Some of you may remember way back in 1997 when news broke of kids in Japan having seizures from watching a Pokémon episode. The flashing lights from the animation caused a sort of sensory overload that caused convulsions and vomiting.
Apparently the military thought this all sounded pretty awesome.
The idea is that seizure would be induced by a specific electrical stimulus triggered through the optic nerve. “The onset of synchony and disruption of muscular control is said to be near instantaneous,” the 1997 Army report reads. “Excitation is directly on the brain.” And “100% of the population” is supposed to be susceptible to the effects — from distances of “up to hundreds of meters” — “[r]ecovery times are expected to be consistent with, or more rapid than, that which is observed in epileptic seizures.”
That’s not a lot of time — the Army’s analysis noted that a grand-mal seizure typically lasts between one and five minutes. But the analysis speculated that the seizure weapons could be “tunable with regard to type and degree of bodily influence” and affect “100% of the population.” Still, it had to concede, “No experimental evidence is available for this concept.”
Now, this weapon never left the imaginary concept phase (as far as we know), but it’s still pretty interesting. Check out Wired for the full story.