UltravioletLED writes "A company in Petaluma, California has developed highly programmable desktop lasers. The same devices used in hospitals could also be used to turn any metal surface black by simply changing the software. From the article: 'The technology once filled a large room at DARPA until Raydiance scientists made it into a compact, tabletop unit. Schuler (The CEO) said he hopes it will replace just about any cutting device you can think of, from a big metal saw to a precise surgical blade ... Now that it's a little bigger than a breadbox, researchers want to use them to kill tumors, identify friend or foe during combat, and even remove tattoos.' Femtosecond lasers for eye surgery have been around for years now, but these new lasers are far smaller and promise to have much greater versatility."