Feeds

US Navy research throws up vomit ray

See sick?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The US Navy is funding research into a "Star Trek phaser set on 'stun'".

At least to begin with, the kit is intended for use by Marines in ordinary urban combat rather than starship crewmen beamed down onto strange new worlds (fans of the classic series may be interested to note that the USS Enterprise happens to be preparing for an "upcoming surge deployment", however.)

The new technology has been given an acronym, EPIC, for Electromagnetic Personnel Interdiction Control. The idea is that intense radio-frequency emissions – capable of passing through walls – would be used to temporarily disrupt the balance and coordination functions of targets' inner ears, knocking them down relatively harmlessly.

The Navy notes that "second order effects would be extreme motion sickness," suggesting that in fact the order given by future Captain Kirks may be "set phasers on 'puke'".

The intention of the programme is to avoid unnecessary harm to the target, but unconscious vomiting would seem to present something of a choking hazard. Still, EPIC-based regurge blasters would seem less brutal than the microwave-oven cannons already tested, which are designed to disperse crowds by lightly frying their outer skin layers.

Texas-based wireless systems firm Invocon was awarded a $99,609 development contract in 2004. The company now claims that "the first known demonstration of a vestibular response to an electromagnetic stimulus has been performed", and wants more money "for research into the effects of the stimulus and potential delivery mechanisms".

The best commentary so far was provided by "Dan Lardee" on Wired's blogs, who simply said: "I think I got hit by one of those beams last night." ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.