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11-19-2007, 10:29 AM

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The Incapacitating Flashlight

DHS Is Developing an LED Flashlight That Makes Culprits Vomit

By Prachi Patel-Predd

Aug. 6

Soon cops' flashlights might not only temporarily blind bad guys: they might also stop them in their tracks by disorienting them and making them nauseatingly sick. When suspects turn away or reel, cops or border-security agents can nab and handcuff them.

The flashlight, which is being developed for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), uses a range finder to measure the distance to the target's eyes so that it can adjust the energy of the light to a level that won't cause permanent damage. Then it rapidly shoots out pulses of light from an array of ultrabright light emitting diodes (LEDs).

The flashes incapacitate a person in two different ways, says Robert Lieberman, CEO of Intelligent Optical Systems, based in Torrance, CA, which is making the device. The flashes temporarily blind a person, as any bright light would, and the light pulses, which quickly change both in color and duration, also cause what Lieberman calls psychophysical effects. These effects, whose effectiveness depends on the person, range from disorientation to vertigo to nausea, and they wear off in a few minutes.

It's not clear why the changing light pulses cause this effect, even though the effect has been well documented, Lieberman says. Helicopter pilots, for example, have been known to crash because they get disoriented by the choppy flashes of sunlight coming through the chopper's spinning blades.

The DHS is funding research on the new nonlethal weapon. According to a DHS press release, cops, border-security agents, and the National Guard could be armed with the new flashlight by 2010. The device is part of a larger effort to develop nonlethal weapons that can help law-enforcement and military personnel control crowds and riots, both in antiterrorist actions and in hostage situations.

The LED flashlight comes with a few caveats. The person being targeted could easily look away, or he or she might be wearing heavily tinted glasses. And the device would not be useful to, say, a security agent who is chasing a suspected attacker. "It is designed to be used on someone coming at you," Lieberman says. Also, the flashlight's effects are less during the day. But Lieberman notes that security agents will more likely face situations in which they need the device at night.

Glenn Shwaery, who researches nonlethal technology at the University of New Hampshire, says that authorities would use the flashlight, and other light-based "dazzler" technologies, to distract a suspect so that they can close in on him or her. "If you disorient or distract somebody and cause them to look away, then they can't focus on their task, which could be aiming a weapon at someone, or looking at a screen with sensitive information, or dialing a phone," he says.

There have been efforts to make dazzlers using lasers, but LEDs could be a safer choice. "Getting an eye-safe wavelength with a laser has been very difficult," Shwaery says. Because laser beams are energetic and focused, they could cause permanent damage to the eye. Shwaery adds that the new LED flashlight would be safe because it uses a range finder and adjusts the energy it throws out. "The ideal goal for nonlethal technologies is that they be scalable."

Researchers at Intelligent Optical Systems are now analyzing combinations of wavelengths and light intensities that have the strongest effect on people while remaining safe. They also need to make the device smaller and easier to carry. Right now, it's about 15 inches long and 4 inches wide. This fall, the team plans to test the flashlight extensively on people at Penn State University's Institute of Non-Lethal Defense Technology.

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures

11-19-2007, 05:08 PM
Probably the LEAST NLT I am afraid of.

11-19-2007, 06:36 PM
American commanders in Iraq are urging Pentagon chiefs to authorise the deployment of newly-developed heat wave guns (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=G0VZQ2ANSJ22NQFIQMFCFFOAVCBQ YIV0?xml=/news/2007/01/25/wuranium125.xml) to disperse angry crowds or violent rioters.

In pictures: How I was zapped by a heat wave gun (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=G0VZQ2ANSJ22NQFIQMFCFFOAVCBQ YIV0?xml=/news/2007/11/18/wdenial218.xml)
US plans new space weapons against China (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=G0VZQ2ANSJ22NQFIQMFCFFOAVCBQ YIV0?xml=/news/2007/11/14/weapon114.xml)
Scientists develop material that bounces bullets (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml;jsessionid=G0VZQ2ANSJ22NQFIQMFCFFOAVCBQ YIV0?xml=/earth/2007/10/31/scicop131.xml)
But the plea for what senior army officers believe could prove a valuable alternative to traditional firepower in dangerous trouble-spots has so far gone unanswered.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/graphics/2007/11/18/wdenial118.jpgThe ADS can target crowds from 750 metres away

Washington fears a barrage of adverse publicity in the suspicious Muslim world and is concerned that critics will claim the invisible beam weapons were being used for torture.

Now the US military directorate charged with developing non-lethal weapons, which has invested more than a decade developing the Active Denial System (ADS), has launched a concerted effort to convince both the public and its own bosses at the defence department of the device's merits.

"With brand new technology like this, perception is everything," said Col Kirk Hymes, a former Marine artillery officer who heads the directorate.

He added that tests were almost complete and the first ADS, also known as the Silent Guardian, could be deployed early next year if the Pentagon allows. The decision is so sensitive that it is expected to be made personally by the defence secretary, Robert Gates, who sent senior representatives to the demonstrations.


Raytheon, the company contracted to manufacture the prototype, has also received interest from several undisclosed European countries. The machine displayed last week cost about $10 million to build, but the directorate believes that the ADS can be put into production for $2-$5 million (£1-2.5 million) per device.

Col Hymes told observers at a demonstration that the system was a safe and effective alternative to plastic bullets, which can cause injury and sometimes death and are effective only up to 75 metres.

The heatwave weapon can, by contrast, target troublemakers from 750 metres. It works by dispatching high-powered radio waves from a vehicle antenna, similar to a satellite television dish, causing the molecules in a target's skin to vibrate violently, creating a burning sensation.

'Lady Taser' that can stop a man in his tracks (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=G0VZQ2ANSJ22NQFIQMFCFFOAVCBQ YIV0?xml=/news/2007/08/17/wtaser117.xml)
Last charge for the bayonet - a victim of modern warfare (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=G0VZQ2ANSJ22NQFIQMFCFFOAVCBQ YIV0?xml=/news/2002/09/15/nbayo15.xml)
How About That: More bizarre news stories from around the world (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/howaboutthat)
"We are pretty good at shouting and intimidating people and we have been perfecting the art of lethal warfare since Cain and Abel," he said. "But in places like Iraq we are re-learning that we need a response in the spectrum between shouting and shooting. The ADS provides this."

But he added: "This is not something we want to roll out and deploy and surprise people. We know we need to educate the public."

In fact the development of the weapon only became public after the Sunshine Project - a Texas-based group that campaigns against biological and chemical weapons - pushed for disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/graphics/2007/11/18/denial/denial05.jpg (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=G0VZQ2ANSJ22NQFIQMFCFFOAVCBQ YIV0?xml=/news/2007/11/18/wdenial218.xml)In pictures: The Telegraph's Philip Sherwell is zapped by a heat wave gun (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=G0VZQ2ANSJ22NQFIQMFCFFOAVCBQ YIV0?xml=/news/2007/11/18/wdenial218.xml)The group's director, Edward Hammond, said: "If we are not prepared to use it as a crowd control technique on our own citizens, then we really shouldn't be using it in Iraq either."

Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon intelligence officer who is senior military analyst for the Human Rights Watch campaign group, was among those invited to feel the device's impact at a recent demonstration.

He said: "If I had the option of being shot by a bullet or this, I would choose this - but still not enough is known about it. This is novel technology. We're talking about bringing science fiction into reality and it's critical to have open discussion."

He added: "People understand what happens when you get shot with a gun, but with the "pain-ray" there's still uncertainty. When it's used, the military is going to have to deal with a public backlash because I'm sure there will be claims of medical problems by the people it's been used upon, real or not."

"We are talking about young soldiers having this in their hands. If we upset the civilian population in Iraq, whether by killing, by torture or by misusing this, it will have a strategic effect on the US's ability to execute effective operations."

Col Hymes said that all ADS operators were given a six-week training course that covered sophisticated crowd control techniques as well as handling the technology.

11-20-2007, 09:43 PM
I learned about "Non"-Lethal Tech as a child back when I heard about "MASERs" (which pre-dated? LASERs?). MASERS preceded me by several years.


I know, it's only Stanford, Einstein, and Internet, but it should give the general idea. ;)

Do you own search on MASERs and see how many links you find.... (They're either scarce or "black" from my brief search)...

P.S. I don't use Google or M$ Internet Explorer (if you hit the windfall and a virus while you're at it).