Wanna shoot lasers out of your eyeballs? We're getting close. Scientists have finally done something useful for a change and stuck some glowing jellyfish genes into human cells to create bright green biolasers.
All it takes to make a laser is something that lights up, plus a structure that can amplify and focus that light into a coherent beam. In the case of these biolasers, human kidney cells have been genetically enhanced to produce the proteins that make jellyfish glow.
These glowing cells were stuck between two tiny mirrors barely bigger than the cell itself, and when the cell was energized with blue light through a microscope, it fired out a bright green directional laser beam that was visible to the naked eye, just like a little laser pointer.
Under a microscope, it looks like this:
The cell itself didn't seem to mind in the least that it was being used to blast out laser beams, which bodes well for the eventual genetic modifications that will actually totally completely for real allow you to SHOOT LASERS OUT OF YOUR EYEBALLS.
Until that happens, cells that can generate their own laser beams could come in handy for medical imaging, or to rapidly move data in and out of the body. Currently, the researchers are working on ways to stick the mirror array inside the cell itself, and there's still the problem of the energizing light source, but that could be solved by routing optical fibers directly through the body. Yeah, we're talking about implanted fiber optic cabling. To power your laser cells. Welcome to science.