Beginning in the 1960s, artists began experimenting with laser beams as a form of expression in a variety of media, such as laser holographic exhibitions, inclusion in theatrical performances and as accompaniment to musical performances. The latter, the music paired with laser light, would be developed into the complex and impressive laser screens that are modernized.
However, the earliest laser light was rather vague with modern standards. In 1968, Lloyd G. Cross left a patent for the first laser light music device. He called the device Sonovision and the design was essentially a series of speakers with a reflective membrane stretched over them. Lasers of varying colors were bounced off these membranes while the speakers were being used, which in turn burst the laser light over the stage on stage.
While the Sonovision method produced some eye-catching effects and was more than novel for its day, it lacked some form of precision – the results were similar to light reflected from the surface of water. Fortunately, another Cross, Lowell Cross, also worked on creating real-life images and patterns using an X-Y axis generated by mirror galvanometers. Cross entered into a collaboration with the artist and physics professor Carson D. Jeffries. They continued working on Cross's projection system and finally showed it as an accompaniment to a concert at Mills College in Oakland, California.
Lowell Cross's method of costly control of laser light captured and although it was not the first commercial laser light to show equipment around, set the existence of future laser light gear and deployment.
Photo by Edward Betts / Wikimedia.