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Pulsed Energy Projectile EMPs Your Nervous System

The Pulsed Energy Projectile (PEP) is a weapon currently under development by the US Military. PEP fires a short, intense pulse of laser energy towards a selected target. The invisible induced plasma pulse creates a "flash-bang" in the vicinity of the target. The weapon can be calibrated to merely warn groups or individuals, or to have more devastating effects.


(From Vehicle-mounted PEP)

Early tests indicated that PEPs caused temporary paralysis thought to be related to ultrasonic shockwaves. It became apparent that the electromagnetic pulse caused by the expanding plasma was triggering nerve cells.

Fine-tuning the pulse demonstrated that it was possible to trigger particular receptors, giving the sensations of burning, physical damage, pressure, or cold.

In his 1951 novel The Stars, Like Dust, Isaac Asimov describes a neuronic whip, a portable anti-personnel weapon:

...the very pale, almost invisible shimmer of the ionized air in the path of the whip's energy beam made its appearance. It swept wide through the air, and the path of the beam intersected Biron's foot. It was as though he had stepped into a bath of boiling lead. Or as if a granite block had toppled upon it. Or as if it had been crunched off by a shark. Actually, nothing had happened to it physically. It was only that the nerve endings that governed the sensation of pain had been universally and maximally stimulated.
(Read more about Isaac Asimov's neuronic whip)

Read more about PEP, DefenseTech, or the heavily censored Sensory consequences of electromagnetic pulse emitted by laser induced plasmas study (pdf). Thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip and the quote.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/13/2006)

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