I was very excited to read today in the New York Times about the invention of an anti-laser. Essentially, this is a device that reverses what a laser does — it absorbs coherent laser light rather than generate it.

Now that physicists have established a methodology for reversing such a fundamental technology, I am eager to see them apply the principle to other mechanisms of interest. Here are a few ideas which I am hoping will inspire any ambitious physicists out there looking for a worthy and interesting project:

  1. An anti-clock: When I am late for an appointment or meeting, this technology would allow me to reverse what a clock does — by absorbing time rather than generating it. Interestingly, there were several times just today when I could have used such a technology.
  2. An anti-Muzak: When you are trapped in your dentist’s waiting room, and you realize you are hearing the Soft Sounds of the 1000 Strings Orchestra version of of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the seventh time, that’s when you really need a physicist — someone who can invent a way to reverse such abominations, rather than generate them. Maybe, with any luck, if you play one of those things backwards you’ll hear the voice of Kurt Cobain.
  3. An anti-social-gaffe: I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I have plunged myself into complete social disaster through a single ill-conceived remark. I would be quite interested in a technology that would allow me to reverse such a social gaffe, rather than generate one. In fact, I really could have used one of these at that dinner party this past Sunday (sigh).

Does anyone else have any similar promising areas of research to propose? I really think we all owe it to our physicist friends to give them plenty of opportunities to build truly useful and groundbreaking anti-devices.

5 thoughts on “Anti-laser”

  1. Anti-Intoxicant: Get totally hammered at the bar, activate, drive home safely.
    Anti-Procrastinator: Turn all that time I spend on Reddit into actual productivity.
    Anti-Stupidifier: Turn a debate about creationism into the next great revolution in philosophical thought.

  2. I’m all for Anti-gaffe, and willing to take up to Anti-speech (?). Often I need to take back what I’ve said 🙂 Then what’s the implication with any speech-based function in society… such as trials and criminals, testimonies, confessions? I guess we should make it so that some things can’t be taken back 🙂

  3. I was riffing on Dr. Evil, who called them maybe, “Friggin'” laser beams…

    The love is here.

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