Re: Should we be developing nonlethal means
Sun, 3 Oct 1999 01:01:03 EDT

In a message dated 10/2/1999 10:40:18 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Chuck Kuecker writes:

<<Speaking as one who actually tried building a wireless stun gun, I have two comments about the 'UV laser' approach:

First, any laser powerful enough to ionize air is a weapon all in itself. Even if it was only breifly pulsed, it takes quite a bit of energy to ionize a column of air.

Second, to maintain the ionized channel long enough to conduct current will take a large voltage to strike the plasma arc, and a large discharge current to keep it lit. I doubt it will be possible to send the 'T-wave' pulses as used in the original Taser product through this channel - it will be more like a lightning bolt. Also, the fact that a return path is required would either put the operator at risk in becoming part of the circuit, or would require two ionized paths, parallel to each other and fairly close together. What's to keep the current from taking the easy way out and arcing right at the projector?

Before patent research found that I had been scooped by Jaycor (check out their webpage for some really DUMB idea), I built and tested a stun gun using two conductive streams of water. Due to breakup of the streams, the best range I got was just over three feet - but I was able to light a neon target reliably at that distance. The obvious problems with this approach are that a raincoat completely defends against either conductive streams or any 'UV' approach that does not incinerate its' target.>>

Thank you very much for your post, Chuck. Some hands on experience is exactly what we need here in our theoretical musings<g>. Your comments are the kinds of things I thought might be a problem with the wireless tasers
(though they were quite muddled in the back of my head and I didn't have
enough experience in this area to really be certain if there were anything to them). I was worried that it would take a lot of energy to successfully fire a taser without wires, and hadn't even considered the two pathway issue. And of course the fact that it is easy to foil a taser with relatively common clothes protection is a problem as well. Too bad that the UV laser would require so much energy (thus increasing its destructive capability).

Glen Finney