So I work during the school year for an holography lab that uses a lot of optics. I work in circuit board design and low-level programming for the video monitors, but invariably must collaborate with optics-centered colleagues. And one showed me how to build my own laser powerful enough to burn stuff. Don't worry mom, I sprung for the nicer safety goggles.
The build itself was pretty simple, as it just entails hooking up a power source to a current driver and then to a laser diode with a good heat sink. Oh and I can write my name with it.
I have other projects in the works as well, and I'm continuing to develop IoT and embedded wearable computing ideas. I keep a sketch book of ideas, as they come faster than I have time to implement them. I'm interning with Intel this summer and in the evening, I'm helping build an aircraft for Flugtag (http://www.redbullflugtag.com/usa-portland/en/). Maybe a post about that later.