Testing dangerous DIY “medical” lasers from eBay

this video is sponsored by surfshark vpn. 
hey everybody recently i was browsing around   on the weird side of ebay when i came across 
some interesting laser gadgets in the health   and beauty section now you'd probably think this 
stuff here would be pretty benign well at least   compared to what i'm used to buying on ebay but 
i mean some of this stuff is really concerning i   mean these things are advertised to do procedures 
that typically require huge lasers so that means   that either these things are fake or they're 
extremely dangerous now naturally i had to find   out for myself what kind of lasers we're dealing 
with here so i bought a few to test out for this   video oh yeah before i go on i should warn you 
that all the crazy stuff you're about to see was   done completely for educational purposes i mean 
if DIYing medical treatment wasn't sketchy enough   then doing it with some mystery device that was 
made without any regards to safety regulations   is a big no-no so yeah please don't try this 
at home all right let's start with this one   this is the neat cell spot removal laser which is 
apparently an amazing all-in-one cosmetic device   this thing can apparently remove moles tattoos 
freckles warts and pretty much any blemish you   can think of and all for only forty dollars wow 
what a deal now is this thing actually legit or   is it just the led equivalent of essential oils? 
well one way to find out.

electronics

This is all what came   with the kit here you got the main device right 
here a power supply these goggles and then uh   these instructions now as a general rule i don't 
trust goggles that come with cheap kits like these   so i'll be using my own to test this thing 
out now there really isn't any assembly here   i mean the thing just turns on when i plug 
it in now i guess uh i guess this changes the   power here and then this changes uh i guess 
the frequency well here goes nothing oh no   no okay this is one of the worst ideas i've ever 
seen make into a commercial product like where   do i even start this thing is just a powerful 
blue laser diode jammed in a pen style casing   which honestly isn't even that much different 
than many of the lasers i've shown on this channel   but using this as a cosmetic device there are so 
many issues with that let's start with a laser's   color blue light tends to be strongly absorbed 
by skin which means you end up dumping most of   the laser's power into healthy skin tissue this is 
a big problem as the whole idea is to not destroy   your skin as you target an unwanted blemish like a 
tattoo it's not like this thing is weak either it   clearly packs a lot of power it can easily light 
matches as well as burn a bunch of other materials   so what can this thing do to skin well can't 
hurt to try right heck ow yeah that wasn't   pleasant at all i can't imagine how awful it 
would feel trying to laser off an entire tattoo   with something like this best case scenario 
you replace the tattoo with a horrific scar   worst case scenario well there's a lot of worst 
case scenarios here believe it or not the burn   hazard is not the biggest risk here as usual with 
powerful lasers the real risk is instant permanent   blindness in fact let's test the average output 
power with my laser power meter by gentec eo okay so a little under a watt that puts in 
the highest laser danger category there is   which means just looking at the spot on your skin 
can burn your eyes out without goggles speaking of   goggles let's take a look at the goggles that came 
with the laser huh look at that they're completely   opaque you can't see anything through them how are 
you supposed to operate the laser if you can't see   anything well that's the thing these aren't 
meant for you they're meant for your patience   this thing is advertised to treat basically 
everything including common facial blemishes   like acne and freckles pointing this thing 
at your face is just asking to go blind and   that's ignoring the fact that this thing would 
likely give horrible scars on your face as well   oh yeah one more thing why is the laser flashing 
like that well it turns out that pulse lasers are   preferred for a lot of dermatology treatments as 
it allows a target to be destroyed faster than   the heat produced can diffuse out and damage other 
tissues however there's one problem with that the   listing claims that the laser can do picosecond 
pulses which would be an incredible feat for a   laser of this size it turns out though that the 
pulses are a little over a tenth of a second   which is not only too slow to make much of an 
effect here but it also means that the seller's   claim is off by a factor of over 100 billion i'm 
legitimately impressed on how many bad ideas were   jammed into the single device i mean this thing's 
a stain on our species but seriously though if you   know anybody with one of these or something 
similar please tell them to get rid of it   immediately this product is alarmingly popular and 
has serious potential to cause permanent injury   for the record there are similar products out 
there with different names and some versions use   a near ir laser instead of a blue one these are 
all likely to be just as awful as the one i tested   to make matters worse simply looking up info on 
laser tattoo removal means you'll probably get ads   for this terrible device or maybe you'll just say 
in a facebook message that you regret a tattoo and   next thing you know the entire internet is trying 
to sell you one this is a dangerous side effect   of being cyber stalked by massive corporations 
because they'd much rather sell you this trash   than refer you to a doctor now luckily there's an 
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surf surfshark for sponsoring this video   alright on to the next one this system is 
advertised to do pretty much the same thing   as the last laser except this one's 10 times more 
expensive and obviously a lot bigger i've already   made an entire video on this ridiculous system 
in the past but since this is a video on sketchy   diy medical lasers i'm obligated to break this 
thing out again there's a lot more to this kit   than the last one for one the laser head here is 
separate from the power supply then you have all   this other gear here i got a foot switch here 
you got these tips here that change the lasers   output color i got some actual operator goggles as 
well as the patient goggles i got this funnel for   adding cooling water and this treatment cream here 
so what's so different about this one compared   to the pen laser if they're both supposed to 
treat the same thing well pretty much everything unlike the last one which was a diode laser this 
is an old-school flashlamp pumped laser that uses   Nd:YAG as the lasing medium in fact it's quite 
similar to the first lasers ever built in that   regard don't let the old tech fool you though 
this is an absolutely terrifying laser in fact   it's so powerful that it trashed the sensors on 
the cameras i used to film it and that's without   even taking a direct hit the peak output power 
here is millions of watts which is powerful enough   to ignite air at the focal point and blow craters 
in a block of tungsten for those that watch the   original video of mine you might remember that 
i blew up the flash lamp while trying to make   it stronger in my defense i bought the laser 
used and the lamp was already near end of life   luckily it was easy to score a replacement 
lamp and get the laser back to working order   of course it's hard to find words to describe 
the eye hazard of a laser like this by far the   biggest flaw with this kit is that the goggles 
sent with it are totally useless for the laser   the fact that you can still see green light coming 
through them means there's no protection here   plus as my camera shows you don't need to point it 
directly in your eye for it to cause irreparable   damage in fact a set of high od wraparound goggles 
that actually protect you from the laser will cost   nearly as much as the laser itself on the flip 
side the nerd in me is really impressed that a   q switch jag laser system with relatively high 
pulse energy can be bought for dollars i mean   seriously you'd be hard-pressed to beat that 
price if you build a similar system on your own   the laser is clearly good at blowing craters into 
things but is it any good of the treatments it's   advertised for well it depends now i should be 
careful how i say this but i do think a trained   operator could use this system to remove some 
types of tattoos i mean the short pulses and   wavelength options are similar to what you'd find 
in some professional systems unlike the last laser   this system produces extremely short pulses on 
the order of 10 billionths of a second this allows   the laser to obliterate tattoo pigments while 
leaving the surrounding skin relatively unharmed   that being said the reason it's so cheap is 
because safety regulations were not taken   into account while designing this this thing is 
nowhere near an ideal system i mean the controls   are very inaccurate and sometimes the laser just 
shoots out random pulses for no reason at all   to top it off even a professional system in 
the hands of an untrained operator is bound   to leave lots of scarring in whoever gets 
used on this system isn't just advertised   to remove tattoos it also claims to be able to 
remove eyebrows and skin blemishes now eyebrows   in case it isn't obvious pointing a million 
white laser at your face isn't a great idea   but the thing is this isn't even a good system for 
removing hair there are lasers that can do that   but they have much longer pulse lengths which 
are more ideal for blowing up hair follicles   aside from the intended purposes for the 
laser this thing can pull off some pretty   crazy experiments the power density at the focal 
point is so high that it'll actually ignite air   plus with the frequency doubling tip the laser 
is transformed into a scary powerful green laser   and then that can be used to excite organic dyes 
to the point that they operate as a laser as well   compared to the last kit this one is certainly 
more impressive i mean other than the astronomical   blinding hazard it could probably be used by a 
trained operator to remove some types of tattoos   it would still be a terrible idea to use it on 
yourself though alright what do we have next   oh yeah how about this laser plasma thing 
this one is supposed to remove a lot of   the same blemishes as the other systems but 
this one is by far the cheapest of the bunch   at a little over five dollars it's also the most 
mysterious one no instructions came with the thing   just the device and some needle attachments 
i have no clue how i'm supposed to use it   honestly this doesn't look like a laser at all 
i mean if this is supposed to be the output   it certainly isn't visible light that it 
produces well let's turn this thing on   um is it even oh okay yeah so okay that must 
be activated and this has to be the output huh heck what is this thing i mean it's definitely 
not a laser there's no visible output but it   definitely burns or shocks or something wow 
yeah so it can definitely burn but the tip   itself isn't hot so it's got to be producing high 
frequency electricity to burn like that okay check   this out since it can light up this neon bulb 
this thing has got to be producing relatively   high voltage i mean these things don't light up 
until you're close to 100 volts or so okay this   is really impressive so this is a nixie bulb here 
and look at that it lights the whole thing up i   can even do it capacitively straight through 
the glass wow yeah that is really really cool i've played with it a bit more now and i've 
noticed that it seems to produce an arc to   objects that have a bit of capacitance to them 
it's actually kind of fun engraving anodized   metals with it when the power's cranked up plus 
i can use it to draw silly things on an apple alright so it's a lot of fun for screwing around 
with but is it of any use for burning off skin   blemishes well the thing is high voltage high 
frequency sources do get used in medicine to burn   off skin blemishes they don't exactly look like 
this though the idea itself is pretty cool though   because at high enough frequencies the polarity 
flips faster than nerve cells can be depolarized   this is why it can burn but not shock of course 
that speaks nothing about the safety of this thing   now that being said i do want to try removing 
a scar just to see how well it works this scar   right here seems to cause me a lot of problems in 
my social life all right here goes nothing oh heck   why do i do this stuff oh oh this 
sucks oh my gosh oh it smells so bad   oh that was extremely unpleasant now i'm too 
impatient to wait and see what this thing turns   into but judging by how that felt it's got 
to make whatever blemish you have much worse   now there could also be a risk of deep tissue 
burns here i'm curious what's actually inside   this thing so i'm going to tear it apart wow 
the fda and fcc would have a stroke over this what is this a slayer exciter circuit 
i mean the burns from this thing feel   a lot like the burns my slayer 
cider gives me ow hmm i wonder i'm kidding well i certainly don't recommend this 
for any sort of medical or cosmetic use   and this thing definitely isn't 
a laser like the listing said   however it still may be useful as a portable 
high frequency source for lining up gas tubes all right what do we have left well 
a lot of things but i'm just going   to skip to this monstrosity this is a huge 
surgical laser that came out of a hospital   now i'll be honest it's not totally fair to 
include this one in the video because it was   never marketed for diy use now that being said 
it is still a medical laser i did buy on ebay   and i like a lot of medical goodies this one 
ended up on the surplus market when its licensing   expired and a newer laser tech became available 
now i knew this thing was 150 grand but thanks   to ebay i bought this one for 500 bucks this thing 
can do over 100 watts average of green light which   makes it by far the brightest laser that i own 
the peak output power is many thousands of watts pump and dump baby 100 watts of green light is so bright 
that it's hard to capture on camera   so as a comparison here i have a 1.6 watt 
green laser that i threw together recently   now obviously this thing is extremely 
bright i mean it lights up my entire shop   now let's take a look at what this looks 
like compared to the surgical laser   pretty crazy right that makes this thing look 
like nothing as expected this thing can tear   through a lot of materials as it was designed 
for blowing up flesh in a surgical setting   this laser actually has a lot in common with 
the big tattoo laser they're both lamp pumped   frequency doubled Nd:YAG lasers but this one 
uses an arc lamp instead of a flash lamp this   means the output is more or less continuous i see 
more or less because this laser is actually pulsed   it just looks continuous because the rep rate 
is so high believe it or not that thing is only   outputting light about one percent of the time but 
it's doing so in pulses that exceed 10 000 watts   the lamp actually stays on the entire time here 
but these pulses are generated via q switching by   an acousto optic modulator this kills the gain 
of the cavity for a brief period to allow the   YAG crystal to build up energy then it restores 
the gain for a moment to allow the energy to be   released all at once in a powerful pulse of light 
these pulses have two functions for one they're   preferred over cw and many surgical applications 
involving ablating tissues but it also makes   the conversion step from ir to green much more 
efficient and this is due to the gigantic power   density contained in the frequency doubling 
crystal the pulses are being generated many   thousands of times per second and in fact you can 
hear the pulses when i stick something in the beam   that hum is actually due to the laser 
pulses inducing vibrations in the material this laser was not plug and play like the 
other ones in fact the manufacturer put   considerable effort to prevent people 
like me from being able to use it   obviously that wasn't able to stop me but it 
wasn't exactly due to genius on my part the first   issues i encountered were probably due to the fact 
that this thing sat in storage for several years   a water cooling line exploded and soaked the 
electronics inside the first time i powered it up   i replaced some bad fittings and then let 
it dry for a while before firing it up again   surprisingly it still started up just fine after 
this but even so the onboard computer prevented   the system from making any output without being 
fed service cards this meant that i needed to   either build my own crude lamp supply for the 
laser or just find a way to hack the onboard   computer the first option would be painstaking 
and sub-optimal so the second option was by far   preferred i don't exactly get along with digital 
electronics but thankfully i knew just who to ask   for help with this my friend kevin who's the owner 
of starlight photonics has spent considerable time   reverse engineering the surgical laser and has 
even developed a board that overrides the original   controls i bought one of these boards from him 
and sure enough it worked super well i just had to   solder a few connections and after that i had full 
control over the system i can adjust a bunch of   parameters like lamp current and q switch rate as 
well as monitor the water temperature and pressure   his board plus this surgical laser gives an 
unbelievably low cost way of attaining a 100 watt   green laser system i don't usually recommend ebay 
sellers but this is an exception i've bought from   starlight photonics for many years and i've gotten 
a lot of cool parts for my projects from them   now obviously attaining a 100 watt laser system 
as new experimenter is a terrible idea but for   research projects on a budget it's a pretty hard 
deal to beat now i could go on for hours and all   the weird stuff i've bought on ebay but at that 
point it really isn't in line with the original   topic here the main takeaway is that none of these 
gadgets are safe to use on yourself honestly it's   really disturbing on how many of these gadgets get 
sold in such high volumes to clueless customers   that's not to say i don't see the appeal here 
though i mean for somebody who's looking to get   rid of a blemish but they're embarrassed or can't 
afford treatment they might look into getting one   of these products and to be fair there's not 
much info out there if you're trying to find   safety concerns and to make matters worse there's 
probably a lot of fake reviews out there as well   none of these gadgets are safe but the 
real loser in this bunch is the neatcell.   this thing is an absolute disgrace if there's 
any gadget that should be wiped from sites like   amazon or ebay it's this one shame on whoever put 
this thing on the market well i guess that's about   all i have for you today i do want to thank surf 
shark again for sponsoring this video so be sure   to check out the link in the description so yeah 
until the next time stay safe and happy lasing

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