Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it Superman? No, it's none of those things, it's a research team from the University of St Andrews. That's right kids, scientists have done it again.
The team have moved civilisation a step closer to recreating Superman's second-best super power (after flight, obviously) with the development of an ultra-thin membrane laser which uses organic semiconductors. Yes.
Designed to be worn as a contact lens or into the eye, the materials could produce a visible beam a la Superman's searingly hot eye-beams, used to overcome foes, obstacles and gym padlocks when he's forgotten his combination code.
Obviously, S-Man doesn't need to go to the gym physically, but he has endorsement obligations to fulfil.
It's believed the nascent technology could be harnessed for a number of applications, from anti-counterfeiting to medicine.
More importantly than saving lives, however, is the fat that humans could be able to shoot lasers from their eyes.
Speaking to the Express, Professor Malte Gather, of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the university, said: "In ancient Greece, Plato believed that visual perception is mediated by eye beams - beams actively sent out by the eyes to probe the environment.
"Plato's emission theory has, of course, long been refuted, but superheroes with lasers in their eyes live on in popular culture and comic books.
"Our work represents a new milestone in laser development and, in particular, points the way to how lasers can be used in inherently soft and ductile environments, be it in wearable sensors or as an authentication feature on bank notes."
Professor Gather added: "When we thought about this idea of making the laser membrane, someone suggested it was the first step towards making Superman real.
"It was meant as a joke but I thought it could be serious after all in certain applications. What is important for a normal human - not being Superman - is that our lasers are extremely efficient and hence can emit laser light that is not very bright.
"That excludes it from being used as a weapon but means that you could put it on to your eye without blinding yourself."
I hate to sound like Kevin Killjoy, but if it's not going to be used as a weapon, it's hard to see what the cool eye-beam is for. Here are some suggestions:
- MegaDarts - Much like the game of darts, but without the need for hands. Board makers will rub their hands with glee, given the need to regularly replaced boards covered in scorching eye-beam residue.
- Arts and crafts - The days of using a scalpel, cutting knife or even a saw will be a thing of the past with the dawn of the eye-beam, making life easier for tradespeople up and down the country, and schoolchildren. Some classroom/workplace third-degree burns are an inevitability.
- William Tell, but with lasers - Basically the William Tell tale, but with lasers.
Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.