Cig-lighter electropulse cannons offered to US plods
Cold dead turkey strangely incapable of flight
Electromagnetic weapons designed to zap circuitry have long been a favourite speculation of war-tech buffs. Consensus opinion suggests that the only energy source capable of powering a useful pulse strike is a nuclear explosion, or perhaps in the near future a largish conventional bomb. But a recent report in MIT Tech Review suggests that actually it can be done with a car alternator.
The Tech Review piece introduces us to Eureka Aerospace and its High power Electromagnetic System (HPEMS) tech, now being touted as a good idea for police in high speed chases. Apparently, a 200lb, six by three foot HPEMS module can "be attached to an automobile or aircraft carrier" (though the aircraft-carrier option might be a tad unwieldy on the freeway). It works like this:
The car's alternator serves as the system's power source [cool! You just plug it into the cigarette lighter socket, presumably]... pulses are amplified to 640 kilovolts using a 16-stage Marx generator... then converted into microwaves using... a pair of coupled transmission lines and several spark-gap switches. Finally, a specially designed antenna beams the microwave energy toward an opposing vehicle...
The microwaves get into the fleeing villains' engine compartment through some kind of unspecified gap in the metal that would typically surround it, and zap all the microcircuitry, so shutting the motor down.
Tech Review notes that this might cause some snags by frying innocent people's stuff in a crowded urban environment, but otherwise it seems to assume that the idea is a flyer.
In fact, all the signs of a tech turkey are there. The obvious customer - the US military* - funded initial research and then gave up some time ago. Even the company doesn't claim effective range greater than 15 metres, so a pursuing cop would have to get well inside safe stopping distance behind a fleeing car - just before forcing it to stop suddenly. All tests thus far have been on stationary target vehicles. The only way of aiming the directional beam is by aiming the car. Years have gone by and nothing much has changed.
Nope - this thing's a gobbler, and a cold dead one at that. The MIT tech scribes seem to have slipped up here. ®
*A mysterious outfit called the "U.S. Marine Corp [sic]" is referred to twice.
A small handfull of MIT soon-to-be-grads showed that a microwave oven could be made portable AND have its output directed...it utilized a backpack-sized power source coupled with the oven's innards... portable by one person (even a pencil-necked MIT student)
The reason for this was an attempt to show that crop-circles were very hoaxable by terrestrial means. In this case, it had been reported that the joints of the grainstalks that had been flattened had been exposed to concentrated energy causing them to expand and deform. Cue MIT students, a car battery, and a defunct Amana Microcooker...
They showed rather conclusively that a hoaxer could create the same effect with a Micro and a little imagination...it was actually astonishingly successful.
I have often thought of mounting one on the back of my Chrysler as a deterrent to the Ricer-Racers who seem to think it necessary not only to tailgate, but to make sure that I can clearly hear their music in my car. The great thing about it would be that many "newer" cars (mine was built in '67...not a lot of plastic...nor any goofy computer controlled nonsense) have plastic-ish radiators. A focused MW at the radiator....30 seconds on "high"...and when the bell dings the radiator and the coolant both have attained the same consistancy.
I KNOW, I KNOW....there are other concerns of public safety and unforseen effects..my friend Pete managed to talk me out of doing this only after a heated debate...
But....it is awful DAMN tempting sometimes...and I do have a disused MW oven in the garage.....
As a parenthetical aside...can cars that are modified to be that ugly and are still that slow still be considered "racers" as in "ricer-racers"?
The debate rages on.....
there were tests a few years ago to make stationary "spike strip" style devices. Police would spread them across likely escape routes of bank robbers or kidnappers and then wait until the suspect vehicle was travelling over them to arm and fire. This way they could turn every intersection into a potential roadblock without affecting civilian traffic until the crooks arrived.
Downside was a tendency for fire to break out when the car's electronics were jolted. Stereo, seat control motors, etc were heated up. And the ACLU worried about the rights of criminals, who might be wearing pacemakers or braces, or IUD's. (ouch!)
I want a directional unit for eliminating the barrio-thundering Hondas and such, cranking everything from hispanic gangsta rap to 80's lame R&B. the ability to knock out the ignition of fart cannon equipped ricer-racers and ridiculously loud, straight piped V-Twin marital aids would be a bonus.
If it can be used to permanently "turn down" my neighbor's stereos when the walls start rattling, even better!
Not the military.
In the USA you aill find plenty of companies calling them U.S. something or other*
* Not affiliated withthe government of the United States or it's fill in the blank.
So clearly this is just some boat company loking for an easy way to make precooked fish products.