Laser Technology and Safety, the First Half-Century, or so …
Lasers were ‘invented’, when a (not-without-a-progenitor-controversy) group of scientists working in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s demonstrated the first devices producing light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.
This, of course, was hailed as a leap for technological advancement, but for some time thereafter, lasers were affectionately regarded as “a brilliant solution, looking for a problem” as uses for the new optical radiation technology slowly evolved out of the laboratories, to the application labs, and finally blossomed onto the wide-ranging scope of commercial and scientific uses.
Unlike prior “ages”, since the dawn of industrialization in 1750, the Laser Age was blessed with sufficiently conscientious people who almost simultaneously engaged in major safety efforts, to ensure the technology was implemented without the death and destruction that had followed much of the earlier breakthroughs (mine deaths, train disasters, nuclear and other ionizing radiation exposures, etc.)
As we walk forward through the history of developments in the laser industry, and its ancillary technologies in computer tech, vision systems, metrology, robotics, 3D, AI, medicine, displays, moving platforms….and so on, its interesting to note the simultaneous or anticipatory projection of organized safety concern both governmental and non-government