Piezer - Homeland Security Orders Verne's 1875 'Leyden Ball'

Midé Technology Corporation of Medford, Massachusetts is working on a non-lethal device called the Piezer (pronounced "pee-ay’-zer"). Conventional 'stun-gun' devices like the Taser rely on batteries linked to transformers and a capacitor. The range of the device is limited to the length of the wires that carry the electrical charge - typically no more than 20 feet. The company has been awarded a Phase I SBIR from the Department of Homeland Security for development of the device, described as "an untethered electro-muscular disruption non-lethal stun weapon based on piezoelectric technology for civil law enforcement officers and the military."

The Piezer contains piezoelectric crystals, which produce a voltage when they are compressed. The Piezer is designed to be fired from a standard 12-gauge shotgun. Midé claims the Piezer could be effective at 40 to 50 meters, longer than the 'bean bag' rounds also dispensed with shotguns.

In his 1875 science fiction classic 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Jules Verne writes about an undersea hunting expedition using a very unique form of bullet - a Leyden ball:

...the balls sent by this gun are not ordinary balls, but little cases of glass. These glass cases are covered with a case of steel, and weighted with a pellet of lead; they are real Leyden bottles, into which the electricity is forced to a very high tension. With the slightest shock they are discharged, and the animal, however strong it may be, falls dead.
(Read more about Verne's leyden ball)

In Verne's novel, the leyden balls are fired with special rifles that are powered by compressed air; it is only necessary that they touch the target. It is even possible to use them to bag game that is flying mere feet above the waves:

I was witness to one of the finest gun shots which ever made the nerves of a hunter thrill. A large bird of great breadth of wing, clearly visible, approached, hovering over us. Captain Nemo's companion shouldered his gun and fired, when it was only a few yards above the waves. The creature fell stunned, and the force of its fall brought it within the reach of dexterous hunter's grasp. It was an albatross of the finest kind.
(Read more about Verne's leyden ball)

Science fiction fans may also recall the electric rifle, a somewhat more fanciful idea from the 1911 classic Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle.

See also information about two similar devices, the Lynntech projectile and Inertial Capacitive Incapacitor, both under current development, as well as the reference article at New Scientist. There are other technologies under study: take a look at the VLe variable projectile gun, as well as the Active Denial System.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/18/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Weapon ")

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.' - Poul Anderson, 1966.

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...' - Daniel Suarez, 2012.

Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'- Alfred Bester, 1974.

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.