Science » Technologies and discoveries
Author`s name Alex Naumov

"Ice gun" will help to fight riotous crowds

Today we cannot deny the fact that many peple around the world are dissatisfied with their governments’ policies. This dissatisfaction leads to demonstrations and protests. When demonstrants become very agresive the government has to use its power. However the power should be used in its most harmless way. For such purposes military scientists invent special kinds of weapons that can stop mass disturbances and not to injure their participants. The latest invention in this field was quite unexpected.

Instead of quelling riotous crowds with tear gas or rubber bullets, peacekeepers may soon be sliming them.

A portable device worn like a Ghostbuster backpack allows the wearer to cover the ground in goo so slippery it's almost impossible for a person to maintain their footing.

"It's like walking on ice," said Errol Brigance, a senior research engineer at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

Brigance and his colleague Rolf Glauser filed for a patent on the anti-traction method earlier this year.

The technology, developed in partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps, offers another non-lethal weapon to the military's crowd control arsenal.

Although other methods — including tear gas, acoustic guns, stun guns, strobe lights and crowd barriers — work well, not every technique is appropriate for every situation. Barriers are bulky and require advance planning, for example, and in some cases, stun guns have proved lethal.

"This is about adding more tools to the toolbox," said Brigance.

The backpack system weighs less than 75 pounds and consists of three tanks: one containing compressed air, another filled with five gallons of water, and a third containing powder made from an acrylic polymer.

The compressed air works to independently pump the water and powder out two nozzles, mixing the substances mid-air into a honey-thick goo too viscous to be dispensed any other way.

The nozzles can shoot the non-toxic material up to 25 feet, enough leeway to slime the ground in front of a maddening mob. Vehicles won't have much luck gaining traction either.

Researcher Neil Davison, who coordinates the Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project at the University of Bradford in the U.K., cautions such a system could cause more chaos and harm than initially intended.

"If everyone is falling over in a crowd situation, that might make it more hazardous," he said.

And it could spell trouble for a vehicle in motion. "If they are traveling at high speeds it may be non-lethal," said Davison.

The anti-traction device is currently slotted for two phases of testing and could be in use by the end of next year.

Source: discover.com

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
Pravda.ru

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