Monday, August 3, 2009

Prototype testing

Two inch diameter PVC suction cups

Flash needles: Jeff, the software engineer who wants me to marry him, has recently reappeared in my life. Readers of my Yahoo 360 Blog will remember him as the hunky man I go pistol shooting with and whose company runs a classified lab for the government out on I15 East of town. But Jeff has his own design shop for exotic applications. As an outgrowth of the light amplifying dive mask technology he invented he is working on miniaturization of directed energy applications and he has a prototype he wants me to test.

He has his own test organization of course and has conducted tests up to the point where it has become too dangerous to go further using his employees. Knowing my willingness to push the envelope for a thrill he asked if I would be interested in field testing a miniaturized Antipersonnel direct energy device (AP-DED) which he calls a limpet or flash needle because the released energy burns a tiny hole in whatever it’s attached to and penetrates the soft core to heat it far, far above the boiling point so the fluid just flashes to steam. He used the term limpet because like the naval munitions ‘limpet mines’ the device attaches to the outside of the target. I think it is my access to expendable assets that caused him to ask if I would test the flash needle prototype. Not that there isn’t some risk to the diver delivering the device, which I would do myself, as well as destruction of the target. He was against using them before so I am pleased that with this request Jeff seems to be moving toward a more pragmatic approach to testing, some would say to the dark side, nearer to where I am.

The DED is housed in a two inch PVC suction cup [similar to the ones in the image at the top of this entry] that will be suitably colored to blend in for specific applications; black for attachment to diver’s wet suits and helmets, gray or blue for drysuits, pastels for swimsuits and face masks etc and there will be land applications as well. However, the DED is particular well suited for use underwater as there is no chemical explosive omni-directional blast that would disable friendly personnel as well s the target.

Technical considerations: The underwater device is a flash crystal laser with a focus of no more than four inches specifically designed to penetrate the head or trunk of a diver and deliver a massive amount of radiation in a very short time (25 milliseconds) that heats the surrounding tissue to several hundred degrees causing the internal fluids to turn to steam and the skull or chest cavity to shatter. The sapphire crystals are specially grown to incorporate the lens as well as the energy supply in a single unit that is molecularly unstable, allowing it to be easily lased and consumed, which accounts for its high energy pulse, during a single use. There has been a crystal growth problem with adjustments to get the size and therefore the strength of the laser to cause the skull or chest to fracture not explode which not only makes noise but can injure nearby friendly divers.

Test goals: Even when a head shot is properly sized the steam has melted the dummy diver’s face into her mask, fractured the glass faceplate and her mouthpiece has been expelled or melted. We think a boiling brain or lungs will give off a hissing sound and a skull fracturing just crackles when picked up by hydrophones, which should make it hard to detect in the ambient sea noise or the hiss of sucking air and the bubbles of exhalation from other divers. But testing it using expendable male and female divers is needed to see if those assumptions are correct.

Energy level concerns: I’m guessing that if a flash needle was placed between the breasts of a woman in a wetsuit the directed energy would punch through her sternum boil her heart and lungs and melt the fat in her breasts. I’m guessing any implants she was wearing would explode. That sort of test hasn’t been done yet so it’s one of the things that need checking, how much energy can be used in a trunk shot w/o causing an enemy diver’s breast implants to explode and trigger detection.

There is a similar concern about placing the limpet on the back of a woman’s rubber helmet. Passing through a thick mat of long wet hair under a helmet could attenuate or disperse the energy so placing the limpet on the helmet over the diver’s temple would minimize the possibility of energy dispersal. We expect that men with short hair will pose no such energy diffusion problem. The designers think the primary target should be the diver’s head because once the brain is destroyed that’s the end of the threat. With a chest or side placement there is the possibility that while horribly maimed the enemy may have a chance to react before death. With a head shot there is almost no chance.

One of the major concerns involves growing the crystals in precise enough sizes that the energy released is right for the application. Most of the crystal is consumed in the energy release and with anything that unstable electrical energy fields can start the lasing process. To prevent premature triggering by stray electric fields the DED is enclosed in shielded packaging until the unit is under water. Once submerged stray electrical fields are not a problem. A tiny battery (the size of a pencil eraser) in the unit is all that is needed to power off the laser. Underwater the unit is quite safe until pressed against the target. Once suction develops the timer starts. Pulling the suction cup off whatever it is attached to will set it off immediately.

Testing assets: Readers of my former 360 blog know that my casino/resort has a ranch outside town where we employ a number of former Eastern European ballet dancers as private escorts for clients who engage their services for extended all inclusive stays. The girls all have green cards and the turnover there is very low but we do have the occasional one who does not fit in. When that happens we work with her to resolve her problem or we will pay to send her home. Even then there are a few with whom one can’t reason. “When one door closes another opens” and when someone becomes unreasonable she is provided a final opportunity. Hence I occasionally have assets that can be used for high risk testing. I am really looking forward to working with real divers, individually of course, to see how close pool testing prototype Flash Needles comes to Jeff’s laboratory calculations.


  1. I have another idea on whom to use as test subjects that would both solve Jeff's problem as well as the country's as a whole: The GITMO detainees. I know it's cruel an unusual punishment, and a violation of the Geneva Convention, but it could be a way to execute those tried and convicted of terrorism or war crimes against the U.S. Also, it would alieviate where to put them when GITMO closes at the end of the year. There's already a debate whether to put them at Fort Levenworth or a supermax in Michigan.

  2. Because of the religion issue and the men’s requirement for facial hair GITMO detainees don’t make good divers even with full face masks so that idea was discarded. And we are looking for women testers because the developers expect that the device will be used primarily against female divers as a stealth weapon when an enemy tries to infiltrate high security areas by distracting guards while disguised as recreational divers. Quick, low noise, no mess, slit her buoyancy comp and let the body sink to the bottom. However, as an asymmetrical weapon flash needles have a lot of potential for use in unexpected ways.


Blog Archive

Lijit Search



About Me

My photo
Powys , Wales, United Kingdom
I'm a classically trained dancer and SAB grad. A Dance Captain and go-to girl overseeing high-roller entertainment for a major casino/resort