What does a sonic blaster ("less-lethal" audio weapon) feel like?

Wired Danger Room contributor Sharon Weinberger met a guy in Israel who sells sonic weapons, so she did what any respectable blogger would do -- asked him to point it at her and turn on the switch.
Last week, I was sitting in a hotel bar in Jerusalem when a fellow passenger on my tour told me there was a guy with us selling a supposedly less-lethal weapon.

"It works with sound frequencies," he said.  "It'll make you a sick."

A puke ray? An honest-to-God puke ray? Right here in Jerusalem?

Well, more like a sonic blaster. Dr. Maurice Goldman, a retired dentist, is the U.S. managing director for Inferno, a line of products that markets itself as a "sound barrier." The primary effect of the device, which sounds like a loud siren, is to force people to leave the protected area, he says. However, if the intruder doesn't leave immediately, Inferno's effects include "vertigo, nausea, and pain in the chest."

Link (thanks, Noah Shachtman!)

* NPR "Xeni Tech": Focused Sound 'Laser' for Crowd Control
* Sonic Weapons in Iraq -- and now, US cities


  1. I’ve experienced a sonic Cell Disruptor with it’s probe in the open air. It was highly unpleasant. It’s been years and the memory for both of us present is still very clear.

  2. oh, godwin… i’m really curious to know if this thing causes long-term damage to hearing. seems like it easily could, especially with exposure of longer than a few seconds.

  3. Yes it works, and can make you puke. By the way, why two links for puke in the same sentence that take you to the same place?

  4. I doubt anyone is likely to invent a “non-lethal” weapon that is also good for you at the same time.

    Non-lethal means just that. By the way, Tear gas (CS), tasers, and rubber bullets aren’t exactly benign either.

    The goal is to disperse unruly crowds of people. These crowds may be angry about losing a sports game, or inflamed about a court verdict. There are lots of relatively ordinary things which can cause a mob to riot. I hate to say this, but many police forces should have some form of non-lethal weaponry to disperse crowds. And if this fits the bill for some, then they should use it –with care.

  5. “Inferno’s effects include “vertigo, nausea, and pain in the chest.”

    We have that here. It’s called hip-hop.

  6. …So, is this related to the “Brown Note” that Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman used to make the entire world shit their pants during the World-Wide Recorder Concert?

  7. It only makes you vomit if you play George W. Bush’s voice over it.

    This isn’t that impressive, as his unamplified voice can easily induce headache and nausea.

  8. If Israeli’s spent 1/1000th of the time as they do inventing new weapons on finding solutions for peace with the Arabs they would’ve solved that problem several decades ago.

  9. @12 It’s tough to find a solution for peace when the only solution acceptable to those you are negotiating with is that you die.

  10. How specific is the target range of this? It seems like it was pointed at one person, with two others in the room. If this thing is going to disrupt crowds, they might need to make an organ gun version. Which, for purely steampunk-aesthetic, would be awesome

  11. #15
    its also tough to get on with your life as a peaceful palestinian when israel insists on using missile-based detective work and other blanket means of suppression. If five people didn’t die everytime Israel went after one ‘terrorist’ there would be a lot less people continually engaging in this affair.

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