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"In 1970 I found little difficulty staying 30 years ahead of the man in the street, and now I find it difficult to stay 18 months ahead of the man on the street."
- Vernor Vinge

Cutteray  
  A laser used in a range of tools - including mining equipment.  

The planet Dune presented a very harsh environment to its human inhabitants. The most sensible way to live was to burrow underground in solid rock. What sort of mining equipment would be needed to cut rooms in rock efficiently?

He found himself in the assembly hall through which he and his men had been led by Tuek's aides. It was a long, fairly narrow area chewed out of the native rock, its smooth surface betraying the use of cutteray burners for the job. The ceiling stretched away high enough to continue the natural supporting curve of the rock and to permit internal air-convection currents. Weapons racks and lockers lined the walls.
From Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

These tools were also used by the Fremen once they were able to work within the system to get the tools of the Imperium to do their work in transforming Dune:

Station tools began finding their way into the sietch warrens -- especially cutterays which were used to dig underground catchbasins and hidden windtraps.

Read more about the future of mining equipment, including software simulations and tele-remote operated underground machinery. See also the slaver disintegrator, a rather effective technology used in "digging tools" in the novel Ringworld, by Larry Niven.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dune
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Dune
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

Cutteray-related news articles:
  - Microwave Drill Heats And Pokes

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