New Las Vegas hotel's unintentional 'death ray' is a design flaw

As if the sun didn't make things hot enough on its own in the Las Vegas desert, the newly opened Vdara hotel is giving it a helping hand. Turns out the hotel's concave, all-glass facade is giving the sun's rays a little more focus — enough to burn guests and melt plastic bags.

Now, the "death ray" hasn't claimed any victims (yet!), though the staff of the hotel has termed it such because of the intense spots of heat its sending down into areas of the hotel's pool. According to the UK's Daily Mail, one guest was left with "severe burns:"

Chicago attorney Bill Pintas felt the power of the dangerous ray first hand last week.

'It felt like I had a chemical burn. I couldn't imagine why my head was burning,' he said.

'Within 30 seconds, the back of my legs were burning. My first though was, 'Jesus, they destroyed the ozone layer!'

Gordon Absher, a spokesman for MGM Resorts, which owns the Vdara hotel, said they was aware (sic) of the issue and designers were working with resort staff to come up with a solution.

Said "solution" is still in the works, though the building management already tried to alleviate the problem by installing a film on the glass. Apparently, the spot that's the worst is an area about 10 to 15 feet wide, and, as the sun moves across the sky, can heat up by as much as 20°. That may not sound like a lot, but toss that onto temperatures already in the 90s and 100s and see how it feels.

According to Yahoo, this isn't exactly unique to the Vdara:

It turns out that Vdara isn't the only building out there creating intense heat and glare for hapless passersby. Gordon Absher, a spokesman for MGM Resorts International, which owns Vdara, told the Review-Journal that in Las Vegas, the AdventureDome at Circus Circus and the Mandalay Bay produce "hot spots" that some guests have actually sought out, believing the spots will aid tanning regimens. In Los Angeles, the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall produced such a harsh glare that it heated nearby homes, forcing residents to blast their air conditioners high above their customary capacities in order for the residents to keep cool.

Daily Mail, via Yahoo! News

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