Military funded researchers are preparing to test a nonlethal weapon that combines light and sound. Nicholas C. Nicholas, chief scientist of Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory, told an audience yesterday at a nonlethal weapons conference that in the first half of next year, the lab plans to test DSLAD, the Distributed Sound and Light Array Debilitator. It’ll use essentially off the shelf technology to see if combining aversive noises with light produce some special debiliating effects. Anecdotal effects include dizziness and loss of balance, and of course, nausea. In other words, DSLAD could be another potential “puke ray.”
As I wrote yesterday, the Applied Research Lab, which receives funding from the Pentagon’s Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate, is also hoping to test the behavioral effects of sound at higher decibels, which could lead to a sonic blaster.
Last year, there was a lot of excitement about the Sheriff, a system that would combine a number of nonlethal technologies, such as a dazzling laser, sound beam and the pain ray. But what makes this new work significant is that there isn’t a lot of hard data on sound weapons, let alone weapons that combine sound and light.