Army Seizure Ray Inspired By Pikachu (Updated)
A 1997 episode of Pokemon that depicted Pikachu exhibiting his electric powers caused seizures or other symptoms of epilepsy among hundreds of viewers.
Of course, the US Army wants a "seizure ray" that could cause the same effect by somehow disrupting the chemical pathways in the central nervous system.
The idea is that seizure would be induced by a specific electrical stimulus triggered through the optic nerve. “The onset of synchony and disruption of muscular control is said to be near instantaneous,” the 1997 Army report reads. “Excitation is directly on the brain.” And “100% of the population” is supposed to be susceptible to the effects — from distances of “up to hundreds of meters” — “[r]ecovery times are expected to be consistent with, or more rapid than, that which is observed in epileptic seizures.”
That’s not a lot of time — the Army’s analysis noted that a grand-mal seizure typically lasts between one and five minutes. But the analysis speculated that the seizure weapons could be “tunable with regard to type and degree of bodily influence” and affect “100% of the population.” Still, it had to concede, “No experimental evidence is available for this concept.”
The document cautioned that the effectiveness of incapacitating a human nervous system with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) “has not been tested.” But the analysis speculated that “50 to 100 kV/m free field of very sharp pulses” would likely be “sufficient to trigger neurons or make them more susceptible to firing.”
When considered as a "ray gun" kind of weapon, I thought about referencing the pain ray from Edmond Hamilton's 1928 classic Crashing Suns and the Penfield wave transmitter from Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
However, I realized that the idea of a weaponized display-induced epileptic seizure had already been written about by John Varley in his 1984 award-winning short story Press Enter. In the novel, a malignant artificial intelligence exploits a medical weakness of the main character by programming his monitor to induce a seizure:
We were almost through when her monitor screen began to malfunction. It actually gave off a few hisses and pops, so Lisa stood back from it for a moment, then the screen started to flicker. I stared at it for a while. It seemed to me that there was an image trying to form on the screen. Something three-dimensional. Just as I was starting to get a picture of it I happened to glance at Lisa, and she was looking at me. Her face was flickering. She came to me and put her hands over my eyes.
"Victor, you shouldn't look at that."
"It's okay," I told her. And when I said it, it was, but as soon as I had the words out, I knew that it wasn't. And that is the last thing I remembered for a long time.
Update: Reader Ken Ziegler reminds us of the LOOKER (Light Ocular-Oriented Kinetic Emotive Responses) gun from the 1981 film LOOKER written and directed by Michael Crichton. The device is a light pulse device that gives the illusion of invisibility by instantly mesmerizing its victims into losing all sense of time.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/28/2012)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.
TIKAD Armed Drone Ready To Fight
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...' - Larry Niven, 1972.
LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.' - Keith Laumer, 1976.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Made In Space To Manufacture Optical Fiber In Orbit
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.
Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.
Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'
NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.
Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'
SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'
Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'
Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'
Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?
Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''
China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'
iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.
Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories