Homemade 38 Million Candlepower Flashlight.

Image by PopSci

So what does a bored Optics Engineer do in his free time? Build a handheld flashlight so bright it can toast a cat, of course.

The 45-year-old Dutch optics engineer has been building his own lights since he was eight, but his recent 38-million-candlepower creation, the Maxablaster, is more like a miniature star. To start, Ottow stripped out the innards of a powerful commercial flashlight and switched in a mercury arc bulb, which generates light by creating an ultra-hot plasma between two closely spaced electrodes inside the gas-filled central chamber of the lamp. That results in a brighter, more focused beam but also kicks out more ultraviolet light (hence the sunburn, a product of early testing). So he added a specially coated reflector and designed, ground, and coated a new glass window that would trap UV rays while still pumping out light.

At 38 million cp's, it creates a spot on clouds up to 4 miles high with ease.

Some numbers:
Runs on 54 NiMh 3300mAh cells.
Cost around USD1800 to make.

The mercury arc bulb

Check out the full article @ PopSci

As to why it is measured in candlepower instead of candela or lumen even though we're now in 2008? Beats me, maybe it's a western "thing".

Whatever it is, honestly, I want one. Given the right angle, it can probably blind those MAS / Air Asia pilots in flight. Sadism aside, this is definitely a piece of engineering genius.

Other stuff

More details on the rig and praises by the candlepower community.


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