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back to article Lightning-zapgun maker gets more US gov cash

A US company developing laser-enhanced electric plasma lightning blaster cannons says it has received further funding from the US military. Applied Energetics (the company formerly known as Ionatron) announced today that it had landed a $4.5m contract to advance its Laser Guided Energy technology (LGE). “We thank the Army for …

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Paris Hilton

Unarmed and Dangerous

"The management of the renamed Applied Energetics now face a shareholder lawsuit alleging that they knew all along that the kit wasn't ready for field use etc" - isn't this basically the plot of cult mid-80s Fred Ward kung-fu crime thriller "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins"? Whoever would have guessed that film would be so prescient.

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Boffin

An infinite number of monkeys with a typewriter...

Will eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare..

Fund an infinite number of ludicrous ideas and one of them is bound to work eventually....

..isn't it?

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Coat

A Pedant Writes...

Set phasers to *mulch*, surely...?

My coat please...no, that is a gun in the pocket...

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Silver badge

A lightning-zapgun ...... just what the world needs. Strewth! Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

"The management of the renamed Applied Energetics now face a shareholder lawsuit alleging that they knew all along that the kit wasn't ready for field use, but failed to disclose this so as to make large personal gains on inflated stock in the run-up to failed military tests."

Err, excuse me, but isn't that the norm in big business today, Sub-Prime Collateralised Debt Obligations on Worthless Bonds/Take the Money and Run thus Rendering Currency practically Useless as Trust across Markets is Lost and Destroyed and the Printing of Money to Try to Inject Life into the Dead System reveals it true Purpose...... to Keep the Same Fat Cats at the top of the Money System, which has Failed to Provide Triple AAA Protection and Future Production.

If F is for Failure, FFS is For Failure Squared.

Dear Cap'n,

Your Ship is a Collander and has another Leak, are you going down to Davy Jones' Locker or do you fancy a Bit [a few Luscious Bytes actually] of Pandora's Box?

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Go

@Ashley

Thanks. I now have to root out my entire collection of "The Destroyer" paperbacks and re-live my pre-teen years of not getting the jokes and trying to practice sinanju in the mirror....

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E

Weapons Fetishism

I think someone in the Pentagon has an erection.

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Joke

@E

Weapons Fetishism? Isn't that covered under the new extreme porn legislation?

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Pirate

To make a neat gun.

For those who are still alive.

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Go

@Garth

Their points of data make a beautiful line,

They're out of beta, they're releasing on time.

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Joke

But what a cool name!

"laser-enhanced electric plasma lightning blaster cannons"

Who wouldnt want one of those?

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Re: But what a cool name!

Well, BFG is probably copyrighted...

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Dead Vulture

@Mark_T

"Fund an infinite number of ludicrous ideas and one of them is bound to work eventually...."

In an ideal world, it would work like that. In the real world, sadly, it's more like: Fund an infinite number of ludicrious ideas, and every single scammer and con artist will make up some research to get that money.

Essentially we've seen this already in the Dot Com bubble. As it became obvious that you can get a lot of VC money just for being a dot-com with no further business, plan, companies were formed with just that as their sole business plan. I remember briefly working for a dot-com which literally, had only that plan: we'll have an IPO and get hundreds of millions for having a web-site! I was at the grand christmas party and the CEO and head accountant came on the stage and proclaimed that as the grand future of the company.

So, well, I would at least _hope_ that the government brings a scientist along and wants to see some proof of concept before forking over the dough.

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I'm due at a sales conference

AND I WANT ONE!!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Too much time on Q3/UT3 maybe?

Later version of Unreal Tournament & Quake 3 (I think) have a Lightning gun.

From what I remember, not very effective in game either.

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Silver badge

Gravy trains are an Invention but they do need Continuous Invention/Viable imagination

"So, well, I would at least _hope_ that the government brings a scientist along and wants to see some proof of concept before forking over the dough." ... By Hans Mustermann Posted Monday 28th April 2008 16:10 GMT

Good plan, Hans, which could be foiled by "Need to Know" fans who are into protecting their rackets. And in Science, surely any new development/breakthrough is something brand spanking new which has never been done before and be a unique initial understanding. It is the very nature of the beast.

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In terms of lasers

(Or, at least how I observed them.)

AFAIK, Class-3 lasers and higher are hot enough to generate actual plasma--and these bad boys are nasty! You defintly don't want one to the face, even if it's set to "pants-wetting." They're called medical lasers for a reason, so unless they figured out a way to drastically reduce the hazzards of eye damage without modifying the wattage needed to create plasma... well, I'll keep calling myself a Cracker (native) 'round these parts.

(And I suspect that the only way to make a "stream" of plasma is with a Class-4 on wide bore lenses and extra juice. My own experience show that Class-3s produce plasma on "spark", or point of flash where they hit a surface. You'd need to "spark" the air itself just to make the channel.)

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@"What a cool name"

"LEEPLBC"? Trips right off the tongue.

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Anonymous Coward

How long

I wonder how long it would take to roast a whole cow with one of these things.

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Paris Hilton

It is not as easy as it seems

I tried the same thing 20+ years ago. In fact me and a couple of friends had the same idea in high school for a high school science project.

It is very hard to get this done for a very simple reason - the ionisation trail of a laser beam is not smooth. It tends to be a sequence of "bubbles". As a result discharging over it goes all over the place. We managed to get a discharge across 10-20cm at the time and we thought it as a great achievement. So we were dreaming of huge blasters used instead of cannons.

Dream on...

The physics prof who reviewed our project poured a "bucked of cold water" over our dreams by showing us how the ionisation trail of a big neodim industrial laser looks like. It was like beads sitting on an interrupted string. No way to drive a discharge reliably over it.

Sigh... Even if we succeeded the patent would have expired by now anyway...

Paris, as the most appropriate depiction of the scientific and engineering chance of success of this venture.

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PPC anyone?

This is also called a Partical Projection Cannon. A laser ionizes the air, followed immediately by an electrical charge and ionized particles. The PPC concept has been around for a very long time, although its use as a weapon remains largely in the realms of sci-fi (Battletech / Mechwarrior universe, and Robotech).

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Flame

@Garth

There is research to be done.

*On* the people who are still alive.

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Unhappy

@AC

I rather think the point is that when they were trying to release on time, they weren't out of beta....

The laser-enhanced electric plasma lightning blaster cake is a lie.

@amanfromMars

True, but surely your scientist with training and experience in $field could have a look at the methodology used and the assumptions and pronounce them reasonable, ambitious, ludicrous or V14g0r.

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Alert

Prominent Warning Label

"Do not look at beam with remaining good eye."

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Happy

Who wouldn't want a PGMP?

...or in this case a LEEP LBC..

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Coat

@ Andy ORourke

"laser-enhanced electric plasma lightning blaster cannons"

Who wouldnt want one of those?

Perhaps this'll be the next Bruce Willis series: "LEEPL Weapon"!

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Dead Vulture

and to think... i used to work there

personally, i thought the best thing to ever come out of those laser tests were the bits of superheated sand/glass particles you could sift out from the sand bed they used. that, and the little blue parking sticker on my car.

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Silver badge
Alien

Jumpers......Quantum Leapers Anonymous. My Name is AC and I'm Frightened of my Opinion :-)

"@amanfromMars

True, but surely your scientist with training and experience in $field could have a look at the methodology used and the assumptions and pronounce them reasonable, ambitious, ludicrous or V14g0r." ..... By Niall Posted Monday 28th April 2008 23:07 GMT

Indeed she could, Niall, and anyone and/or anything worth a Jot of XXXXCeptional Regard would be more than happy to reveal all to her $field Inspections ..... for, of course, All the Best of the Best Inventions are always Colossal Collisions of Works in Virtually Real Progress. .........although that would really make her a Bank€r with training and experience in the Science of Psychology and Psychoses too? For anything Novel and Built to Last for Pleasure is always a Manic XXXXPerience to lose yourself within.

And I'll see your V14g0r and raise it V2.0 7g Ore ...... Standing up Proud 42 Be Counted On? Spookily enough, whenever you enter 7g into Google it hits you with some Dixie Chicks and not some Tricky Dickies which does have a Most Definitive Semantic Relativity to amfM NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActivity.

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Boffin

@Bryce

"Who wouldn't want a PGMP"

Old traveller geek! :)

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Ru
Flame

Re: PPC anyone?

Only no particles are being projected, are they? In fact, this is almost, but not quite, totally unlike any kind of accelerated ion weapon.

The principle has in fact been proven many times... but like so many fancy projects it is totally unsuited to the battlefield at this time. The first demo I heard of was an enormous chemical laser based thing that might just about fit on a humvee and be useful enough to taser a person at short range.

In fact, I believe Tesla wanted to make something like this way back, only using powerful UV lamps instead. Not very practical.

Give em a few more years yet, I reckon.

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Pirate

OK - how about triple-stage?

So it seems from the technical discussion here that the laser isn't enough to create a suitably conductive path for the lightning canon to fire through. How about disturbing the air prior to the laser with a bullet or rocket first (or maybe a rail-gun-fired projectile for the hell of it?), then fire the ultra-hot laser, then finally the death-ray?

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Coat

Using a laser is dumb.

How can you put the terms 'accelerated ion weapon' together and not see how this might work...has anyone here heard of xenon ion drives? aka Nasa' new toy. Now you have a high speed (30km/s) stream of ionised particals then zap you have a fried pigeon. oh and a nice cool blue glow. just dont run out of gas. but then again perhaps a nitrogen based version is possible? or would you just get a brown glow? everyone knows brown is not cool! anyway I dont think the recoil from the ion drive will too dificult to handle unless you work with a government budget........

Anyway this is all wasted if your victim is either not earthed or has a taser jacket on... (aka conductive cloth acts like faraday cage.)

ok enough rambling... mines the one with the carbon strands in the kevlar weave.... next to the tinfoil one..

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Happy

I like

The triple stage weapon idea.

First two solid fuel rockets dragging 5 sq mm copper wires to assist in the power transfer. Complete with HE / AP warhead to penetrate the anti-taser coats etc. I suppose you could use the lasers for aiming.

Now set THAT on stun. :)

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