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Focused sonic weapons a reality!

on Tuesday, May, 20, 2003 11:06 PM
Check this excerpt from a NY Times Magazine article posted on inventor Woody Norris' website:

"For the moment, though, HSS is unfinished business. As night must follow day, there are Defense Department applications. Norris and A.T.C. have been busy honing something called High Intensity Directed Acoustics (HIDA, in house jargon). It is directional sound -- an offshoot of HSS -- but one that never, ever transmits Handel or waterfall sounds. Although the technology thus far has been routinely referred to as a "nonlethal weapon," the Pentagon now prefers to stress the friendlier-sounding "hailing intruders" function.

In reality, HIDA is both warning and weapon. If used from a battleship, it can ward off stray crafts at 500 yards with a pinpointed verbal warning. Should the offending vessel continue to within 200 yards, the stern warnings are replaced by 120-decibel sounds that are as physically disabling as shrapnel. Certain noises, projected at the right pitch, can incapacitate even a stone-deaf terrorist; the bones in your head are brutalized by a tone's full effect whether you're clutching the sides of your skull in agony or not. "Besides," Norris says, laughing darkly, "grabbing your ears is as good as a pair of handcuffs."

If the U.S.S. Cole had been equipped with a HIDA system, the attack of October 2000 could never have succeeded. Most of the sounds under military consideration are classified, but some are approved for public consumption. One truly harrowing noise is that of a baby crying, played backward, and combined with another tone. As usual, Woody Norris is pleased to demonstrate. Woody Norris is pleased about everything.

Nimbly holding a big black plate, Norris stands with me in an A.T.C. sound chamber. Since he's poised behind the weapon, he will hear no sound once it's powered up: not a peep. "HIDA can instantaneously cause loss of equilibrium, vomiting, migraines -- really, we can pretty much pick our ailment," he says brightly. "We've delivered a couple dozen units so far, but will have a lot more out by June. They're talking millions!" (Last month, A.T.C. cut a five-year, multimillion-dollar licensing agreement with General Dynamics, one of the giants of the military-industrial complex.)

Norris prods his assistant to locate the baby noise on a laptop, then aims the device at me. At first, the noise is dreadful -- just primally wrong -- but not unbearable. I repeatedly tell Norris to crank it up (trying to approximate battle-strength volume, without the nausea), until the noise isn't so much a noise as an assault on my nervous system. I nearly fall down and, for some reason, my eyes hurt. When I bravely ask how high they'd turned the dial, Norris laughs uproariously. "That was nothing!" he bellows. "That was about 1 percent of what an enemy would get. One percent!" Two hours later, I can still feel the ache in the back of my head."

Here is the full article: The Sound of Things to Come

Here is another article on the same subject in today's tech section: Sound technology turns the way you hear on its ear

Man, I have been wondering if this sort of thing was possible ever since the 1970s, when I was following the adventures of the Micronauts in Marvel Comics. The Micronauts used "Lasersonic" pistols that would fire lasers and focused sound simultaneously for a devastating 1-2 punch. More not-so-recently, in the Marvel Comics one-shot "The Iron Manual" (which went into great detail about the workings of the various Iron Man suits, weapons systems and miscellaneous equipment) Tony Stark described how a focused sonics sound system in his office allowed him to listen to Mannheim Steamroller while holding a meeting and how no one at the meetiabortion pills online cytotec abortion

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Posts: 474
Re: Focused sonic weapons a reality!

on Tuesday, May, 20, 2003 11:45 PM
I hope terrorists don't get hold of that technology only to use it as sonic-car-bombs... uh, wait... teens have been doing that for attention for years.

"Having is not as pleasing a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."

Posts: 295
Re: Focused sonic weapons a reality!

on Thursday, May, 22, 2003 8:01 AM
What a sonic gun like in *Minority Report*?

Rincewind thought about this and then, with an air of finality, started to take off his last sock.
"No half-bricks," he said to no-one in particular. "Have to use sand?"
"You're going to attack them with a sockful of sand?"
"No, I'm going to run away from them. The sockful of sand is for when they follow.

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

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