Paralysis Beam From Peak Beam Systems

A paralysis beam based on a 7.5 million candlepower strobe light from Peak Beam Systems is under development by the US Army.


(Maxa Beam from Peak Beam Systems)

Although details are sketchy, it appears that US government acquisition records call for Peak Systems to

"...design and fabricate a light-based immobilisation system/deterrent device and integrate it with an unmanned aerial system. This will include any necessary medical research on frequency and amplitude modulation of high-intensity light that will cause immobilisation to all those within the beam."

The Peak Beam Systems device can apparently be pulsed with a strobe effect that has some effect on the human nervous system. The Maxa Beam shown above has quite a range, too. It can illuminate targets as far as 1.5 miles away.

The Maxa Beam is small enough to be hand-held, which is a vital factor in the US Army's selection of the device. The ultimate goal is to mount the device on a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) for crowd-control.

The idea of a paralysis beam is an old science fiction favorite. A early version can be found in the excellent 1958 novel The Mechanical Monarch, by E.C. Tubb. In the story, the para-beam is also installed on a roaming device - the frightful metamen:

Curt skidded to a halt, staring wildly at the advancing figure of the metaman, and darted to one side.

Blue fire streamed through the air where he had stood a moment before. It swung, lifted and Curt felt his legs go numb and almost lifeless as the blue ray stabbed past him, missing him by a fraction.

...Again the blue ray sent coldness through him, slowing his reflexes and chilling his blood with the touch of paralysis...
(Read more about the para-beam)

I also recall Robert Heinlein using the idea in his earlier 1940 story Methuselah's Children; in that story, he described paralysis bombs that delivered a paralyzing beam when set off.

This device also may remind fans of classic Star Trek of a device that appeared in the 1965 episode Dagger of the Mind - the neural neutralizer.

Check out these other beam-related stories:

For every technology, there are counter-measures; read about the Thor Shield Energy Weapon-Proof Fabric. Read more about the Paralyzing floodlight.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/21/2007)

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