A handheld laser likened to a Star Wars lightsaber -- and so powerful it can instantly blind and "set fire to skin and other body parts" -- can be bought readily (and inexpensively) online.
The device -- with a beam 1,000 times stronger than sunlight on the skin -- is touted by makers as "the most dangerous laser ever created." And Wicked Lasers' Spyder III Pro Arctic lasers cost less than $200.
Trading standards chiefs in England said they were "seriously concerned" about the sale of the model in the country, and have warned against its use. As well as blinding, burning and causing cancer, its Hong Kong-based maker admits that "a split-second laser light in a plane cockpit (...) can be disastrous."
Star Wars fans are among hundreds of people who have already shown an interest in buying the laser, for sale to the general public.
Laser safety expert John Colton, director of Lucid Optical Services, told Sky News Online that the lasers were "horrendously dangerous."
"Under no circumstances should they be on sale on the Internet," he said. Colton said the 1W beam was 1,000 times stronger than laser pointers normally available to the public.
They could be "deadly" if aimed at car drivers or even pilots in planes, he added.
Wicked Lasers said the device would have cost thousands to build not long ago, but technological advances have made it available much more cheaply.
"This laser possesses the most burning capabilities of any portable laser in existence," the website reads. "That's why it's also the most dangerous laser ever created."
The website goes on to warn that "extremely dangerous is an understatement to the power of 1W of laser power. It will blind permanently and instantly and set fire quickly to skin and other body parts."
It adds that users should use eye protection and must read and agree the "Laser Hazard Acknowledgment Form."