Why should cops carry a nightstick, when light can make you sick? The cheery folks at the US Department of Homeland Security have been funding a nausea-inducing flashlight (because nothing else the government does makes people ill enough). The MIT Technology Review has the story:
The flashlight … uses a range finder to measure the distance to the target’s eyes so that it can adjust the energy of the light to a level that won’t cause permanent damage. Then it rapidly shoots out pulses of light from an array of ultrabright light emitting diodes (LEDs).
The flashes incapacitate a person in two different ways, says Robert Lieberman, CEO of Intelligent Optical Systems, based in Torrance, CA, which is making the device. The flashes temporarily blind a person, as any bright light would, and the light pulses, which quickly change both in color and duration, also cause what Lieberman calls psychophysical effects. These effects, whose effectiveness depends on the person, range from disorientation to vertigo to nausea, and they wear off in a few minutes.
It’s not clear why the changing light pulses cause this effect, even though the effect has been well documented, Lieberman says.
For this to work, the suspect / attacker would have to be coming at a suitably equipped law enforcement agent, not running away. And the perp would need to keep his eyes open. And it helps if this all happened at night. But, other than those limitations, the system’s got potential. Hey, it’s safer on the eyes than lasers.
The website at Intelligent Optical Systems is curiously devoid of any mention of this flashlight… or any press releases in the last four years. If any tipsters out there have additional info on this technology, please let us know!