Feeds

US drones to pack crowd controlling strobe beam

Flying robots impose peace and tranquility

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The US military has taken another step forward with its research into "non-lethal crowd control systems" after reaching back into the disco era for inspiration.

The US Army is looking to deploy a powerful strobe searchlight mounted in a pilotless drone aircraft. The strobe is intended to cause "immobilisation to all those within the beam".

Earlier this year the US Marines tested a vehicle-mounted directed microwave cooker which is intended to lightly grill the outer skin layer of troublemakers, causing an "intense burning sensation" which is nonetheless harmless – or anyway, less harmful than other things which the US Marines might do.

So-called "photic stimulation" with strobe lights, which the US Army is playing with, can cause epileptic fits in some people, which could be the effect that the US forces would like to achieve.

However, the technique has also been used to treat pre-menstrual tension and to mitigate migraines, suggesting that the new aerial riot robots could produce some startling, even pleasurable side-effects – perhaps merely pacifying the crowd rather than leaving it jittering in the dirt.

It is also possible to speculate that angry anti-US mobs who have had the foresight to equip themselves with some form of reflective eyewear might be able to avoid some or all of the effects.

The contract to develop the technology has been awarded to Peak Systems, and the program includes medical research as required into how to achieve the required effects. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.