Stun guns designed to fire "electric bullets"


PDA






Preacherman
August 15, 2005, 03:42 PM
From New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg18725126.300):

US shoots ahead in stun gun design

15 August 2005

NewScientist.com news service

David Hambling

WEAPONS designed to fire "electric bullets" into crowds are being developed for police and border protection agencies in the US.


http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/archive/2512/25126301.jpg


The Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, the domestic equivalent of the defence agency DARPA, has launched an "innovative less-lethal devices for law enforcement" programme to radically expand the capabilities of electric shock weapons.

Existing stun weapons, such as the Taser, typically fire a pair of darts trailing current-carrying wires to shock the target, with a maximum range of about 7 metres. The HSARPA programme aims to develop wireless weapons that can be used over greater distances in spaces such as "an auditorium, a city street or a sports stadium".

Lynntech of College Station, Texas, is developing a projectile that can be fired from a shotgun or 40-millimetre grenade launcher. Grenade launchers are already used by riot police to fire tear gas and baton rounds. On impact, the device sticks to the target and delivers an 80,000-volt shock for 7 seconds, using a pulsed delivery similar to that used by Tasers. Further shocks can be triggered via remote control.

Brian Hennings, system integration group leader at Lynntech, would not reveal how the projectile sticks to the person, although other weapons designed to adhere often use hooks or barbs. "The biggest problem was making the device non-lethal at minimum range, yet effective at maximum range," he says.

Hennings claims Lynntech has solved this by ensuring that its round's kinetic energy is low enough to meet the safety requirement at close range. As the projectile does not rely on impact with the body to incapacitate the person, it does not need to be fired at very high velocity. The weapon's maximum range is measured in tens of metres, the company says.

Meanwhile, Midé Technology Corporation of Medford, Massachusetts, is proposing the Piezer. Rather than conventional stun-gun circuitry, with batteries linked to transformers and a capacitor, the Piezer contains piezoelectric crystals, which produce a voltage when they are compressed. The Piezer would be fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, stunning the target with an electric shock on impact. Shotguns are already used to fire less-lethal "beanbag" rounds to subdue suspects, but these have short range. Midé claims the Piezer could be effective at 40 to 50 metres.

Using a different principle again is the Inertial Capacitive Incapacitator (ICI) being developed by the Physical Optics Corporation of Torrance, California. It uses a thin-film charge storage device that is charged during manufacture and only discharges when it strikes the target. It can be incorporated into a ring-shaped aerofoil that can be fired from a standard grenade launcher at low velocity, while still maintaining a flat trajectory for maximum accuracy. The company claims this should reduce the impact force.

The first prototypes are expected to be delivered to HSARPA by the end of the year. But Tobias Feakin of the Non-lethal Weapons Research Project at the University of Bradford in the UK warns that manufacturers' claims should not be taken at face value. "Without thorough independent testing we cannot ascertain their usefulness, effectiveness or safety," he says.

If you enjoyed reading about "Stun guns designed to fire "electric bullets"" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Godfather
August 15, 2005, 10:04 PM
Sounds out of a Tom Swift book.

CARRY'IN
August 15, 2005, 11:55 PM
I believe it will work pretty well. But I have always been very conflicted about non-lethal weapons. I believe they actually raise the level of violence in some circumstances. Against young men in an urban setting it definitely will not help much. If they know the police cannot kill them they will take advantage of the fact and aggression against LEO's will go way up (in my opinion). I dont like it and maybe I am wrong, but I dont think so. In other situations it will be great and the cops will no longer have any excuse when they blast someone because they are losing a wrestling match. I see a double barrel weapon of some kind on the way with two triggers- one lethal and one non-lethal; and with a camera mounted on. The cops are not going to like that.

The_Antibubba
August 16, 2005, 07:14 PM
sounds out of a Tom Swift book,

he said shockingly. :D

GunGoBoom
August 16, 2005, 07:21 PM
Well let's see, the present tasers are killing people as is. So what do we do? Double the voltage, of course! The tort lawyers have got to be loving it. The extended range will help a LOT. But why double the juice when the present incapacitates fine, and kills some with heart or other problems?

Joejojoba111
August 17, 2005, 12:49 AM
It's actually the amperage that's the problem.AIUI they have such whopping high voltages so that they can still shock you even if they don't fully penetrate your clothing (volts (pressure) to get through the ohms (resistance)).

And when you are talkign about 1 milli-amp being the difference between life and death, with the current flowing through them, it's a tricky situation. And it's made worse of course because people aren't uniform, and they eat and drink things that further alter this, and they come in different sizes, and have different physical dispositions and conditions.

And that one with the crystal, that's playing with fire. Unless they're using some new technology those crystals degrade, in fact they use them in RPG warheads iirc and some can become too sensitive to handle safely. Try and get a consistent current in those circumstances.

c_yeager
August 17, 2005, 01:43 AM
Well let's see, the present tasers are killing people as is. So what do we do? Double the voltage, of course! The tort lawyers have got to be loving it. The extended range will help a LOT. But why double the juice when the present incapacitates fine, and kills some with heart or other problems?

Show me a single shred of *ACTUAL* evidence of a person dying as a DIRECT RESULT of a taser.

saddenedcitizen
August 17, 2005, 11:48 AM
'Show me a single shred of *ACTUAL* evidence of a person dying as a DIRECT RESULT of a taser.'

No one has been successfully prosecuted YET.

There are FAR too many cases of people dying after being
'tasered' (yes, I know it's the logic error of 'after this therefore
because of this').
Would they have died at the same time had they
not been tasered ?

Who knows.

But it seems to be happening with greater frequency.
Part of the reason is what a previous poster said about
'non lethal'.
These things ARE NOT non-lethal. They are LESS LETHAL
and are promoted that way but what is being heard (and repeated) is 'non-lethal' and therefore there is FAR less reluctance to use them.
Without knowing the general health of the person being
tasered (how about a pacemaker ??), it's a crap shoot at
best.
Also, since most of these occurances are done by, ta da,
the 'authorities' (read police), there will be very little deep investigations/autopsies so don't expect many prosecutions and even fewer convictions.

BryanP
August 17, 2005, 11:54 AM
Preacherman, the closing parenthesis and colon need to moved out of the URL for the link to work properly.

Interesting article. I wonder if those 12ga rounds would be LEO-only or if they woudl be made available to for general HD use.

Soap
August 17, 2005, 12:36 PM
I'll stick with "voltage unknown". :p

Cesiumsponge
August 17, 2005, 02:08 PM
Well let's see, the present tasers are killing people as is. So what do we do? Double the voltage, of course!

Too bad voltage has absolutely nothing to do with the lethality or stopping power of a given stun gun, electrical socket, high voltage power line, or battery. It's the peak current (and/or shape of the pulseform) delivered that incapacitates a given target.

The article shows tasers properly as (lower) high voltage devices, but I've seen tasers marketed for 500,000V... complete crap and they play the "voltage = stopping power" marketing which is 100% false. 500kV would jump about 24" in the air from pointed electrodes. If that was such the case, you'd have electrical discharges jumping out of the taser's casing and biting your hand. Most tasers have at maximum 1" spacing between electrodes which would give about 30,000V. Something actually capable of 500kV would be very large and bulky due to insulation required to separate it from the user. Take a look at the 500kV power lines and look how far away those wires hang on the monster insulators attached to the towers.

I've been hit with a meter-long electrical discharge along a dirty insulator and it scared me more than hurt me because current was nonexistent. One of the worst shocks I've had was on plain, boring 120VAC house wiring.

the Piezer contains piezoelectric crystals, which produce a voltage when they are compressed
That same concept is used in BBQ lighters in the piezoelectric crystal unit that sparks to ignite the butane. It's nothing new, but it's interesting that they're attempting to make it work in a dynamic situation and zap upon contact...though I'm not sure how impulsive it'll be and how incapacitating they can make a piezoelectric crystal. I've only had experience with elcheapo lighter units when I was a kid zapping my brother.

Using a different principle again is the Inertial Capacitive Incapacitator (ICI)...It uses a thin-film charge storage device that is charged during manufacture and only discharges when it strikes the target.
Sounds like someone is reinventing the wheel.
"inertial", it'll be moving.
"capacitative", a capacitor.
"incapacitator", it'll stop someone.
It's just a capacitor with it's terminals located so that it'll strike flesh and discharge itself into someone :rolleyes:

Preacherman
August 17, 2005, 02:10 PM
Thanks, Bryan - I fixed it.

carebear
August 17, 2005, 02:35 PM
Nice to see the old "ring airfoil" concept come back.

I love that thing.

MAURICE
August 17, 2005, 02:56 PM
That being said, and correct me if I am wrong, but
Arent most Taser deaths the result of the Taser being used on a suspect that is high on crack, coke, meth, or other drug of the week?

Not being sarcastic, and like I said, correct me if I am wrong.
Thanks,
Maurice

brickeyee
August 17, 2005, 03:11 PM
"500kV would jump about 24" in the air from pointed electrodes."

A little exagerated. The dielectric breakdown strength of air is around 30,000 V/cm. 500,000 volts would go ~16.7 cm, or only 6.5 inches.

While it is true that current greater then ~10 mA/cm^2 through cardiac tissue is requried to interfere with the normal cardiac rythm, the concept that voltage does not matter is not exactly correct either. A 1.5 V battery can easily deliver well over 1 amp. The low voltage prevents it from being a hazard in normal circumstances. The voltage necessary to restart a heart during open heart surgery is surprisingly low. Once you get past the skin humans are pretty good conductors.
I wonder how the impact force of a 40 mm projectile will be controlled to prevent lethal impact? Even rubber bullets have killed a number of people. A pepper ball even killed a girl in Boston.

Omni04
August 17, 2005, 03:11 PM
i wonder if there will be civilian versions of those?

DelayedReaction
August 17, 2005, 03:20 PM
It would be interesting if a piezoelectric crystal were to use the force of the shot to charge the round as it exited the barrel. That way you could use them as shotgun round without to much hassle. Heck, maybe that's what they're doing? If the energy were stored in a capacitor before it hits the target and discharged, that would be pretty snazzy.

The thin-film disk sounds interesting, but I wonder if they'll survive penetration issues?

Richard.Howe
August 17, 2005, 03:27 PM
Nice to see the old "ring airfoil" concept come back.

I love that thing.

Ahhh, Splinter Cell, my preciousss... :D

Cesiumsponge
August 18, 2005, 12:00 AM
"500kV would jump about 24" in the air from pointed electrodes."

A little exagerated. The dielectric breakdown strength of air is around 30,000 V/cm. 500,000 volts would go ~16.7 cm, or only 6.5 inches.

Oops, was looking at this logarithmic chart (http://www.kronjaeger.com/hv/hv/msr/spk/graph.png) and the units were in centimeters. The data line for non-spherical electrodes stops short of 300kV and I extrapolated the general vicinity of where it might be afterwards since I didn't know the general dielectric breakdown of air off the top of my head. Thanks for the correction.

Of course, at the lower end of voltage, skin has enough resistance to cover our relatively well-conducting, salt-watery contents. Of course, the voltage standoff of skin depends on thickness of skin (back of hand, the heel of your foot?) and perspiration if applicable. Voltage in general (over 50V or whatever the general threshold of conductivity through skin might be) won't really have much to do in increased lethality. Granted, one gets better results using kilovolts to pierce leather, clothes, etc. in order to make contact with skin while car batteries remain relatively benign to grabbing hands.

Also, I don't think I've seen distinctions made in taser death cases. Was the taser death a primary means, or did the taser cause involuntary contractions that might result in injuries that ultimately caused death? (ie falling down from muscles contracting and hitting their head on a concrete wall corner).

The thin-film disk sounds interesting, but I wonder if they'll survive penetration issues?
If they use a high enough voltage, it doesn't need to physically touch skin. It'll establish a path through clothing to the skin, and into the badguy.

What makes me curious is how these capacitors are charged. Do you charge them in a "battery tray" like deal similar to rechargable batteries before you shoot them? I'm not caught up on capacitor technology, but I'd find it hard to believe that capacitors charged at the factory can hold and store a charge for months on a shelf or in the firearm and work flawlessly when fired.

c_yeager
August 18, 2005, 12:31 AM
There are FAR too many cases of people dying after being 'tasered' (yes, I know it's the logic error of 'after this therefore
because of this').


Just in case anyone else doesnt catch the logical fallacy of saying:

People have died after being tasered
Therefore the taser killed them

Let me point out the amount of people who have died immediatly after eating a ham sandwich. Or how about the amount of people who have died immediatly after taking a breath of oxygen.

This is why i asked for credable evidence. Notice that there isnt any?

Byron Quick
August 18, 2005, 02:47 AM
Your two examples are also fallacious.

Sure people have died after drawing a breath of oxygen. Please compare that with the number of people who do not breathe oxygen and remain alive.

Plus the number of deaths by people who avoid not only ham sandwiches but all food and remain alive.

Apples and oranges.

Breathing is a normal physiological activity. Eating is a normal physiological activity. Electrical voltage of this magnitude is not a normal physiological activity.

Is the death rate among unhealthy people who are tasered higher than for the general population of unhealthy people? Or druggies. Or whatever group.

This comparision will not of itself establish a causal effect.

I've got two problems with police use of less than lethal weapons. The first is that I believe these weapons are used in circumstances where they would not be used if not for their supposed status as less than lethal. The second problem is that the police keep winding up with dead people from using them.

c_yeager
August 18, 2005, 03:00 AM
Your two examples are also fallacious.

uh, they were examples of a fallacy, i certainly hope they were fallacious.

Joejojoba111
August 18, 2005, 05:43 PM
"Just in case anyone else doesnt catch the logical fallacy of saying:
People have died after being tasered
Therefore the taser killed them
Let me point out the amount of people who have died immediatly after eating a ham sandwich. Or how about the amount of people who have died immediatly after taking a breath of oxygen.
This is why i asked for credable evidence. Notice that there isnt any?"


I know what you're saying! It's like, hello, he could have been about to die anyway, look at all the people tazed who don't die!

Last weekend a guy got shot 4 times at close range in his motor-home, and guess what, people all want to explain how it's the bullets that killed him. Hello, how do you know he wasn't about to die anyway???

L :) Sorry, I couldn't resist. Seriously I just want to point out that what you are missing in your example is numbers. You have assertion, but no evidence. So when you take a chart and chart all the people who eat ham sandwhiches, and then chart all the people who are tazered, and then see how many of each die in the next 24 hours, THEN you can begin to speculate on causality.

So yes you're right, but not because of your superior logic:) It's just that if anyone wants to make the argument tazers kill, they will have to go to the trouble of writing up a difficult term-paper.

If you enjoyed reading about "Stun guns designed to fire "electric bullets"" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!