MEDUSA Controls Crowds By Talking Inside Their Heads

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 - a voice in the ear - 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.

Via Microwave ray gun controls crowds with noise; thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip and the quote.

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