Re: Should we be developing
Tue, 5 Oct 1999 08:19:13 EDT

In a message dated 10/3/1999 9:24:54 AM EST, writes:

<< Stealthy stun? Why would this be a good thing? Once a person is stunned,
who cares if they know what hit them? They are out of the fight.

Unless, there are darker motivations than stopping a suspect - something like knocking someone out and then subjecting them to procedures they would later have no memory of?>>

Actually, I thought the patent was referring to having a relatively quiet weapon that doesn't leave a path to follow back to the defender (though would this weapon do so, or would the ionized pathway give off light?). If you needed to deal with multiple bad guys and were still not revealed to them, this would be an asset. Let's say you are in your home and you hear several intruders in different rooms. You are going to want to take as many of them as you can by surprise. And at the very least, if you are firing from a concealed position, you don't want your weapon to give away your position. There would be similar situations for police, especially with multiple bad guys spread out physically. Of course, a stealthy weapon also makes it easier for an aggressor to take down a victim from cover.

<< I have doubts about how much dwell time is needed to successfully put
someone out of commission. A slight shock might take the fight out of rioters, however - but it might also just make them angrier.>>

I agree. This has always been a real problem with nonlethal weapons. But then again, it can sometimes take a lot to put down an attacker with a firearm.

<< I still have doubts about how much voltage would be required. Even in low
pressure gases, it takes kilovolts to light (glow discharge) a tube a meter or two long. 100 meters in air at STP still needs megavolts, not the 600 volts mentioned later in the patent.
The citations about ionization and electron density may be true, but do not really give a good feel for how much electrical power would be needed to strike the arc and maintain it.
A glow discharge in air at STP requires an enormous electric field, on the order of megavolts per meter. The laser provides the initial ionization, but unless it is a CW laser, the conducted charge must maintain the path. Hence my earlier comments about lightning.>>

I was wondering if these were realistic numbers myself. Do any of our physics people out there know more?

Glen Finney