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The flashlight and how it works  (Source: Technology Review)
The Department of Homeland Security is developing a flashlight that causes vomiting

I am sure we can all agree the best way for police to stop criminals would be to do it without having to resort to lethal means. Recently we have seen new taser weapons released to incapacitate targets without causing permanent damage.

Intelligent Optical Systems is developing a special flashlight for the Department of Home Land Security that could incapacitate targets in a couple ways.  First, the super-bright flashlight can temporarily blind a person simply by shining it in their eyes. The second method is the new and fairly disgusting method.

The light pulses and quickly changes in both color and duration to cause what Robert Lieberman, CEO of Intelligent Optical Systems, calls psychophysical effects. The effects will vary from person to person and range from simple disorientation to vertigo and nausea. That means being hit with the light from this flashlight could cause criminals to puke everywhere, a total barf-o-rama.

The effects wear off in a few minutes. It’s not clear what causes this sort of technology to work, but that cases of helicopter pilots crashing from disorientation caused from the choppy sunlight coming through the blades of the helicopter have been documented, Lieberman said.

The flashlight, or pukelight as I prefer to call it, has a couple glaring drawbacks. The target could simply turn away, which most anyone who has a bright light shined in their eyes would. The other problem I wonder about is that if the target is wearing sunglasses it might not work and the device isn’t as effective in daylight. However, the light is intended for use at night so the attenuation in daylight may not be as big an issue as it seems.

The flashlight uses a laser range finder to calculate the distance from the light to the target and adjusts the energy it produces so no permanent harm is done. Currently the devices is being tested for ways to make it smaller, it is now about fifteen inches long and four inches wide.





"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov













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