Enough to Make You Sick
Its inventors call it the LED Incapacitator
|A later version of the LED Incapacitator, featuring a trimmer head.|
A flashlight designed to make you nauseatingly ill? What fiendish minds would invent such a tool? The minds of Bob Lieberman and Vladimir Rubtsov, president and senior scientist of Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc., a small R&D company in Torrance, CA. Under a multiphase contract from the S&T Directorate’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Office, with technical direction from S&T program manager Gerald Kirwin, the two physicists are refining an ultra-bright, multicolored, pulsing “lightsaber” that’s more disorienting, dazzling, and dizzying—though a tad less dangerous—than disco. It’s enough to make you sick. And that, Lieberman says, is not always a bad thing.
How does the LED Incapacitator incapacitate? By simultaneously overwhelming the subject both physiologically (temporarily blinding him) and psychophysically (disorienting him). A built-in rangefinder measures the distance to the nearest pair of eyeballs. Then, a “governor” sets the output and pulse train (a series of pulses and rests) to a level, frequency, and duration that are effective, but safe. The colors and pulses continuously change, leaving no time for the brain or eyes to adapt. After a few minutes, the effects wear off.
The light could be used to make a bad guy turn away or shut his eyes, giving authorities enough time to tackle the suspect and apply the
|An animated cross section shows how red, green, and blue LEDs are focused through an optical plate.|
“There are often confrontations at border crossings with suspected illegal aliens or drug runners,” Lieberman says. “You don’t want to hurt or kill them, just take them into custody. With this,” he smiles, “they don’t need to know English to comply.”
Output and size can easily be scaled up to fit the need; immobilizing a mob, for instance, might call for a wide-angle “bazooka” version. Scaling down is more difficult. At
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