Big Brother's toybox

topic posted Tue, April 10, 2012 - 6:00 PM by  beast
5 real-life weapons straight out of a sci-fi movie
By Tecca | Today in Tech – 2 hrs 44 mins ago

Forget the light saber; the flashy sword is but a part of the fictional Star Wars universe. These five crazy, futuristic, and veritably frightening weapons may sound like they come from epic sci-fi flicks, but they're no mere figments of the imagination — they actually exist.

From pain rays to guns that can turn people into zombies, these weapons are no longer the stuff of fiction

1. Speech-suppressing gun
If there were ever a weapon made to fit Big Brother's world to a T, this is it. Let's say someone doesn't want to hear any more of your opinions. All they have to do is point this weapon at you and pull the trigger. This gun was designed by Japanese researchers to silence people by messing with their heads, but how exactly does it work?

Within a distance of 100 feet, a directional mic perched on top of the gun picks up whatever it is the target is saying. The boxy, directional speaker that makes up the bulk of the weapon then plays the sound back with a 0.2-second delay, effectively inducing delayed auditory feedback, a phenomenon caused by the echo of your own voice that interrupts your thoughts and renders you speechless.

[Related: Palm-Sized Star Trek Tech May Be Closer Than You Think]

While it's true that the weapon could be used to ensure silence in places like the library, it could also be used to silence protesters, important political figures, and other people who actually have important things to say. Talk about an Orwellian nightmare come true!

2. Vomit ray
This weapon could also prevent you from speaking your mind, but it's because you're going to be too busy to talk while you're throwing up your lunch. Back in 2007, the U.S. Navy signed a contract with a company called Invocon to develop a weapon that uses radio frequency (RF) to affect a person's sense of hearing and equilibrium. Anyone hit by these waves (which, by the way, can pass through walls) is expected to throw up and experience severe motion sickness — effects that were proven when the company demonstrated the weapon on a very unlucky individual.

In the same year, the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology department awarded $800,000 to a company called Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) to develop the LED Incapacitator. It's a fancy flashlight that emits rapid pulse of different-colored lights to induce headache and dizziness, with vomiting as one of the possible aftereffects.

Want to make your own puke-inducing weapon? A couple of hardware hackers built one for $250, called it Bedazzler, and even posted instructions you can follow online. Part of Bedazzler's official page reads: "Yes this project does indeed cause: Nausea, dizziness, headache, flashblindness, eye pain and (occasional?) vomiting! So don't use it on your friends or pets." Although if you're building the Bedazzler because you're probably an evil overlord in training, we doubt you're going to take that advice.

Mobile pain ray3. Pain ray
More formally known as the Active Denial System (ADS), the pain ray is a weapon developed by the U.S. military that can — wait for it — cause excruciating pain by emitting high-powered waves similar to those from a microwave oven. Developed by the Pentagon, the system is composed of huge, vehicle-mounted plates. It was deployed to Afghanistan in June 2010 and pulled back just a month later without having been used.

It's unclear whether the military's plans to develop a rifle version of the system ever panned out. However, a smaller version of the pain ray called Silent Guardian was developed by defense technology company Raytheon and is currently available for use by law enforcement agencies.

While the ADS reportedly never saw action in the battlefield, it went through 10,000 trial exposures involving real people. The test subjects reported feeling like they were on fire a few seconds after being targeted, but the agonizing pain vanished as soon as they stepped out of the beam's way. The weapon was only designed to inflict pain and not actually burn anything, but around 0.1% of the test subjects reported blisters caused by second-degree burns. Double ouch!

New weapons could turn you into a zombie4. Mind-control gun
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently admitted that the country's government created a gun that can put people in a zombie-like state... at least for a short while. Or so we hope. Russia's mind-control gun attacks a target's central nervous system with electromagnetic radiation and is designed to be used for crowd control. While the government's keeping mum about the details, previous studies about the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the brain reveal that one of its possible effects is implanting thoughts and suggestions into a target's mind.

Good thing these scary zombie guns are confined to Russia and have not yet appeared in the United States, right? Well, in 2008, a U.S. company called Sierra Nevada Corporation announced that it was going to start producing the Medusa ray gun — a weapon that uses rapid microwave pulses that your brain perceives as extremely annoying sounds.

Soon after the company introduced Medusa, independent scientists came out to warn people that the weapon can't produce sounds annoying enough to disperse crowds unless it shoots strong microwave pulses that can literally fry your brain. Yikes. At least the Russian government was able to successfully test its zombie gun on real people (though to be fair, we're not exactly sure if any brains got fried in the process).

5. Self-guided bullet
The U.S. Sandia National Laboratories developed a new kind of bullet that could turn anyone into a sharpshooter in a heartbeat. The four-inch projectile has small fins on its tails similar to a dart that can steer it straight toward the target. As long as you shine a laser beam to what you want to hit, the sensor on the bullet's nose can follow it, even in the midst of strong winds and even if the target is up to a mile away. The self-guided bullet was designed for DARPA's Exacto program and will be used by the military and law enforcement agencies.

Could futuristic laser battles actually happen?Waiting for visible laser guns? Keep waiting
Many sci-fi fans are salivating for the day when handheld laser pistols become commonplace. Movies like Star Wars showcase powerful visible laser weapons in all shapes and sizes — from massive, ship-mounted cannons to tiny blasters that can fit in your pocket. Unfortunately, the chances of these types of firearms becoming a reality rests somewhere between slim and none.

There are several reasons why sci-fi laser weapons will never be possible. For starters, all current weaponized laser technology uses wavelengths of light that are invisible to the human eye. They can cause damage to a target, but you'd never be able to actually see the damaging rays the weapons generate. Second, since lasers travel at the speed of light, even if a visible laser weapon were conceptualized, you'd never actually be able to see the distinct glowing bars that are so common in futuristic firefights. On top of all that, lasers capable of doing damage to a target need massive power supplies, making the idea of a personal, portable laser weapon absolutely ludicrous.

Fascinating yet horrifying
Most of the weapons in this list may not be created to inflict fatal wounds, but they sure have terrifying implications. We know we don't want to experience awful pain, be turned into a zombie, or have our right to free speech taken away. Still, these creations represent fascinating advancements in science and technology. Let's just hope they don't fall into the hands of someone who has dreams of global domination.


7 bizarre robots in the Pentagon's defense budget
Your tax dollars are hard at work... on some of DARPA's truly unbelievable robotics projects
Taylor Hatmaker
by Taylor Hatmaker | Last updated 9:05PM EDT on April 14, 2011
Filed under: News | Computers
7 bizarre robots in the Pentagon's defense budget One part of the Department of Defense is hard at work researching technology that is alternately amazing, bizarre, and downright scary. You may not be familiar with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, more commonly known as "DARPA," but the robotic creations it brings under the wing of the U.S. defense budget are often on the cutting-edge of weird. In honor of Robotics Week, we bring you some of the craziest DARPA robots that may someday be our new overlords.

DARPA was founded in 1958 as a response to the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite and has since funded "revolutionary, high-payoff research" to keep the Pentagon supplied with the latest in defense-flavored tech. From a fluttering hummingbird-shaped spy drone to more than a few motorized automatons that move in ways uncanny, these projects should help you sleep at theory.

1. BigDog

BigDog, developed by BostonDynamics, is quadruped robot intended to haul, climb, and carry its way over rough terrain. While the buzzing noise that BigDog emits makes this robotic beast all the more unsettling, the real kicker is watching BigDog recover from a fall on slippery ice.

2. Nano hummingbird drone

This robotic ornithopter might not take the most inconspicuous shape, but it can hover aloft to fulfill your spying needs for 8 minutes straight, darting off at a brisk 11 miles an hour if any onlooker becomes the wiser. Developed by AeroVironment, this little fella has a contract with DARPA for its reconnaissance and surveillance applications.

3. LittleDog

LittleDog may not have the raw, unsettling oomph of its big brother, but its beetle-like form and successful rock-climbing (scrabbling?) skills make it no less impressive.

4. RiSE climbing robot
We're not sure what kind of surveillance opportunities await the RiSE robot, developed by a team at Carnegie Mellon, but we do know we wouldn't want to run into one of these things scaling its way up...well, anything. The RiSE is a "bioinspired climbing robot" intended to walk on land and climb vertically, two activities it seems to execute with eery aplomb.

5. PetMan

PetMan is the bipedal sibling of BigDog, reportedly developed to test chemical protection suits for the U.S. Army. PetMan simulates both human movement mechanics and human physiology precisely — it will can even sweat in hot environments.

6. Crusher unmanned ground vehicle

The Crusher is an autonomous, unmanned off-road vehicle that takes after a tank more than most of these other more biologically-inclined robots. Developed at Carnegie Mellon, it weighs 6.4 tons and packs plenty of on-board electronics — like laser range-finders and an advanced GPS system — to help it navigate over rough terrain.

7. BigDog weaponized...with horns

If BigDog's eerily sophisticated mechanical abilities and ominous buzzing sound have you a little on edge, maybe this lo-tech "weaponized" version of BigDog will make you feel better? Then again, maybe not.


Military-inspired camera launcher can give you perspective on your surroundings
A mobile eye in the sky could be used for search and rescue efforts
Mike Wehner
by Mike Wehner | Last updated 7:18PM EDT on August 9, 2011
Filed under: News | Portable Devices
Military-inspired camera launcher can give you perspective on your surroundings Using military hardware as inspiration for civilian law enforcement equipment is nothing particularly new, but rarely are the tools as cool as this homemade, launchable camera that was shown off at this year's Defcon. A pair of hackers, Vlad Gostom and Joshua Marpet, created the camera, which is modeled after an Israeli surveillance device that can be shot out of a 40mm military grenade launcher. In wartime scenarios, the device is used to provide an aerial view of the enemy and other threats, but a civilian version has many potential uses as well.

The homemade cam is similar to its military counterpart — nicknamed the Firefly — but has been built to fit inside a 37mm flare gun. These flare launchers are available for civilian use, unlike their much more destructive 40mm counterparts. Once launched, the camera activates and provides several precious seconds of video to a wireless receiver. The ambitious hackers hope to get a height of 1,300' out of the current prototype, while the military Firefly is capable of launching nearly 2,000' in the air.

The duo hope that their invention can be utilized by law enforcement and other agencies for things like search and rescue missions, where an eye in the sky could help save a life. They estimate that the high-tech camera system would cost as little as $500 at retail, though with an initial test flight of just 30', they have a long road ahead if the launcher is to make it to market.
posted by:
  • Re: Big Brother's toybox - Meet AlphaDog

    Tue, April 10, 2012 - 6:06 PM

    World's scariest robot gets scarier: Meet AlphaDog
    AlphaDog, developed by Boston Dynamics, is BigDog's creepier big brother
    Taylor Hatmaker
    by Taylor Hatmaker | Last updated 2:20PM EDT on September 30, 2011
    Filed under: News | Computers
    If you were feeling a little too confident in the superiority of the human race (after all, it's always best to stay on your toes when it comes to robot uprisings!), this video should certainly rouse you. Meet AlphaDog, the older sibling of Boston Dynamics' DARPA-funded robo-terror BigDog. Granted, the human race hand-crafted both robots to serve us, but AlphaDog's advanced skill set is a bit unnerving nonetheless.

    AlphaDog, currently in the prototype stage, was created for hauling heavy loads over rough terrain on military operations. The robot is both larger and more capable than its predecessor: it can carry a load of 400 pounds for 20 miles straight. Like BigDog, its equine-like joints allow AlphaDog to specialize in staying balanced — even with two grown men trying to shove it over.

    If you want to skip ahead to the really creepy stuff, take a look at 1:08 and watch AlphaDog's very cool (if somewhat terrifying) new system of righting itself from a tipped-over position.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Big Brother's toybox - Meet AlphaDog

      Wed, April 11, 2012 - 1:12 AM
      'carry heavy loads'

      No army in the world is going to pay 4 million dollars for a mechanical donkey.

      But they will pay 10 million dollars for an autonomous, all-terrain weapons platform, the G.I. equivalent of the predator drone.

      BigDog is a weapons platform, and any suggestions toward any other end are blatant lies and misinformation.

      How easily could it be fitted with olfactory sensors that are hundreds of times more sensitive than a bloodhound's nose? Hearing so accurate and so sensitive that it performs echo-location ON TOP of hearing whispers across a football field? 360 degree panoramic vision with 30x zoom capability and night vision/infrared? Now take 30 of these robots and drop them off in a strategic pattern within a target terrain, all interlinked so that if a single one spotted a target, they would all instantly converge in perfect unison with exact flanking maneuvers and ambush tactics? NOW how about linking them with the drones up in the sky?

      Now, instead of an onboard gas generator powering it with a range of 20 miles and a runtime of 24 hours..... How about methane fuel cells which provide it with a 30 day supply of power and 20 miles per day range?

      the only question that remains, is what kind of automatically tracking, laser-cutting-machine precise, weapons system do you want to mount? A high powered rifle? A belt fed machine gun? how about a wide-spectrum compression laser to burn your skin off your bones or a tight-beam focused microwave cannon to melt your brain inside your head, even through walls?

      We are probably about ten years away from solving the 'power supply' limitation of robotics. Around that same time, given current trends we should have 2 terahertz microprocessor that can literally perform more 'thought' operations than the human brain running at full capacity on a starbucks double shot.

      DARPA is currently the world-leading company in military robotics, they are developing BigDog. Here is a PR video clip of some near-future aspirations they put out. It will give any tech-nerd a boner and it will send any survivalist into town to buy more tinfoil supplies.

      Please watch this if your connection allows.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Big Brother's toybox

    Wed, April 11, 2012 - 12:42 PM
    A shade of green high energy LEDS flashing at a specific frequency can cause you to experience paralyzing epileptic like fits.
    The Air Force was screwing with this back in the 1990s
    Imagine riding down the highway and deciding that it'd be fun to piss off that idiot who is tailgating you with such a gizmo?

    It's only a matter of when not if.

    • Unsu...

      Re: Big Brother's toybox

      Wed, April 11, 2012 - 1:01 PM
      As with all these gadgets, we can do just about anything we want.

      Our only limitation is power source.

      Once we solve the energy/portability restriction, a whole new era of humanity will emerge, just as different from ours as our age of rockets and computers is different from the steam era, and as they were different from the renaissance.

      The pressures are building both economically, socially, and politically, for an energy revolution. We will either hit a point of crisis and collapse, or we will hit a point of breakthrough and things will never be the same again.

      history continually favors the idea that humanity has a tendency to break through and overcome as a species, however, there are also enough examples of collapse and setback to give one plenty of reason to prepare for the worst.
      • Re: Big Brother's toybox

        Wed, April 11, 2012 - 9:47 PM
        If you guys are worried about fighting big brother you can't.Look at the story of ruby ridge.I hate to admit it but the day of the independant american is over.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Big Brother's toybox

          Thu, April 12, 2012 - 12:31 AM
          I guess it's a good idea not to attend insurrectionist rallies and offer to equip strangers you meet there, with illegal firearms.

          But yes, if you see the ATF vans coming up your drive, your plan of action should not include any hope for survival. Based on their history of blatant, EVIL 'any means justifies our end' behavior, and draconian treatment of U.S. citizens, you are best off to take as many of them with you as you can before they pump your house full of flammable gasses, torch you with incendiary automatic fire, and bulldoze all the evidence with a tank and make up a pack of lies to justify what they did to you and your family.

          It's possible that with enough people fighting tooth-and-nail against the thugs like the 300 spartans of old.... It may eventually weaken their stomach for violence, or a possibility with a higher likelihood, turn the tides of public awareness against them enough to make a difference politically, de-fund them and severely strip down the power available to them legally and executively.