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back to article Cig-lighter electropulse cannons offered to US plods

Electromagnetic weapons designed to zap circuitry have long been a favourite speculation of war-tech buffs. Consensus opinion suggests that the only energy source capable of powering a useful pulse strike is a nuclear explosion, or perhaps in the near future a largish conventional bomb. But a recent report in MIT Tech Review …

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Boffin

Welll....

You ARE assuming that the "Thug-Zapper™" would be used by the chase car, instead of firing from a stationray roadblock vehicle in lieu of having an officer run across traffic dragging a set of spike strips as is the practice now.

It's just barely conceivable that it might work, particularly if you had several in line, firing in succwssion.

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Stop

MIT Tech Review?

When isn't MIT making outrageous yet dubious tech cliams?

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Bronze badge

Keyword:

'Sidelobes'

Antenna sidelobes. Otherwise you'd be shooting yourself in the foot. Reflections from the slab-sided target might be an issue too. I see lots of disabled cop cars in your future.

I'll put a $3 wager on: it's a stupid idea and will not see the light of day anytime soon.

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Coat

"be attached to an automobile or aircraft carrier"

... I guess the naval varient is somewhat larger... and doesn't need to get within 15m of a target... but hey, I've been wrong before!

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Go

Better idea:

Mount this thing on your own car, facing rearward, to discourage any police who might be in pursuit.

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Alien

Does this mean

... the tin foil hat people were right?

... if HPEMS are outlawed, only outlaws will have HPEMS?

... hybrid & electric cars will electrocute their passengers?

... police will be using this to "rescue" unsuspecting donut delivery trucks and young attractive female commuters?

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Jobs Horns

Want one.

In "unrelated" news, speed cameras fry all over the place...

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Happy

One way to use it on an aircraft carrier

Seems pretty inefficient; those aircraft carriers are higher than 15 metres. I suppose they could catapult the 200lb coffin shaped device at an attacker; that would give it increased range.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=_eiJkQzpzRc

And the inevitable US version:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=fXqJmqBPDss

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Thumb Up

I want one!

Pointing backwards would be anideal way to stop tailgaters....

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Silver badge

Another use...

If these are effective at 15m range, is the distance from the roof of your car to the friendly neigbourhood speed camera you are passing within range?

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Dubious

"16-stage Marx generator"

That would be one of Groucho's, I imagine...

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Unhappy

So...

...the keyring-sized EMP generator I've been wanting to disable the cars of the doof-doof fiends as they circle slowly around the city centre is still some way off then?

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Happy

Need more info !!

Lewis,

do any of these DeathRay ©®™ researchers / companies that you report on also do a sideline in Snake Oil ?

Isn't it funny how they NEVER have a demonstrator ? Just a few million $ more should do it...well.. I say a few...

If the US Gov does actually fund these things, perhaps I could interest them in a genuine antique bridge ?

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Electric cars?

OK, so I don't have a drivers licence or know anything about the mechanics of cars, but I've always understood that the internal combustion engine works by, well, internally combusting. Surely most of the bits that make a car go are mechanical. Wouldn't this ray gun just fry the car stereo, indicators, windscreen wipers and so forth?

Failing that, would we start seeing crims driving model-T's and similar ancient non-electrical vehicles?

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Thumb Down

Diesels?

"zap all the microcircuitry, so shutting the motor down."

Compression ignition engines like diesels don't need electicity to run. Just use an old diesel with mechanical injection, the worst that'll happen is the CD player gets fried...

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Holy Tetragenic immobilizers, Batman!

And you thought Tetra was bad.

(see

http://www.chichester.co.uk/chichester/Tetra-mast-brings-car-to.756391.jp }

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Black Helicopters

Back in the 1980's

Back in the 1980's police forces accross the UK purchased a number of high speed persuit cars for use on the motorways. These happened to be made by a certain Italian manufacturer rather than the usual fords and vauxhalls.

The cars worked fine during evaluation and were implimented accross the country however some forces ran into immediate problems where by the car worked fine until they actually got into a high speed persuit.

When in a persuit the car would suddenly cough and splutter and slow down to a crawl or stop all together.

It turned out that when the engine accelerated up to above a certain number of revs the secondary fuel systems (the second choke on the twin choke carb) kicked in. This was all controlled by the on board computer that balanced the air and fuel mix going into the engine. The frequency that the in car police radio for these specific police forces transmitted at interfered with these engine management systems so when the cars occupants got on the radio to tell control that they where now in a haigh speed chase, suddenly they where not as the engine flooded as the air flow baffle in the second choke slammed shut and the car ground to a halt.

To get around the problem the engineers in the police garage wrapped up all the EMU and fuel system electronic components with aluminium foil and metal gause to block out the RF interferance.

Needless to say, since then the police in the UK have tended to use fords and vauxhalls ever since.

This does highlight an interesting point though. If you plan to rob a bank and the police are going to use something such as this emp weapon on you, you could simply wrap the electrical components in the engine bay of your getaway car with metal gause and tin foil to make your self immune to it.

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Flawed?

Don't microwaves have a tendancy to reflect off metal objects? And aren't most cars made of metal? Surely the electronics of the car are going to be pretty well protected from this, and even if that;s not the case, what happens if you're driving a car without engine management etc?

If we're talking about battle ship mounted tech on a police car I would much rather see a DF laser on the top of a jam sandwich. Much easier to stop a car when the back end got melted off.

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@ Misha Gale

Virtually all modern vehicles rely on box after box of electronics to run - there aren't even that many purely mechanical diesels around now ! So zap the electronics and you leave the car with no fuel, no spark, no transmission (many now have electronically controlled auto-boxes), and no brakes. Oops, did I really write that, even the ABS systems are electronically controlled - though I believe they are normally designed to be failsafe (as in reverting to non-abs mode in the event of a fault).

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@Misha

Misha, the problem is that the stuff that combusts need to get in there somehow. For a petrol (gasoline) engine, that means a boxful of electronics firing injectors to get fuel in there. No fuel, no bang. Diesels are somewhat better off in that fuelling is generally still mechanical, but there's significant work done by the engine controller even so.

As for criminals driving older cars to get round this - you're presupposing intelligence from the criminals. Mostly people seem to get involved in crime because they're not smart enough to make a living other ways.

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Dead Vulture

The plural of cannon is

cannon

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Flame

Title

there were tests a few years ago to make stationary "spike strip" style devices. Police would spread them across likely escape routes of bank robbers or kidnappers and then wait until the suspect vehicle was travelling over them to arm and fire. This way they could turn every intersection into a potential roadblock without affecting civilian traffic until the crooks arrived.

Downside was a tendency for fire to break out when the car's electronics were jolted. Stereo, seat control motors, etc were heated up. And the ACLU worried about the rights of criminals, who might be wearing pacemakers or braces, or IUD's. (ouch!)

I want a directional unit for eliminating the barrio-thundering Hondas and such, cranking everything from hispanic gangsta rap to 80's lame R&B. the ability to knock out the ignition of fart cannon equipped ricer-racers and ridiculously loud, straight piped V-Twin marital aids would be a bonus.

If it can be used to permanently "turn down" my neighbor's stereos when the walls start rattling, even better!

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Black Helicopters

Not the military.

In the USA you aill find plenty of companies calling them U.S. something or other*

* Not affiliated withthe government of the United States or it's fill in the blank.

So clearly this is just some boat company loking for an easy way to make precooked fish products.

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Alien

Actually....

A small handfull of MIT soon-to-be-grads showed that a microwave oven could be made portable AND have its output directed...it utilized a backpack-sized power source coupled with the oven's innards... portable by one person (even a pencil-necked MIT student)

The reason for this was an attempt to show that crop-circles were very hoaxable by terrestrial means. In this case, it had been reported that the joints of the grainstalks that had been flattened had been exposed to concentrated energy causing them to expand and deform. Cue MIT students, a car battery, and a defunct Amana Microcooker...

They showed rather conclusively that a hoaxer could create the same effect with a Micro and a little imagination...it was actually astonishingly successful.

I have often thought of mounting one on the back of my Chrysler as a deterrent to the Ricer-Racers who seem to think it necessary not only to tailgate, but to make sure that I can clearly hear their music in my car. The great thing about it would be that many "newer" cars (mine was built in '67...not a lot of plastic...nor any goofy computer controlled nonsense) have plastic-ish radiators. A focused MW at the radiator....30 seconds on "high"...and when the bell dings the radiator and the coolant both have attained the same consistancy.

I KNOW, I KNOW....there are other concerns of public safety and unforseen effects..my friend Pete managed to talk me out of doing this only after a heated debate...

But....it is awful DAMN tempting sometimes...and I do have a disused MW oven in the garage.....

As a parenthetical aside...can cars that are modified to be that ugly and are still that slow still be considered "racers" as in "ricer-racers"?

The debate rages on.....

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