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     MindNet Journal - Vol. 1, No. 73
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     V E R I C O M M / MindNet         "Quid veritas est?"
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The views and opinions expressed below are not necessarily the
views and opinions of VERICOMM, MindNet, or the editors unless
otherwise noted.

Permission is given to reproduce and redistribute, for
non-commercial purposes only, provided this information and the
copy remain intact and unedited.

Editor: Mike Coyle 

Assistant Editor: Rick Lawler

Research: Darrell Bross

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PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES APPLICABLE TO DEVELOPMENT OF
LESS-THAN-LETHAL WEAPONS

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Physiological Responses Applicable to Development of
Less-Than-Lethal Weapons

Sponsored by National Institute of Justice

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Less-than-lethal weapons have a variety of applications in law
enforcement, including rescuing hostages, stopping fleeing
felons, and quelling prison disturbances. The National Institute
of Justice is sponsoring a broad program to develop new
techniques for "friendly force" as an alternative to the use of
deadly force. As part of this program, Oak Ridge National
Laboratory (ORNL) is examining approaches based on known
physiological responses to certain types of stimuli. These
"weapons" would temporarily incapacitate an individual or a
group with no lasting physiological damage. These concepts are
based on ORNL's experience and expertise in biological-based
systems and biophysical responses, particularly in evaluating
the physical responses of humans to a variety of chemical,
physical and radiological agents. ORNL also has extensive
experience and expertise in risk analysis and in risk assessment
and modeling.

The ORNL less than-lethal weapons project sponsored by the
National Institute of Justice began in September 1993. The
following tasks are being performed:

*   Locate and compile data from tests, accidents, medical
    literature, etc. on biological and biophysical responses
    to energetic stimuli (such as electromagnetic fields).
*   Analyze the information and identify promising candidate
    mechanisms for further development for a friendly force
    application.
*   Evaluate the applicability of the proposed approaches to
    several realistic scenarios (such as hostage rescue or riot
    control).

ORNL has already examined several possible concepts for
less-than-lethal weapons based on known physiological responses
to energetic stimuli, including a thermal gun, a seizure gun,
and a magnetophosphene gun. A thermal gun would have the
operational effect of heating the body to 105 to 107F, thereby
incapacitating any threat, based on the fact that even a slight
fever can affect the ability of a person to perform even simple
tasks. This approach is built on four decades of research
relating radio frequency exposure to body heating. A seizure gun
would use electromagnetic energy to induce epileptic-like
seizures in persons within the range of a particular
electromagnetic field. The magnetophosphene gun is designed
around a biophysical mechanism which evokes a visual response
and is thought to be centered in the retina, known as
magnetophosphenes. This effect is experienced when a person
receives a blow to the head and sees "stars". This same effect
can be produced with electromagnetic energy. While there are a
number of technical challenges to be overcome in building
devices of these types, less-than-lethal weapons based on
physiological responses to energetic stimuli would provide a
safe and effective means of dealing with a number of law
enforcement situations where use of deadly force is not
desirable.

For further information contact:

Ray Downs, National Institute of Justice (202) 616-3509 Susan
Sherrow, Oak Ridge Special Projects Office (615) 576-8024

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy
Laboratory Managed by Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc.

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