose a serious threat to safety if not handled the right way. Hobbyists are particularly at a greater risk because very little awareness training is done for this segment of users unlike industrialists who have elaborate control procedures and tools. Therefore, this article highlights common tools that any laser hobbyists out there can use to protect themselves against injury:
Goggles -- whether in industrial or home application, goggles are necessary for anyone handling lasers. Stray laser beams can damage eyesight or cause instant blindness depending on the type and intensity of the beam. Dark goggles can offer protection in such cases by reducing the intensity of lasers or deflecting the beam altogether.
Gloves -- light is a form of energy that dissipates heat. As such, high intensity lasers can cause serious burns if not properly handled. In such cases, it is prudent for a hobbyist to put on specialized safety gloves. These are able to absorb laser heat and protect the handler from accidental burns
Warning signs -- as a hobbyist, it is vital to consider the safety of other people when handling lasers. Warning signs are effective ways of letting other people know that you are working on lasers and that they need to be careful. This tool might appear mundane, but the effectiveness cannot be overstated. As a hobbyist, one can decide to print a simple notice or buy one from a store.
Laser shields -- this tool is mostly used in industries, but hobbyists can still use it, especially when dabbling in high-power laser beams. In layman terms, a laser shield is a protective material (metallic or otherwise) that blocks stray beams from moving out of a controlled environment, which can be a room.
Laser meter -- as the name suggests, this tools is used for measuring the intensity or power associated with a laser. The tool is a must-have for hobbyists because they can use it to discern the safety limits of different types of lasers. For example, some types of laser meters give audible prompts whenever a beam exceeds safety limits, thereby warning the user.