October 2009



Named like a horror sequel, and small enough to fit in your handbag:

According to this article:

“The Banshee II generates a sound so loud and at such disturbing frequencies that, according to its inventor, a person has no choice but to drop whatever’s in his hands and cover his ears.”

“That’s why it’s such a safe, nonlethal weapon,” said Lee Bzorgi, director of the National Security Technology Center at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant.

“It also has a frequency-switching system that pumps your ear drums, so it sounds like there’s a drum beating there,” he said. “You physically feel it in your ear drum.”

Interview with Woody Norris, inventor of HyperSonic directional audio systems

I’ve only used Sennheiser directional systems which weren’t too impressive, so the jury is still out on the grand claim that these speakers are the biggest breakthrough in playback since the invention of the loudspeaker. The politics of frequency involved in these hypersonic speakers is a whole other issue – the sennheisers were some of the most painful speakers ive ever come across – piercing ear pain and a full body migraine within minutes ; )

Sonic Warfare

“We’ll come in low out of the rising sun and about a mile out, we’ll put on the music.”
—General Kilgore, Apocalypse Now

The design is based on a mode of camouflage know as ‘dazzle’, which took aspects of cubism, futurism and vorticism into the 1st world war.
The invention of dazzle is usually attributed to the artist Normal Wilkinson who proposed the use of disruptive pattern material to be used in naval camouflage.

Vorticist painter, Edward Wadsworth, also spent WW1 in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on the island of Mudros until invalided out in 1917, designing dazzle camouflage for allied ships. Dazzle was used not to render the ships invisible, “but instead used ideas derived from Vorticism and Cubism to confuse enemy U-Boats trying to pinpoint the direction and speed of travel”.

Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool, 1919.

Optigram’s tropical design for the book, takes dazzle into a vorticist jungle.

Thanks to Jon Wozencroft at Touch for this link

Interesting quotes:
‘It’s not a sonic cannon. It’s not the death ray or anything like that’

‘You have to put your hands over your ears and cover them, and it’s difficult to throw stuff,’

‘The only way anybody gets hurt is if the deterrent is on full blast and they stand directly in front of it,’

Putnam said those complaining about the device have probably exposed themselves to sounds nearly as loud at rock concerts, and for longer periods of time. Walczak, the ACLU attorney, isn’t buying the analogy.

‘People don’t flee the front row of a rock concert. Why would they be fleeing here?’ Walczak asked. ‘Because it’s loud, it’s painfully loud.’

Spotlight of Sound