Small business developing long distance non-lethals.

Author:Pappalardo, Joe
Position:SECURITY BEAT: Homeland Defense Briefs

The Department of Homeland Security's advanced technology shop is looking at small businesses to provide improved non-lethal equipment to bring to bear on unruly crowds. The goal is to create a product with the incapacitating effects of a Taser, but at stand off ranges.

The Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency said it is seeking untethered electromuscular disruptor devices that are inexpensive, safe, lightweight and portable. The systems would be used in environments varying "from a small room to a city street or a sports stadium," the solicitation stated.

Awards for stun gun technology have been granted to several companies. Winners include the Mide Technology Corporation, with a "Piezer" system that combines the "effectiveness, legal and social acceptability of the Taser with the ease of use, practicality and extended range of shotgun shells," according to the company.

"Utility of the Piezer is probably best realized in crowd-control situations or riots having high levels of aggression," the company advised in its proposal.

The 12-gauge shotgun-compatible device boasts an increased range 40 to 50 meters more than existing non-lethal weapons. The system uses piezoelectric technology to generate high voltage in a small package. In a piezoelectric material, the application of force or stress results in a charge. Computer keyboards operate this way. The ordinance used by the Piezer is designed to deliver high-energy stun pulses upon impact.

UHV Technologies, Inc. is also developing projectiles to be fired from a grenade launcher or shotgun that stuns targets using a strong electrostatic charge. Think of the crackle from running a hand over fur, multiplied by several orders of magnitude.

Physical Optics Corp. is pursuing a gentler approach by...

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