Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Monday, July 16, 2007

Future Shock

Ralph Buttigieg
Sydney, NSW

The Tom Swift novels inspired many people including former NASA scientist Jack Cover who invented the Thomas A Swift Electric Rifle, commonly known as the Taser. Now tasers have been used by police forces for many years but progress never stops the Taser people have developed a wireless stun gun.

Above is a picture of the Taser XREP projectile, described by the company as follows:

The XREP comes pre-packaged in shell that is compatible with existing 12 gauge launchers. The transparent shell ensures officers properly identify the XREP prior to loading it in the shotgun.

As the TASER XREP is deployed, a rip cord attached between the shell and the projectile activates the projectile. Once activated, the TASER XREP is “live” as it comes out of the barrel. The XREP autonomously generates incapacitating Neuro Muscular Incapacitation for 20 continuous seconds -- enough time to close the distance and take the offender into custody without risking injury to officers.

Don't think you can pull the dart off either:

Another innovative and unique feature of the XREP nose is the reflex engagement electrode. A normal reaction to the pain of a projectile impact is for the subject to grab at the impact site. If the subject tries to grab or disconnect the XREP projectile, the reflex engagement electrodes complete a circuit allowing TASER NMI to discharge from the Nose Electrodes, through the subject’s body, out to the hand that grabbed the XREP. This creates a significant spread that allows the XREP pulses to affect a large body mass, causing overpowering Neuro Muscular Incapacitation.

However the ideal stun gun would not have any projectiles, instead it would use a stun beam, just like in those science fiction movies. Well another company, XADS, is working on just such a weapon.

Conventional stun guns - the best known of which is the Taser - work by firing darts into the target. The darts trail wires connected to the gun by which the electric shock is delivered. However, its use is limited to single targets at very close range. It is also highly controversial: 40 people have died following shocks from a Taser, although in every case the death has been attributable to other factors, including alcohol or drug use.

The new device works very differently: it fires a stream of plasma, or ionised gas, at its target. This provides a conductive channel for the electricity. Early versions have a limited range - just 3 metres - but because of the way it works, it will be possible to sweep the beam across multiple targets.

"We will be able to fire a stream of electricity like water out of a hose at one or many targets in a single sweep," said XADS president Peter Bitar.

The 21st Century was supposed to bring us holidays in Space, flying cars and ray guns. I realize stun guns are useful for law enforcement , but I rather have a flying car.