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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
TIKAD Armed Drone Ready To Fight
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...' - Larry Niven, 1972.
LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.' - Keith Laumer, 1976.
Railguns For Surface Ships
'It was simply a long solenoid that threw little steel bullets...' - John W. Campbell, 1933.
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.
3D Printed Artificial Muscles Are Stronger Than Yours
Bots don't need to work out.
Fog Computing (AKA Edge Computing) Ad Hoc Networks
'The tiny devices chirped their impulse codes at one another...'
Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'
HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."
Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'
DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'
A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?
Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'
Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'
PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'
Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...'
Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'
U of M's MCity To Feature Asimov's Automatobuses
Should you turn autonomous buses off?
Crazyflie Drone Swarm Technology
'...Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'
Our GodBot, Who Art In Cyberspace
Vaal hungers! We must serve him.
easyJet Short-Haul Electric Jets
Have a little faith, will you? They're working on it.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories