It actually is a real laser on a chip (we define laser as light that is coherent and does not diffuse, because all photon beams have same frequency), it’s called VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser). VCSEL chips are very affordable and simple, also emit more light and consume less power than traditional laser diodes . The other tech is called Edge Emitting Lasers, that’s the ones that make the beam super concentrated (and there’s optics involved as well). Not a scientist just a good Googler, but I’m assuming one reason VEX went with VCSELs (other than low price and increased power efficiency, important to our power hungry competition robots) is because they are not dangerous to human eyes. An IR edge laser can actually leave you blind by burning your retina and you will not even feel it as we don’t have any defense mechanism against that - we don’t blink because we don’t see it and there are no pain receptors so we don’t feel it. Plus with the 24 deg FOV James was able to create that crazy firmware that tells you (with some subjective precision known only to jpearman) an approximate size of the “object” it hits. Also, with a “dot”, if you hit a surface under an angle (like the dimple in this year’s VRC game’s balls), you might lose that “ping” and have to create an insane filtering and error correcting algorithm, whereas with the slight cone, there’s enough info coming back and things are just simple. That being said, the adjustable FOV idea above would be insanely cool. Please correct any of the stupid things I said.