Thank You to "How Stuff Works"
In November 2005, pirates attacked the cruise ship Seabourn Spirit off the coast of Somalia. The pirates were in a small boat, but they had machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The cruise ship, on the other hand, had a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD).
Many media outlets credited the LRAD with warning off the pirates, leaving the Seabourn Spirit unscathed. Some of the coverage was pretty dramatic. News stories described the LRAD as a sonic weapon that fired a beam of sound at the pirates and drove them away.
What makes sound a weapon? In this article, we'll review the basics of sound and discuss exactly how the LRAD produces its "beam of sound." We'll also explore LRAD's hailing and warning abilities and other uses for sound.
The louder a sound is, the more it moves the structures in your ear. The higher its pitch, the faster it moves them. Loud or high-pitched noises can cross the threshold of pain, or the point at which a sound is painful. Here's how some everyday sounds compare to the LRAD:
• Normal conversation: 60 dB
• Lawn mower: 90 dB
• Threshold of pain: 130 dB, depending on the person's tolerance
• LRAD maximum continuous volume: 162dB
Military Abuses With The LRAD
THIS COULD BE YOU!!!!
Still think we make this up? See Below
If there were ever a weapon made to fit Big Brother's world to a T, this is it. Let's say someone doesn't want to hear any more of your opinions. All they have to do is point this weapon at you and pull the trigger. This gun was designed by Japanese researchers to silence people by messing with their heads, but how exactly does it work?
Within a distance of 100 feet, a directional mic perched on top of the gun picks up whatever it is the target is saying. The boxy, directional speaker that makes up the bulk of the weapon then plays the sound back with a 0.2-second delay, effectively inducing delayed auditory feedback, a phenomenon caused by the echo of your own voice that interrupts your thoughts and renders you speechless.
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While it's true that the weapon could be used to ensure silence in places like the library, it could also be used to silence protesters, important political figures, and other people who actually have important things to say. Talk about an Orwellian nightmare come true!
This weapon could also prevent you from speaking your mind, but it's because you're going to be too busy to talk while you're throwing up your lunch. Back in 2007, the U.S. Navy signed a contract with a company called Invocon to develop a weapon that uses radio frequency (RF) to affect a person's sense of hearing and equilibrium. Anyone hit by these waves (which, by the way, can pass through walls) is expected to throw up and experience severe motion sickness — effects that were proven when the company demonstrated the weapon on a very unlucky individual.
In the same year, the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology department awarded $800,000 to a company called Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) to develop the LED Incapacitator. It's a fancy flashlight that emits rapid pulse of different-colored lights to induce headache and dizziness, with vomiting as one of the possible aftereffects.
Want to make your own puke-inducing weapon? A couple of hardware hackers built one for $250, called it Bedazzler, and even posted instructions you can follow online. Part of Bedazzler's official page reads: "Yes this project does indeed cause: Nausea, dizziness, headache, flashblindness, eye pain and (occasional?) vomiting! So don't use it on your friends or pets." Although if you're building the Bedazzler because you're probably an evil overlord in training, we doubt you're going to take that advice.
More formally known as the Active Denial System (ADS), the pain ray is a weapon developed by the U.S. military that can — wait for it — cause excruciating pain by emitting high-powered waves similar to those from a microwave oven. Developed by the Pentagon, the system is composed of huge, vehicle-mounted plates. It was deployed to Afghanistan in June 2010 and pulled back just a month later without having been used.
It's unclear whether the military's plans to develop a rifle version of the system ever panned out. However, a smaller version of the pain ray called Silent Guardian was developed by defense technology company Raytheon and is currently available for use by law enforcement agencies.
While the ADS reportedly never saw action in the battlefield, it went through 10,000 trial exposures involving real people. The test subjects reported feeling like they were on fire a few seconds after being targeted, but the agonizing pain vanished as soon as they stepped out of the beam's way. The weapon was only designed to inflict pain and not actually burn anything, but around 0.1% of the test subjects reported blisters caused by second-degree burns. Double ouch!
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently admitted that the country's government created a gun that can put people in a zombie-like state... at least for a short while. Or so we hope. Russia's mind-control gun attacks a target's central nervous system with electromagnetic radiation and is designed to be used for crowd control. While the government's keeping mum about the details, previous studies about the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the brain reveal that one of its possible effects is implanting thoughts and suggestions into a target's mind.
Good thing these scary zombie guns are confined to Russia and have not yet appeared in the United States, right? Well, in 2008, a U.S. company called Sierra Nevada Corporation announced that it was going to start producing the Medusa ray gun — a weapon that uses rapid microwave pulses that your brain perceives as extremely annoying sounds.
Soon after the company introduced Medusa, independent scientists came out to warn people that the weapon can't produce sounds annoying enough to disperse crowds unless it shoots strong microwave pulses that can literally fry your brain. Yikes. At least the Russian government was able to successfully test its zombie gun on real people (though to be fair, we're not exactly sure if any brains got fried in the process).
Fascinating yet horrifying
Most of the weapons in this list may not be created to inflict fatal wounds, but they sure have terrifying implications. We know we don't want to experience awful pain, be turned into a zombie, or have our right to free speech taken away. Still, these creations represent fascinating advancements in science and technology. Let's just hope they don't fall into the hands of someone who has dreams of global domination. Comment by me: I believe these weapons are and can be used in a manner to cause death. It is delusional to think that these are non-lethal weapons or even less than lethal. If you go to the website below you can demonstrations of these weapons.
[Image credits: U.S. Department of Defense]
This article was written by Mariella Moon and originally appeared on Tecca