Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
Airs Weekdays 2:31, 3:31 and 5:49 a.m.

Quiet Riot

An engineer develops a handy, not-terribly-damaging new device for crowd control.

Crowd control without the tears?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with The Loh Down on Science

And on a reasonably harmless new way to squash a people's revolt. Try microwaves!

Remember the sixties? Tear gas, pepper spray, police batons, beating away the freedom? Since then, riot control has gotten even more ungainly, with police dabbling in net-guns, stink bombs--even paintball.

Now, Lev Sadovnik, an electrical engineer working with the U.S. Navy, has developed a handy, non-lethal repellant using microwaves. It's called MEDUSA, which literally stands for "Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio." How does it work? A ray gun pulses short microwaves that heat the tissue it's aimed at, creating a shockwave inside the skull.

At low power, it can create a the sensation of loudness, and irritation you just can't block out.

The device is portable, low wattage and easy to aim. It can target lone troublemakers or zap large crowds with the flip of a switch. It's silent and-- great news!--according to the navy's report, there's a "low probability of fatality."

Hey-they should use it on Jerry Springer! Is that still on? I miss that show.