A compact device for the characterization of laser incoming radiation based on a novel concept is presented. The device has the ability of performing simultaneously the following tasks: (1) To identify positively the incoming radiation as laser light; (2) To determine the wavelength of the radiation; and (3) To determine the direction of the radiation. Being based on low-cost components, these devices are expected to find applications in laser safety as well as in laser games and entertainment systems. A prototype of the device was built and tested.© (1996) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.