by David Hambling
03 July 2008
from NewScientist Website


A US company claims it is ready to build a microwave ray gun able to beam sounds directly into people's heads.

The device - dubbed MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) - exploits the microwave audio effect, in which short microwave pulses rapidly heat tissue, causing a shockwave inside the skull that can be detected by the ears. A series of pulses can be transmitted to produce recognizable sounds.

The device is aimed for military or crowd-control applications, but may have other uses.

Lev Sadovnik of the Sierra Nevada Corporation in the US is working on the system, having started work on a US navy research contract. The navy's report states that the effect was shown to be effective.

 

 


Scarecrow beam?

MEDUSA involves a microwave auditory effect "loud" enough to cause discomfort or even incapacitation. Sadovnik says that normal audio safety limits do not apply since the sound does not enter through the eardrums.

"The repel effect is a combination of loudness and the irritation factor," he says. "You can't block it out."

Sadovnik says the device will work thanks to a new reconfigurable antenna developed by colleague Vladimir Manasson. It steers the beam electronically, making it possible to flip from a broad to a narrow beam, or aim at multiple targets simultaneously.

Sadovnik says the technology could have non-military applications. Birds seem to be highly sensitive to microwave audio, he says, so it might be used to scare away unwanted flocks.

Sadovnik has also experimented with transmitting microwave audio to people with outer ear problems that impair their normal hearing.

 

 


Brain damage risk

James Lin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois in Chicago says that MEDUSA is feasible in principle.

He has carried out his own work on the technique, and was even approached by the music industry about using microwave audio to enhance sound systems, he told New Scientist.

"But is it going to be possible at the power levels necessary?" he asks.

Previous microwave audio tests involved very "quiet" sounds that were hard to hear, a high-power system would mean much more powerful - and potentially hazardous - shockwaves.

"I would worry about what other health effects it is having," says Lin. "You might see neural damage."

Sierra Nevada says that a demonstration version could be built in a year, with a transportable system following within 18 months.

 

They are currently seeking funding for the work from the US Department of Defense.

 

 







MEDUSA Controls Crowds By Talking Inside Their Heads
by Bill Christensen
July 07, 2008

from Technovelgy Website

MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) is a device that uses the microwave audio effect to produce recognizable sounds right inside a person's head.

Lev Sadovnik of the Sierra Nevada Corporation in the US is working on the system; he says the device will work thanks to a new reconfigurable antenna developed by colleague Vladimir Manasson. It steers the beam electronically, making it possible to flip from a broad to a narrow beam, or aim at multiple targets simultaneously.

MEDUSA involves a microwave auditory effect "loud" enough to cause discomfort or even incapacitation. Sadovnik says that normal audio safety limits do not apply since the sound does not enter through the eardrums.

"The repel effect is a combination of loudness and the irritation factor," he says. "You canít block it out."

The Overlord Karellan discusses a similar device in Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 novel Childhood's End.

"All political problems," Karellen had once told Stormgren, "can be solved by the correct application of power."

"That sounds a rather cynical remark," Stormgren had replied doubtfully. "It's a little too much like 'Might is Right'. In our own past, the use of power has been notably unsuccessful in solving anything."

"The operative word is correct. You have never possessed real power, or the knowledge necessary to apply it. As in all problems, there are efficient and inefficient approaches. Suppose, for example, that one of your nations, led by some fanatical ruler, tried to revolt against me. The highly inefficient answer to such a threat would be some billions of horsepower in the shape of atomic bombs. If I used enough bombs, the solution would be complete and final. It would also, as I remarked, be inefficient - even if it possessed no other defects."

"And the efficient solution?"

"That requires about as much power as a small radio transmitter-and rather similar skills to operate. For it's the application of the power, not its amount, that matters. How long do you think Hitler's career as dictator of Germany would have lasted, if wherever he went a voice was talking quietly in his ear? Or if a steady musical note, loud enough to drown all other sounds and to prevent sleep, filled his brain night and day? Nothing brutal, you appreciate. Yet, in the final analysis, just as irresistible as a tritium bomb."

Regular readers are already familiar with how the 'Paranormal State' Ad Billboard Makes You Hear Voices; it uses an "audio spotlight" to put a commercial message right next to your ear.