In Indiana, USA a pioneering teenager has demonstrated the formidable power of the sun with a simple, hand-made device composed of 5800 tiny mirrors and an old satellite dish. The Solar Death Ray R5800, as creator Eric Jacqmain has dubbed it, is capable of melting holes through steel, burning holes through wood, and generally obliterating anything that sits in its merciless beam of heat.
A promotional video of sorts (embedded below: click play to watch!), presumably filmed by Jacqmain himself, showcases the breathtaking power his creation as he sacrifices a number of unsuspecting everyday items to its insatiable beam.
The R5800 is essentially a small-scale version of the technology used in giant Concentrating Solar Collector Towers such as this one in Spain. Mirrors reflect the sun’s light, concentrating it onto one point, which becomes incredibly hot. Liquid inside the collector tower stores the power in the form of heat. It can later be released, even during the evening, to produce electricity. This is in contrast to most grid-connected solar power systems, which have no batteries and which are therefore dormant in the evenings.
In an unfortunate (or fortunate?) turn of events, the Death Ray “committed suicide”, according to Jacqmain, when the garden shed in which it was stored burned to the ground in a suspicious accident. Undaunted, he his reportedly planning a sequel to his device, this one utilising 38,000 mirrors.
© 2010 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
Sources and Links:
Inhabitat.com: “19 year old makes solar death-ray”
Sydney Morning Herald: “Teen’s solar death-ray can melt concrete”
Jacqmain’s YouTube video of his invention
He holds a master's degree in Environmental Management from UNSW, and a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Bridgewater State University in his native Massachusetts.
He currently works remotely for Solar Choice from New York City.
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