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 -
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.
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.
Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation.
Kazahk Ironist Protester Arrested For Blank Sign Protest
'...a man carried a white rectangular sign, blank on both sides.'
Bitcoin Surges Again, To $7,000
'... electronic, private cash, unbacked by any government, untraceable, completely anonymous.'
China Develops Taste Testing Robots
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
North Sea Stone Age Reconstruction And Philip K Dick
'Your Dip digs back into antiquity. Rome. Greece. Dust and old volumes.'
Tesla Robotaxis Will Automatically Recharge Themselves
'Then it appeared to make up its mind, and trundled over to a wall socket...'
New Lifelike Material Powered By Artificial Metabolism
'... The biological robots were not living creatures.'
Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD
'Gramp Stevens sat in a lawn chair, watching the mower at work...'
Elon Musk Foretells Tesla Sans Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'
Adversarial Patches Trick Computer Vision
'The surveillance cameras can all see it, but then they forget they’ve seen it.'
Amazon Warehouse Computer Can Fire People Now
'The system has already fired five people...'
BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head
'... they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells.'
Yes, But Do Astrobees Have Lasers For Lightsaber Training?
'... Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.'
'Young Razorbacks Before Their Katanas Grow In'
'Twin robotic arms with gleaming three-foot sword blades unfolded from the forward hydraulic assemblies...'
A New Way To Run Into Things
'He made an adjustment, pointed the tube at the wall beside Etzwane, and projected a cone of light.'
'Metallic Wood' Strong Like Titanium, Floats In Water
'A metal... light as cork and stronger than steel...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories