Lasers can send a whispered audio message directly to one person’s ear..

Lasers can send a whispered audio message directly to one person’s ear..

Lasers have been used to send targeted, quiet messages to someone from several meters away, in a way that no one nearby would be able to hear.

How it works: To send the messages, researchers from MIT relied upon the photoacoustic effect, in which water vapor in the air absorbs light and forms sound waves. The researchers used a laser beam to transmit a sound at 60 decibels (roughly the volume of background music or conversation in a restaurant) to a target person who was standing 2.5 meters away.

A second technique modulated the power of the laser beam to encode a message, which produced a quieter but clearer result. The team used it to beam music, recorded speech, and various tones, all at conversational volume. “This can work even in relatively dry conditions because there is almost always a little water in the air, especially around people,” team leader Charles M. Wynn said in a press release. Details of the research were published in Optics Letters.

Next steps: In theory, the technique could be used to direct a message to a single person at range, without any receiving equipment. The team plans to get the technique to work outdoors, at longer ranges. It isn’t too much of a stretch to see it being used for military or spying purposes, and of course there’s always the ever-present specter of super-targeted advertising.

Static Marker – A Review

Static Marker – A Review

Static Marker, by Wonder Makers, is an interesting addition to the magic market. It’s original, creative thinking, that opens a plethora of possibilities for any magician willing to use his head for something other than a hat rack. The ad copy reads as:

“Every magician dreams about owning a magic device that will be always in their pocket, ready to amaze people without any preparation. Do you really want to shock people? – This is Static Marker.

You will use this marker every day. We will teach you 7 incredible magic effects!


1. Shock: With this marker, your spectator will feel an electric shock, even though there are no electronics in the marker.

2. Balance: You can balance your marker in impossible way, defying gravity!

3. Card Ninja: With static electricity and your marker, you will find spectator’s card. The card itself flies out from the pack directly into your hand.

4. Freezing Time: You can stop time at any moment, and a ring will not fall from the marker.

5. Telekinesis: Using telekinesis, you can knock off different small objects from your marker at any time.

6. Mental Prediction: You will learn how to read your spectator’s mind. You will know, for certain, which city they will choose.

7. Magnetic: You can magnetize different small objects, enabling them to stick to your marker.

Instant reload. Your marker is always ready for your show. Easy to do. Even if you are a beginner, you will able to shock your audience immediately after our tutorial.

Video tutorial. You will receive a 30-minute video tutorial with many ideas in two languages: English and Russian. Shock your spectator with Static Marker by Wonder Makers NOW! ”

My thoughts….

First, although the descriptions are descriptively correct.. not all are physically correct. I suppose what I’m saying is… you cannot physically perform some of the implied effects. You cannot physically ‘shock’ your spectator, but your spectator will ‘perceive; being shock, they will jump as being shocked, and they will go away believing they were shocked… although they weren’t.

Imagine touching an unlit match to a spectator’s hand. Imagine what they would feel if you somehow substituted a small piece of dry ice at the last moment. They would feel the unlit match somehow ‘burn’ them. It doesn’t.. but they will certainly believe they were.

Now, Static Marker doesn’t actually ‘shock’ anyone.. but they have devised a simple method to produce that illusion. Static Marker doesn’t ‘stop time’.. but it stops motion, thus appearing to stop time. You can use Static Marker as a utility device to assist with a mental prediction. The spectator will ‘assume’ the marker performed the magic.. although we can really give more credit to the magician. And, Static Marker is not actually ‘telekinetic’ or ‘magnetic’, but it does give the appearance of both.

Static Marker produces ‘illusions’ in much the same way black art produces illusions. Black art doesn’t vanish a single object, but in the right hands you’d swear it does. There’s no black art involved with Static Marker.. I’m just making a point.

In the right hands, you can lead your audience down a rabbit hole. It’s ideal for performing several quick effects simultaneously, confounding a small group. Although a setup is required, the necessary setup can be performed with a moment’s notice and right under their eyes.

Wonder Makers, assuming by the accents and second language option, are Russian. The video production is quite good, sound is good, camera work is good, and their English is good. There is nothing lacking. Actually, their packaging is first class, with the Marker coming in a magnetic hard case. You are provided a link to the tutorial and can learn all the effects in either English or Russian.

Static Marker is ready to use out the package. There is also a little ‘something’ provided to greatly extend the life of the marker, and several minutes of the video are devoted to making sure you have ‘full use’ of your marker for a long time.

Because Static Marker looks identical to a normal marker, and writes like a normal marker, you can replace your current marker and no one will know. Handling the marker will NOT reveal its secrets. You can give it out, allow a spectator to cap or uncap it, and they will be convinced Static Marker is the real deal.

Like many magic tools and props, those who benefit most from Static Marker are those who are enthusiastic about its possibilities. I recommend Static Markers to those who regularly use markers and those who like the security of a tool that provides them with several possibilities on a moments notice.

$29.95 .. At magic dealers who carry the Murphy’s Magic line of products..

Review by Rick Carruth



David Jonathan, known for popular effects like Wrong Turn and Arbitrium, among others.. is the creator of Cutting Edge. Cutting Edge isn’t really an effect… it is three different effects, similar to an extent, but each with methodology different enough to give the performer a choice of difficulty. Each has a slightly different ending, varying in its level of impossibility.

I have published David’s ad copy below as a reference point. I’ve found I can tell much about a creator and his effects by his ad copy and its truthfulness…

DESTINED – Predict a freely isolated card with a stunning revelation!
The Jokers are taken out of a deck and a spectator is invited to select a card. Their selection is shuffled back into the deck, then the cards are spread face down. The spectator is now asked to freely insert the Jokers face up around any card, isolating it from the others. This mystery card is now turned over to reveal that, incredibly, the spectator has found their selected card! If the effect ended right here, it would already be great… but in a jaw-dropping finale, the Jokers are then turned over to show the spectator’s card was predicted on the backs of the Jokers, proving everything was inevitable!

A CUT ABOVE – The spectator stabs a cut card into the pack directly above their selection, with a twist!
A selected card is shuffled and lost into the deck. A casino cut card is now introduced and handed to the spectator to insert anywhere in the pack. Incredibly, the spectator’s card is found directly below the cut card! For a kicker climax, the cut card is then turned over to reveal a secret written prediction of the spectator’s card! This is the most logical and direct effect to use a casino cut card.

THE FINAL CUT – The spectator cuts to their signed card from a deck they shuffled under test conditions!
The spectator points to any card, signs it, and it is lost in the deck. A casino cut card (double blank card) is now introduced and set aside. The deck is spread on the table and given a wash shuffle (as fair and genuine as they do in casinos) – the spectator can even help mix the cards. The cards are gathered and then ribbon spread across the table. The spectator now inserts the cut card anywhere they like into the spread. With no funny moves, the deck is cut directly where the cut card was inserted. The card right below the cut card is now turned over and, amazingly, it is the spectator’s signed card!

Key Points: Both non-gimmicked and gaffed versions are taught on Cutting Edge. Multiple handlings are also included that are suitable for any skill level. All the effects can be performed In-The-Hands (no table required) and you can easily change the outcomes for each performance.

I spent a fair amount of time watching David’s videos. All three arrived in an email along with two PDF files. One was an overview of the three effects with a brief step-by-step of each of the moves – great to follow as you’re remembering the videos. And the second PDF contained the links to the Vimeo vids of each of the three effects. Although you can watch them online.. I downloaded the three videos to store them in the folder with the PDF’s and not have to revisit Vimeo to clarify a point.

The first effect, Destined, plays out exactly as described by David. The video quality is very good and the attention to details is all I would hope for.. No complaints at all.
This is the more difficult of the three effects, but the most rewarding. You’ll spend more time learning the timing of the moves, but most are basic. There is a point where a pass of one form or another is needed, but David has simplified the handling as much as possible. This isn’t a deal breaker.

Overall, Destined is a real fooler.. and one you can perform for both a lay audience and fellow magicians with equal aplomb. You will need to do a slight bit of simple artwork.. but it only requires a marker and two Jokers. Video length is 35 minutes.

A Cut Above is slightly easier version of Destined and uses a ‘cut card’ instead of two Jokers. ( Don’t have a cut card? Glue two cards face to face and you’ll have a cut card..) The effect ends with the spectator’s selected card directly below the cut card.. inserted into the deck by the spectator.. instead of between the two Jokers as in the previous effect. The handling is noticeably easier, but it still carries an impressive impact. Perform it for audiences -and- magic friends.

The Final Cut is the easiest of the three effects and, although similar in style to A Cut Above, uses a signed card as the locator card.

These two videos run 17 minutes and 16 minutes respectively…

I appreciate the time and effort David invested into this trilogy of effects. They work… and the end result is more than worth the effort. All three are very creditable methods of revealing a spectator’s chosen card. I’m convinced you’ll find a favorite and add it to your repertoire… maybe a couple even.

These effects are meticulously designed by a magician, for magicians, and I’m convinced you’ll appreciate CUTTING EDGE. It has my recommendation. ….. Price: $16.95

Review by Rick Carruth..

The spell breaks for mentalists’ ‘pseudoscience’

The spell breaks for mentalists’ ‘pseudoscience’

Magicians are under fire for claiming they use neurolinguistic programming to read people’s minds…

Some psychologists are upset at the deployment of purported scientific techniques in magic tricks, according to the Times.

The newspaper cites a study (paywall) co-authored by Gustav Kuhn, a reader in psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, in which a group of people watched a magic trick. Those who knew that the performer was a magician were as likely to believe his false claims about being able to read a person’s mind as those who were told he was a psychologist. Yet according to Kuhn, the neurolinguistic programming (NLP) techniques claimed by some magicians – in which facial cues and body language can be read – iare “complete pseudoscience”. So how do magicians feel about this?

Tom MacKay is a mentalist, magician and NLP trainer who also has a master’s in psychology. “When NLP is claimed as a pseudoscience, it is really a misunderstanding of what it is,” he says. “NLP was developed as a way to model successful thinking.” He works with athletes, for instance, to improve performance.

The confusion arises, MacKay says, because “a lot of people who say they are doing mentalism claim to read body language and facial cues. Which hand is the coin in? That’s a classic magic trick. I might be able to predict which hand it is in through observing physiology with quite a few people, but it wouldn’t work 100%. In magic, you want things to be 100%. Magicians say it’s NLP when it isn’t.”  Read more….