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Case Study

Protecting Pilots Against Laser Attacks

Ground-to-air laser attacks on aircraft are a dangerous and growing problem for pilots around the world.

When a beam is shone at a cockpit, pilots can become distracted or suffer serious eye damage, making it difficult to navigate the aircraft. In 2013, Transport Canada reported 461 ‘lasing’ incidents, a 24 per cent increase over 2012. In the U.S. and U.K, attacks number in the thousands, annually.

Lamda Guard, a division of Metamaterials Technologies Inc., partnered successfully with researchers at the University of Moncton to develop nano-composite filters for windshields that prevent laser beams from infiltrating cockpits. This thin-film selectively blocks light from specific colors, or wavelengths, without interfering with visibility. It can also be applied to protective gear used by police, military and even dentists to shield their eyes from powerful light beams capable of causing permanent damage. This leading innovation is taking off: Lamda Guard has attracted the attention of leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which has agreed to test the filters in their planes.

"Working with researchers through NSERC grants has been a great success story for our company,” said Paul McLaughlin, Director of Product Development at Lamda Guard. “We gained access to new scientific knowledge specialised training, and professional service. What a fantastic program for companies who would like to try out new innovations and access highly knowledgeable researchers and facilities," he added.


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