FAST and FMCA use lasers to make jack-o’-lanterns

by | Nov 1, 2019 | Campus News, Life

Melanie Valente-Leite News Reporter

From hollowed-out turnips to carved pumpkin competitions, carving jack-o’-lanterns around the fall season is quite the old tradition but now, Humber College is shaking that up.

David Neumann with Humber’s Faculty of Media and Creative Arts and Tracy Goldfarb of the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology eliminated the customary tools, like knives, with lasers to carve out creative designs into a pumpkin.

Tracy Goldfarb showed Humber faculty how to carve pumpkins without having to use tools but lasers instead. (Melanie Valente-Leite)

Neumann said he’s keen on showing faculty potential ways they can share the technology with their students.

“If you’re from the English, science, engineering or even from the art programs, it’s about having some sort of way of introducing students to a different concept then what they’re used to by using some kind of technology,” he said.

The only carving tools available in the 1900s were knives and other sharp-edged tools but the expansion of technological gadgets, something as simple as carving a pumpkin can have lasers do all the work.

“So, the first step in any of these things is trying to get exposure to those people who are at the forefront, which will be faculty and staff, in a fun and engaging way, by having this technology and kind of play,” Neumann said.

Faculty used Adobe Illustrator to develop a design which was sent to a printer. A pumpkin is then safely contained in a machine before a laser begins to cut the image onto it.

Goldfarb, a technician with Applied Sciences and Technology, couldn’t contain her excitement as she explained the process.

“Basically, what it is, is a couple of mirrors, a really strong light, which is what the laser is,” she said. “It gets focused in the mirrors,” and can carve out any design.

Jack-o’-lantern carving is a tradition dating back to 19th Century Ireland, where they were used to ward off evil spirits or to represent souls in purgatory. It was part of the Christian feasts of All Saints’ and All Souls’, occurring immediately after Halloween.