A noiseless, undetectable, battery powered weapon capable of neutralizing hundreds of enemies without killing them? Meet the dazzler.
The idea of blinding enemies has always been around. Searchlights were even used to dazzle bombers during WWII. The idea isnâ??t new, but the military weapon that came out of it is. A laser powered dazzler was reportedly first used in combat by the British during the Falklands War of 1982. The dazzlers were mounted on Royal Navy warships to dazzle Argentinian air attacks. The United States has also used dazzlers against Iraqi insurgents in the massacre of Kurdish civilians at Chamchamal.
Weapons that can cause permanent blindness have been banned by the United Nations on 13 October 1995. As long as the dazzler at hand is not designed to cause irreversible and uncontrollable loss of vision it is allowed to be used in the combat field. The thinking behind this is that permanently blinding enemeies is inhuman.
How Do Dazzlers Work?
Have you ever stared into the sun or a light bulb? If so youâ??ve probably experienced something call an afterimage. Focusing on something in front of you is hard when the afterimage is still burned into your retina.
The dazzler works the same way. By using a specific green laser at a specific wavelength (532nm) and megahertz (4-12Hz), a dazzler can effectively burn an afterimage into your eyes. The directed light hits your entire retina and thus the effect is across your whole vision. Your vision does come back after a while, but some adverse effects may also be experienced. Nausea, dizziness, headaches, eye pain, and vomiting are all common symptoms of being dazzled.
Dazzling gives the military a non-lethal alternative to neutralizing enemies or slowing down unknown motorists. Dazzlers are often used at stop points or on convoys to slow down any suspicious incoming vehicles. The idea behind using dazzlers at stop points is that you donâ??t have to yell at the incoming vehicle to slow down, or translate your message, etc. Being flashed with a dazzler is the universal language for “slow down, we mean business.”
Dazzlers arenâ??t always the safest most reliable weapons. From 2008 to 2009 there have been 45 documented injuries to soldiers resulting from mistakes when using dazzlers. A few years ago a soldier accidently shot himself in the eye through a rearview mirror when trying to aim at an oncoming vehicle. The laser had traveled less than 6 meters when it him in the center of his right eye causing permanent damage. Dazzlers are now being designed with safety features in mind that reduce the power of the laser when the target is too close. Laser training requirements are also being raised to prevent further accidents from happening again.
Buy a Dazzler
If you have enough money or interest in buying a dazzler, you can! The Spider 3 Krpyton is 8,000 times brighter than looking directly at the sun. The range of the Spider 3 is 85 miles! You could probably signal down a commercial airplane with this thing! Wicked lasers, the company who created this awesome gadgets even claims:
‘If the laser was held using a highly stabilized mount (which we do not sell) and precisely in line with a satellite, the astronaut should be able to see a faint green hue,’ says Steve Liu, CEO of Wicked Lasers. ‘This kind of experiment would require explicit permission from that government’s space agency.’
While this guarantee may be real, it is a little unrealistic. On the other hand there have been many accounts of people using dazzlers to blind helicopter pilots.
On September 2009 a 25 year old man was acquitted of intentionally endangering a helicopter by trying to dazzle the pilot. His plea of guilt was:
‘I wasn’t trying to dazzle the pilot. I definitely didn’t mean to cause any hassle. I apologise for wasting police time’
Make your own
If you canâ??t afford buying a dazzler you can also make your own for under $250. Although it isnâ??t going to measure up to more expensive lasers, it can cause all the symptoms intended such as flashblindness, dizziness, and vomiting. The bedazzler is made up of flashing LEDs, and not actually lasers. Naturally its range would be limited, and will not reach 85 miles as the Kryton can!
After looking around at many dazzlers, a recurring thought kept coming back to me. Would a military grade dazzler or homemade bedazzler save you from a bear attack? Could it save you from a pack of deadly wolves and lions? If so I would honestly get my hands on one of these things the next time I go on a safari!
Article written by Octavian Ristea. (He has actually never gone on a safari…)