Sound as a 'weapon'

Long-range acoustic devices (LRADs) are also called sonic cannons and can be used in wars and to repel pirates on the high seas.

Long-range acoustic devices (LRADs) were developed by American Technology Corporation, and are capable of emitting a maximum volume of 151 decibels (that's super loud), within 30 degrees of where the device is pointing. That sort of volume is loud enough to be painful and may cause permanent hearing damage. The LRAD's highly directional sound reduces the risk of exposing bystanders to harmful audio levels.

At lower volume, LRADs can be used as high-powered speakers, "to communicate effectively to large public gatherings, in search and rescue operations, and to defuse deadly SWAT situations." ATC claims LRADS are vastly superior to megaphones or vehicle speakers. Even so, don't expect a product review from me anytime soon!

ATC initially sold LRADs primarily to the U.S. military, but has since sold its products internationally and domestically.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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