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Microwave Gun Makes People Hear Things

Microwave Gun Makes People Hear Things

Wired
July 7, 2008

The U.S. military bankrolled early development of a non-lethal microwave weapon that creates sound inside your head. But in the end, the gadget may be just as likely to wind up in shopping malls as on battlefields, as I report in New Scientist.

The project is known as MEDUSA – a contrived acronym for Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio. And it should not be confused with the Long Range Acoustic Device and similar gadgets which simply project sound. This one uses the so-called “microwave auditory effect”: a beam of microwaves is turned into sound by the interaction with your head. Nobody else can hear it unless they are in the beam as well.

The effect has long been a laboratory curiosity, with no application. But, over the years, the military has been intrigued. The idea (dubbed “the telepathic ray gun”) was mentioned in a 1998 US Army study, which turned up in a recent Freedom of Information Act document dump. Five years later, the Navy decided to put some R&D dollars into the project. Now, as I note on the New Scientist website, Dr. Lev Sadovnik of the Sierra Nevada Corporation has provided more details.

There are health risks, he notes. But the biggest issue from the microwave weapon is not the radiation. It’s the risk of brain damage from the high-intensity shockwave created by the microwave pulse. Clearly, much more research is needed on this effect at the sort of power levels that Dr. Sadovnik is proposing. But if it does prove hazardous, that does not mean an end to weapons research in this area: a device that delivered a lethal shockwave inside the target’s skull might make an effective death ray.

Dr. Sadovnik also makes the intriguing suggestion that, instead of being used at high power to create an intolerable noise, it might be used at low power to produce a whisper that was too quiet to perceive consciously but might be able to subconsciously influence someone. The directional beam could be used for targeted messages, such as in-store promotions. Sadovnik even suggests subliminal advertising, beaming information that is not consciously heard (a notion also spotted on the US Army’s voice-to-skull page). While the effectiveness of subliminal persuasion is dubious, I can see there might be some organizations interested in this capability. And if that doesn’t work, you could always point the thing at birds. They seem to be highly sensitive to microwave audio, so it might be used to scare flocks away from wind farms — or shoo pigeons from city streets.

 

US wants sci-fi killer robots for terror fight

Scotsman
July 6, 2008

KILLER robots which can change their shape to squeeze under doors and through cracks in walls to track their prey are moving from the realms of science fiction to the front line in the fight against terrorism.

The US military has signed a £1.6m deal with a technology firm to design robots which are intelligent enough to work out how to wiggle through small spaces to reach their target.

The action film, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, featured a seemingly unstoppable killer

robot played by Robert Patrick. The machine was made from liquid metal and could change its form to slide under doors and walk through iron bars.

America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) and the Army Research Office has awarded the contract to iRobot, which has developed other robots for the military.

They want scientists to come up with a design for a tiny robot able to move under its own power and change shape so it can get through gaps less than half an inch wide.

The US administration has not said what it wants the robot to do but
its specification says: “Often the only available points of entry are small openings in buildings, walls, under doors, etc. In these cases, a robot must be soft enough to squeeze or traverse through small openings, yet large enough to carry an operationally meaningful payload.”

In an effort to inspire creative ideas, the US military has pointed to examples in nature of creatures which are able to squeeze through narrow gaps and change their form.

Helen Greiner, co-founder and chairwoman of iRobot, said: “Through this programme, robots that reconstitute size, shape and functionality after traversal through complex environments will transcend the pages of science fiction to become real tools for soldiers in theatre.”

But Scottish-based experts believe the challenge may be too much even for the US military’s budgets and technology.

Mike Cates, professor of physics at Edinburgh University, said: “There are materials which can change their shapes and then regain them. There are alloys, known as memory metals, which are used in glasses and which can regain their shape. The difficulty in this case is all the other elements which need to be added to a device such as this, such as the circuitry and some form of system to propel it.”

Brian Baglow, of technology firm Indoctrimat, said: “As well as designing the materials for this, the sensor systems will be a problem. It’s not easy for them to work out where the gaps are which they can get through.”

‘Invisible Wars’ of the Future: E-Bombs, Laser Guns and Acoustic Weapons
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.p..code=20080706&articleId=9522

Army Yanks ’Voice-To-Skull Devices’ Site
http://blog.wired.com/defense/20..y-removes-pa.htmlpreviouspost

The Other MEDUSA: A Microwave Sound Weapon
http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/08/the-other-medus.htmlpreviouspost

US ’Sonic Blasters’ Sold To China
http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/05/us-sonic-blaste.htmlpreviouspost

Protesters Panic Over ’Crap Cannon’
http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/..esters-fear.htmlpreviouspost

I Was a Sonic Blaster Guinea Pig
http://blog.wired.co../i-was-a-puke-ra.htmlpreviouspost

Acoustic “Device” or Acoustic Weapon?
http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/05/acoustic_device.htmlpreviouspost

 


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