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Talking plasma laser balls
Now this is just darn cool:


What sort of applications might this have (peaceful or otherwise) in the OA future?

Laser flashbang grenades seem useful. A long series of loud reports accompanied by flashes directly over the heads of a crowd might make them scatter, even if the detonations are almost completely harmless.

Note as well that a similar technology is also being developed that could produce glowing images in thin air, and maybe even spoof certain types of radar; these could produce fake aircraft signatures in empty space, attracting anti-aircraft measures, or simply confuse ground troops and other opponents.

Lasers can't be used to blind human opponents according to current warfare conventions, but this wouldn't apply to robotic opponents. Well-designed robot war machines would have defences against blinding anyway, at the very least multiple forms of sensor operating at different wavelengths. But these glowing and talking plasma ball projectors could be used to confuse, rather than blind, an enemy.
Beyond military applications, I can see a future version of this tech allowing the creation of 'virtual speakers' at any point in space in line of sight of the laser(s). Combined with the production of images in the air and you basically have the SF type holograms - but the sound part would actually come from the image, not from speakers in the room.

Also, you could (with sufficiently powerful and well controlled lasers) replicate the trick seen in some SF (notably Stargate: SG1) of projecting a voice (and possibly an image) from an orbiting spacecraft or installation. We've discussed transapients being able to do such things due to their enhanced intelligence, and this would make that easier.

Some fun everyday applications, basically.

If the concussion from the flash-bangs is powerful enough under direct contact to make it work, spallation-based remote drilling of rock, concrete, and similar materials would be an interesting application.
I had to share this on some BattleTech and Shadowrun groups. The potential for corporate security and gamemaster entertainment is endless.

"Hey, you! Stop loitering outside this facility!"
"Who? What? Who said that?!"
"You got your warning. Time to meet Mr. Endless Flash-Bang!"
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

"Everbody's always in favor of saving Hitler's brain, but when you put it in the body of a great white shark, oh, suddenly you've gone too far." -- Professor Farnsworth, Futurama

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