Lynntech Develops The Latest in TASER Torture-
Now, 80,000 Volts for 7 Full Seconds and Remote Controlled!
By David Hambling, www.NewScientist.com
August 15, 2005
US Shoots Ahead In Stun Gun Design
Weapons designed to fire "electric bullets" into
crowds are being developed for police and border protection agencies in
The Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA),
the domestic equivalent of the defence agency DARPA, has launched an "innovative
less-lethal devices for law enforcement" programme to radically expand
the capabilities of electric shock weapons.
Existing stun weapons, such as the
Taser, typically fire a pair of darts trailing current-carrying wires
to shock the target, with a maximum range of about 7 metres. The HSARPA
programme aims to develop wireless weapons that can be used over greater
distances in spaces such as "an auditorium, a city street or a sports
Lynntech of College Station, Texas, is developing a projectile
that can be fired from a shotgun or 40-millimetre grenade launcher. Grenade
launchers are already used by riot police to fire tear gas and baton rounds.
On impact, the device sticks to the target and delivers an 80,000-volt
shock for 7 seconds, using a pulsed delivery similar
to that used by Tasers. Further shocks can be triggered via remote control.
Brian Hennings, system integration group leader at Lynntech,
would not reveal how the projectile sticks to the person, although other
weapons designed to adhere often use hooks or barbs. "The biggest problem
was making the device non-lethal at minimum range, yet effective at maximum
range," he says.
Hennings claims Lynntech has solved this by ensuring that its round's kinetic
energy is low enough to meet the safety requirement at close range. As the
projectile does not rely on impact with the body to incapacitate the person,
it does not need to be fired at very high velocity. The weapon's maximum
range is measured in tens of metres, the company says.
Meanwhile, Mide Technology Corporation of Medford, Massachusetts,
is proposing the Piezer. Rather than conventional stun-gun circuitry, with
batteries linked to transformers and a capacitor, the Piezer contains piezoelectric
crystals, which produce a voltage when they are compressed. The Piezer would
be fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, stunning the target with an electric shock
on impact. Shotguns are already used to fire less-lethal "beanbag"
rounds to subdue suspects, but these have short range. Midé claims
the Piezer could be effective at 40 to 50 metres.
Using a different principle again is the Inertial Capacitive Incapacitator
(ICI) being developed by the Physical Optics Corporation
of Torrance, California. It uses a thin-film charge storage device that
is charged during manufacture and only discharges when it strikes the target.
It can be incorporated into a ring-shaped aerofoil that can be fired from
a standard grenade launcher at low velocity, while still maintaining a flat
trajectory for maximum accuracy. The company claims this should reduce the
The first prototypes are expected to be delivered to HSARPA by the end of
the year. But Tobias Feakin of the Non-lethal Weapons Research Project at
the University of Bradford in the UK warns that manufacturers' claims should
not be taken at face value. "Without thorough independent testing we
cannot ascertain their usefulness, effectiveness or safety," he says.
- From issue 2512 of New Scientist magazine, 15 August 2005, page
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