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View Full Version : Long range paralyzing gun (Scifi/techies experts wanted!)



The_Riskbreaker
06-27-2012, 06:46 PM
Okay, i'll try and provide as much detail as possible for the question, as I've seen many where the OP had to add more info. My story is post-apocalyptic, and in the war torn US, the rebuilt government is still attempting to maintain law and order. One of their key tools is a pistol-type device that you can fire at someone to paralyze them if hit.

Here's the deal. The war takes place in 2020, so about eight years from now. It last three years. For about twenty years afterwards society rebuilds. The gov works up plans for regaining their lost position, and the military develops a long range weapon to instantly paralyze them. Kind of like how someome hit by a tazer spasms and then collapses. My imagination envisioned a spark shooting from the weapon into the person, but that's not likely given how technology progresses. I tried to think of it like Fallout 3, where weapons like Laser guns look like they would in 1950's.
http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Laser_rifle
Also, unlike the ranged "Tazers" we have nowadays, it must have a magazine of shots (8-10 preferred) Also the idea of prongs/leads coming out is not working with my story. Maybe if a dart or shot could do this?

So, assuming we used 2020 tech to build a long ranged, magazine based paralyzer for crowd control, would be some of the specs? Would it have to be a rifle instead of a handgun? Is this even possible? And how long would they be paralyzed? (I'd like five minutes, but it might not last that long) I'm in the IT field, and have done some research a few years back on lasers, and I don't know if it's possible. Eight years into the future isn't that long, I know.

Thanks for the thoughts!

WriteKnight
06-27-2012, 07:53 PM
Do some research into what is known as an "Active Denial System" - Right now, the media is calling it a 'heat ray'. This is a focused micro-wave beam, that heats up your skin to a very shallow depth. Causing intense pain but 'no' damage. (So says our military... and we can trust them, right?) The system utilizes super cooled magnets, so it's very large at the moment. There are efforts to 'rifle size' the weapon underway. Range for the lighter weapons seems to be about 50 yards. Battery packs will limit use.

This isn't a 'paralyzing' or 'stun' ray exactly. But I think for fictional purposes, you can read through the tech involved, and perhaps develop a fictional 'frequency' that - perhaps 'jolts' the nervous system? I don't know - it's your story. But as I said, here is the state of the art RIGHT NOW, which will give you some indication as to how you might interpolate a system a short distance into the future.

By the way, the US (so far) has refused to use 'the heat ray' for crowd control. The Russians seemed to have developed their own version, and are deploying it NOW for 'crowd control' use. Again, the system seems to require large vehicles to transport and maintain - but some sort of solid state system is in the works, that could be turned into a small personal weapon - with very limited burst abilities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_Denial_System

Is a good place to start. You can googled up 'active denial system' articles all over the web. Both pro and con.

onesecondglance
06-27-2012, 08:00 PM
I don't see why a dart gun wouldn't work. Your post made me think of the tranq rifle in Deus Ex first off, then the splinter guns in Altered Carbon.

If you want to keep it a taser, then you're in luck. They're already developing a wireless version. If you don't want to base your design on their development, you could simply have the projectile include its own power cell to deliver the shock to the target.

If you're not averse to chemical paralysis (who isn't?), then a dart gun should do the trick. Arm the darts with whatever nerve toxin you desire - make one up that fits your story if required - and away you go. If you want it to be more futuristic then change it from gas propulsion to magnetic - like a coilgun. These are impractical now, but you should be able to get away with it being a little way in the future.

The_Riskbreaker
06-27-2012, 08:22 PM
Normally I wait to see what responses come, but I wanted to offer some replies.

I recall a mention of ADS in a PopSci Mag or similar website. But I don;t think it would work. I love the concept, but it wouldn't really stop someone from doing what they're doing. (talking, running, etc...) I need the muscles to stopped so they can't move, or speak if possible. (Movement must be stopped, speech... would like to)

Darts are common, and I remember that Mini-crossbow from Deus Ex. I used it a lot! Poison darts are a thought. We already have clip based dart guns now. So the only issue is a poison that moves through the system pretty fast. Five to ten seconds for full effect. The quicker the better, obviously.

Trebor1415
06-27-2012, 11:38 PM
I agree you should look into some of the new things TAZER is developing. They have one that is essentially a shotgun shell with the power source self contained. I bet some sort of next gen TAZER would meet your requirements and be feasible for tech that would exisit 10 years or so down the road.

It's going to be much harder in real life to develop and implement darts that use chemical agents (tranq darts) in an effective system. The dart pharmocetecuals would go bad after awhile. The dosage has to be matched to the body weight of the target as well. And, as the use of darts on animals shows, the effect is NOT instant.

I'd go with something that uses electricity to paralyse/disrupt the central nervous system. Like I said, I think some sort of "next gen TAZER" would work for your story and be more plausible. YMMV

Roger J Carlson
06-27-2012, 11:47 PM
How about something non-electric. What if there was a gun which fired a sort of sticky filiment that wraps around a person's legs and arms, incapacitating them?

I guess now that I say it, it sounds like Spiderman's webs, but that's not where I got the idea. Honest.

Trebor1415
06-27-2012, 11:48 PM
Here's a couple links on the "tazer in a shotgun shell".

If this works in a standard 12 gauge shotgun it would be MUCH easier to distribute and propugate this tech. Most PD's would already have the launcher (a shotgun) so it would be just a matter of manufacturing and distributing the TAZER shells.

Note that pump shotguns due have internal magazines. The standard mag capacity is between 5 and 8 shots, depending on the shotgun model. (Even if the current TAZER shell is larger and has to be used as a single shot, in 10 years they could make it smaller so it is the same size as a standard shell)

Also, why most shotguns are full sized with a stock, there are "pistol grip only" shotguns that are smaller. They aren't quite handgun size, but are useful where length is a concern. There are also folding stock shotguns.

If you go with the "Tranq" idea, research current vet use of tranq's. I think you may be surprised by all the issues with those.

Here's the TAZER shotgun shell links

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-03/shock-bullet

This one has video

http://www.disclose.tv/forum/ready-for-the-new-generation-of-tasers-how-about-a-shotgun-t20450.html

writerjohnb
06-28-2012, 12:34 AM
There are laser/infrared thermometers that can measure temperature from a distance by measuring the movement of molecules on an object, which creates infrared energy. (The laser is just for aiming, like a pistol with a laser sight.) I'd suggest "inventing" a ray that could suck infrared energy out of a person, slowing their molecules and freezing their muscles for a short time. It could also affect the brain (or not, depending on the writer's needs.) Of course, if you suck the heat energy into your ray gun, the gun will have to have internal cooling, as every rocket scientist knows.

Of course such a device is impossible, as a REAL scientist would know, but readers are used to sucking up gobbledy-gook bullcrap if it's "future" science. If s/f readers can accept FTL travel, they can accept a paralyzing ray gun (Remember, now, in Star Trek, they usually set their ray guns to "stun" mode.) It's called suspension of disbelief.

Hope that helps.

JohnB

Drachen Jager
06-28-2012, 12:50 AM
Why not a Taser with projectiles? Shotgun or slightly larger weapon fires a cylinder with two prongs (that spring into position, say 6" apart, after launching) and behind the prongs is a charged capacitor. You could even give it that cool old camera flash sound as each round charges before the gun is fired.

Would effectively work exactly like a taser if you're on the receiving end, the capacitors would only last for a few seconds to a few minutes, but during that time the subject would not have much voluntary muscle control.

On the shooter's end it would work almost exactly like a low-velocity shotgun or grenade launcher, depending on how futuristic you want it to be.

Could be fired using compressed gas, or explosives, depending on your preference.

Trebor1415
06-28-2012, 03:59 AM
I just had a couple more thoughts:

The first is that crowd control is a very difficult job, especially if you want "less lethal" crowd control. Because of that the current thinking has multiple tools that provides multiple options and you can pick the one most appropriate to the task at hand.

The current thinking on crowd control includes police lines with body armor and shields and batons, or troops with drawn bayonets, as the "do not cross here" skirmish line. Police also like to use mounted officers on horses, as it's hard to argue with a horse.

Other effective tools include:

OC spray - Commonly known as "pepper spray." Everything from small cans to fire extinquisher type cannisters

Mil grade OS (tear gas) grenades - Launched from single-shot "gas launchers" (think giant break open shotgun) or even military grenade launchers. Some launchers look like giant revolvers and allow for quick multiple launches before reloading.

"Pepper ball projectile launchers" Think of what is similiar to a paintball gun, expect it fires painballs filled with OC that burst on impact and spread pepper spray. These can be dangerous at close ranges. (A fan was killed by one after the Boston Red Sox World Series win)

"Rubber Bullets/Plastic Bullets" - These have been used for crowd control for decades. They are not fired from ordinary firearms. They typically are fired from the "gas grenade projector" type launcher. The rubber or plastic bullet is about the diameter of a soup can, but longer. They are designed to be fired in front of a crowd so they richochet up and hit people in the lower body. They are dangerous when fired directly at people and have been known to cause deaths.

My point is, historically, crowd control tactics mix in a bunch of these options. It stands to reason that this would still be true in the future instead of converting to a "one weapon to control them all" sort of solution.

When you consider these different tactics, and mix in newer stuff like the various "active denial system" weapons and the "next Gen" Taser slugs, you can come up with some interesting crowd control techniques the characters will have to deal with.

I've also read of the use of "sticky foam" launchers as an area denial weapon. The idea is the foam hardens and limits movement and mobility. It also "marks" the person for later apprehension. (I don't know if this has reached the practical stage yet).

Oh, and one other thought on the Tazer shotgun slug. Considering the current state of this tech, it's reasonable to postulate that they could come up with a version that is launched from the standard M203 military grenade launcher that is mounted on certain M-16 and M-4 rifles. The grenade launcher version could fire multiple projectiles that, if they hit, would incapacite multiple people. (I'm think 3 to 5 per shot). The advantage from the soldiers point of view is they would still have the M-16 if they needed to switch to "lethal force" right away.

Unimportant
06-28-2012, 06:44 AM
Okay, i'll try and provide as much detail as possible for the question, as I've seen many where the OP had to add more info. My story is post-apocalyptic, and in the war torn US, the rebuilt government is still attempting to maintain law and order. One of their key tools is a pistol-type device that you can fire at someone to paralyze them if hit.

Here's the deal. The war takes place in 2020, so about eight years from now. It last three years. For about twenty years afterwards society rebuilds. The gov works up plans for regaining their lost position, and the military develops a long range weapon to instantly paralyze them. Kind of like how someome hit by a tazer spasms and then collapses. My imagination envisioned a spark shooting from the weapon into the person, but that's not likely given how technology progresses. I tried to think of it like Fallout 3, where weapons like Laser guns look like they would in 1950's.
http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Laser_rifle
Also, unlike the ranged "Tazers" we have nowadays, it must have a magazine of shots (8-10 preferred) Also the idea of prongs/leads coming out is not working with my story. Maybe if a dart or shot could do this?

So, assuming we used 2020 tech to build a long ranged, magazine based paralyzer for crowd control, would be some of the specs? Would it have to be a rifle instead of a handgun? Is this even possible? And how long would they be paralyzed? (I'd like five minutes, but it might not last that long) I'm in the IT field, and have done some research a few years back on lasers, and I don't know if it's possible. Eight years into the future isn't that long, I know.

Thanks for the thoughts!

Is it feasible for them to fire a pistol-like weapon that discharges one (or a spray of) small bullet-like objects that do little damage when they penetrate the skin but carry a fast-acting, short-lived, self-resolving neurotoxin?

No, I don't know of such a neurotoxin offhand, but many toxins and venoms have been well characterised, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that one or more could be chemically modified to produce the desired effects.

IMO, "modified" is one of the most useful words the SF writer's vocabulary ;)

Mac H.
06-28-2012, 08:13 AM
Is it feasible for them to fire a pistol-like weapon that discharges one (or a spray of) small bullet-like objects that do little damage when they penetrate the skin but carry a fast-acting, short-lived, self-resolving neurotoxin?What a great ida.

There's also a hand-grenade for non-lethal use that basically replaces the metal shrapnel with a combination of tiny superballs for physical pain and pepper-spray/powder.

It was so effective because you could throw it into a room and it was much more blinding than a flashbang...

Mac

Spy_on_the_Inside
06-28-2012, 08:16 AM
A neurotoxin might be an interesting angle, and there are all sorts of different ones you could use. One of my favorites is pufferfish liver. In sushi resturants, only the most skilled chefs are allowed to prepare foods involving pufferfish because the liver is extremely paralytic.

In fact, in the old days, practitioners of Voodoo used to use it to create 'zombies' and 'the living dead'.

Trebor1415
06-28-2012, 11:04 AM
Whoah, here's something the Army is working on that's really cool and could be made to work for you.

They are creating artificial lighting that is aimed at targets. The prototype is hugely unpractical, but you could base your tech off this idea. Make it man portable, and not as powerful so it only stuns people instead of blasting them into pieces, and it could work. (Personally, I'd go with something that runs off a backpack, instead of a rifle or handgun sized weapon. that's portable enough)

http://www.army.mil/article/82262/Picatinny_engineers_set_phasers_to__fry

onesecondglance
06-28-2012, 12:51 PM
Is it feasible for them to fire a pistol-like weapon that discharges one (or a spray of) small bullet-like objects that do little damage when they penetrate the skin but carry a fast-acting, short-lived, self-resolving neurotoxin?

I don't see why not. The splinter guns I mentioned above that Richard Morgan describes in Altered Carbon are similar in concept. They're on the very first page if you don't want to read the whole book... :D

The_Riskbreaker
06-28-2012, 04:19 PM
Whoa! Idea city!

Originally my thoughts were probably tainted by Star Trek's Phasers. (The result of too much Voyager and the Elite Force games maybe?) It's obviously cool to think of a gun firing a laser or ball of energy into someone and watching them collapse. And although there is suspension of belief (writerjohnb's comment) i'd like to try and make at least some attempt to go real. My story is free of flux capacitors and hoverboards. (so far!)

I didn't want to use rubber or non-lethal projectiles because they don't stop the target completely. A determined person can keep moving after a rubber bullet. Now a "beanbag" round fired from a shotgun could knock the wind out of someone. (As The Rock learned in "The Rundown") I need something like that to stop them right then and there. Poisons/chemicals usually take a bit to kick in. I'm looking into fast acting ones, but it's hard to search for info about poisons. As for the Taser shotgun, I love that idea. Firing a shell or barb into something and having the target instantly get juiced is very appealing.

My governmental force will use a variety of crowd control methods. I just needed a ranged (not necessary rifle range) method of taking down people who might be traveling in small groups. (I.E. three law-breakers trying to get away) They get paralyzed and then hauled off to jail.

I'll mull over all of this for a bit. Thanks so far!

espresso5
06-28-2012, 07:42 PM
A couple people have already mentioned the XREP by Taser. There's absolutely no reason why this couldn't be modified to fit a large bore rifle with a high capacity magazine. It would take a bit of miniaturization of the electronics and battery, neither of which should be difficult to explain in this age of rapidly advancing technology. You could even have larger, vehicle mounted versions that fire multiple projectiles from a single round, kind of like Taser shrapnel.

The_Riskbreaker
06-28-2012, 09:59 PM
That was my thought. Plus a rifle is more common for a military trooper than just a handgun. I'm thinking of either having the bullets be a little smaller (like the silver and ultraviolent bullets from Underworld) or making a drum fed shotgun type weapon. It's just know it has to be light and carryable. I like this TASER idea, and it'll likely work. Besides, if it make it slightly unrealistic it's okay. I have ten years to work with.

Unimportant
06-28-2012, 11:17 PM
Poisons/chemicals usually take a bit to kick in. I'm looking into fast acting ones, but it's hard to search for info about poisons.
Unless your character actually invents the stuff, you just give it a brand name and explain it the way the cops would: It's a modified version of some weird mix of snake venom and pufferfish toxin. The scientists cooked it up in the lab to tranquilise rogue elephants and tigers, or whatever, abut it turned out to work even better on humans.

I learned from Debra Doyle that using the word "modified" lets you get away with an awful lot of handwaving ;-)

Richard White
06-29-2012, 12:25 AM
Doc Savage and his crew have been using something like this since the 40s. *grin*


Is it feasible for them to fire a pistol-like weapon that discharges one (or a spray of) small bullet-like objects that do little damage when they penetrate the skin but carry a fast-acting, short-lived, self-resolving neurotoxin?

No, I don't know of such a neurotoxin offhand, but many toxins and venoms have been well characterised, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that one or more could be chemically modified to produce the desired effects.

IMO, "modified" is one of the most useful words the SF writer's vocabulary ;)

onesecondglance
06-29-2012, 03:29 PM
You want a long range electrical weapon?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18630622

Unimportant
06-30-2012, 12:49 AM
Doc Savage and his crew have been using something like this since the 40s. *grin*
Well, that certainly put paid to any pretensions to originality I may have had! ;D

The_Riskbreaker
07-05-2012, 08:12 PM
I apologize Richard. I do not know who Doc Savage is. A comic book Hero/Villian I assume? I'll read up on him for knowledge.

And yeah, onesecondglance, I was originally looking for a weapon that's similar to Star Trek's Phasers, that paralyzes or stuns the target. (Stunning sounds too cliche when used in reference to phasers) I may just use the afformentioned Taser shells, since they'd work. I mean, I know some authors will come up with crazy ideas and expect the reader to ignore the fact that it's not that far in the future. But i'm trying to keep it moderately real.

onesecondglance
07-05-2012, 09:09 PM
I apologize Richard. I do not know who Doc Savage is. A comic book Hero/Villian I assume? I'll read up on him for knowledge.

Wikipedia is your friend!


And yeah, onesecondglance, I was originally looking for a weapon that's similar to Star Trek's Phasers, that paralyzes or stuns the target. (Stunning sounds too cliche when used in reference to phasers) I may just use the afformentioned Taser shells, since they'd work. I mean, I know some authors will come up with crazy ideas and expect the reader to ignore the fact that it's not that far in the future. But i'm trying to keep it moderately real.

I'm in the same boat as you - my WIP is set near future (<5 years). It's a tricky line to walk.

Richard White
07-05-2012, 10:25 PM
I apologize Richard. I do not know who Doc Savage is. A comic book Hero/Villian I assume? I'll read up on him for knowledge.


Close. He's an old "pulp-fiction" hero. Sort of a cross between science-fiction and crime novels. Clark (Doc) Savage was sort of a renaissance man and his team consisted of a lawyer, chemist, civil engineer, archeologist and an electrical engineer who were also adventurers.

Doc was using helicopters before they were common, jets, guns that shot anesthetic bullets, brain surgery to cure criminality, advanced martial art techniques before they were popular in the U.S., etc.

Think Batman without the costume.

The_Riskbreaker
07-06-2012, 05:36 PM
I read the Wikipedia article on him, and it sounds pretty cool. I've always liked heroes who didn't need laser eye beams or fire generation to win their fights. My childhood hero, (heck, still my hero) is Angus MacGyver.

I was thinking i'd stay away from nuerotoxins and such because they're too slow. But after looking at two of my scenes, I wonder. I guess i'll decide as i write.