Noise as a Weapon
Recently, ABC News, Online, ran an article about a new warfare technology using extremely
high levels of sound. The article by Judy Muller of ABC News was titled:
Sound and Fury
Sonic Bullets to Be Acoustic Weapon of the Future
We have printed the text below, or you can read the article on the ABC site at the following address: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/DailyNews/sonic_bullet020716.html
We thought it was worth adding this article to our site because this technology sounds so much like propane cannons. The article states that extreme noise at 145 - 150 decibels is 50 times above the human threshold for pain and can virtually incapacitate a person without causing the harm of a bullet. These devices can also be aimed at selected targets.
Propane cannons can be as loud as 130 decibels, also well above the human threshold for pain. Cannons usually aren't selectively aimed, but they are often set up to rotate which impacts everyone in their vicinity. One of our "Ban the Cannons" members also experienced a situation where they felt that a grower intentionally aimed a cannon in their direction, using the propane cannon as an "Acoustic Weapon" because our member complained about the noise!
The article follows, so please read it and note how it mentions that at 110 decibels, you had to get out of the beam of the noise because of the ringing in your ears. Then think of the neighbours impacted by propane cannons at 130 decibels.
Woody Norris, the CEO of American Technology Corporation
and a pioneer in ultrasound technology, has developed a
non-lethal acoustic weapon that stops people in their tracks.|
"[For] most people," said Norris, "even if they plug their ears, it will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine. Some people, it will knock them on their knees."
The device emits so-called "sonic bullets" along a narrow, intense beam up to 145 decibels, 50 times the human threshold of pain. It usually doesn't take that much to stop someone, as we learned in a demonstration in the company parking lot. The acoustic "weapon," in the demonstration model, looks like a huge stereo speaker, except this one sports urban camouflage.
The operator chooses one of many annoying sounds in the computer — in this case, the high pitched wail of a baby, played backwards — and aims it at us. At 110 decibels, we were forced to walk out of the beam's path, our ears ringing. Had we stayed longer, Norris said our skulls would literally start to vibrate.
Police departments and the Pentagon are flocking to Norris' headquarters in San Diego to see this revolutionary technology for themselves. The problem with past attempts to make an acoustic weapon is that sound traveled in every direction, affecting the operator, as well. Norris' narrow ultrasound beam takes care of that problem, meaning police could use it to subdue suspects or quell riots, without hurting bystanders or the operator, because the sound is directional.
"Tear gas lingers long after you've fired off the canisters," said Norris. "This, you switch it off and it's gone. And the damage is only temporary."
Army to Use as Sonic Cannons:
The U.S. Army has already ordered its own prototype of the non-lethal acoustic weapon. It will be packaged in a camouflaged cylinder and either be handheld or mounted on an armored car.
Two security experts who were at the company on behalf of the Defense Department said it would be terrific for repelling suicide bombers and for rousting terrorists from their hideouts. Because the sound ricochets in tight, enclosed areas, said retired Marine Col. Peter Dotto, it would make it very uncomfortable for al Qaeda terrorists to stay in Afghan caves.
"They would have to come out," said Dotto, "and they probably would come out with their hands over their ears so they would be very easy to subdue at that point."
Whether friend or "friendly fire," this new technology is likely to affect almost every aspect of our lives, in ways we can only begin to imagine.
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