Common steps and sub-activities

Attack from light based ‘non lethal weapons’

Stroboscopic lights are devices used to provide regular flashes of light. The frequency with which they flash is regulated because “at certain speeds they induce epilepsy”, 1 in 80 people are susceptible to this effect.  Rhythmically flashing lights act directly on the optic nerve. They can induce hallucinatory experiences or experiences which might be termed ‘spiritual’. 

But they can also make you ill.

Furthermore, another side-effect is that they can induce atonia - the paralyzed or extremely relaxed state of skeletal muscles one experiences during sleep.

Most strobe lights on sale to the public are factory-limited to about 10-12 flashes per second in their internal oscillators, although externally triggered strobe lights will often flash as frequently as possible. At a frequency of 10 Hz, 65% of affected people are still at risk. The British Health and Safety Executive recommend that a net flash rate for a bank of strobe lights does not exceed 5 flashes per second, at which only 5% of photosensitive epileptics are at risk. It also recommends that no strobing effect continue for more than 30 seconds due to the potential for discomfort and disorientation.

What people may not be aware of is that the government of the USA and its DoD are using stroboscopic devices as  so called ‘non-lethal weapons’ even in crowd control.  They are high intensity and there appears to be no limit on the length of  time of use.

Occasional Paper No. 1; The Early History of “Non-Lethal” Weapons - Neil Davison
December 2006,  Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (BNLWRP)
Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK

Stroboscopic lights were .. investigated as a means of crowd control both in the UK and the US. In 1973 the New Scientist reported that a UK company had developed a device called the Photic Driver, which reportedly combined a strobe light and low frequency sound with the aim of disabling people in crowd control situations and that the US military funded research on similar devices in 1964.

It had long been known that strobes at a certain frequency could cause physical  symptoms, such as disorientation and vomiting, and also trigger photosensitive epileptic fits in a small percentage of people. These were the effects the weapons designers sought to induce.

Occasional Paper No. 1; The Early History of “Non-Lethal” Weapons - Neil Davison
December 2006,  Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (BNLWRP)
Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK


Participants in the 1986 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) conference on “non-lethal” weapons had found few advances in available weapons since the 1970’s. …Several other technologies were discussed at the 1986 NIJ conference. The report noted research on stroboscopic light devices by a number of groups including testing on 100 people that produced discomfort and disorientation.

Military tests had produced similar effects. Consideration had also been given to the optimal frequencies and waveforms for inducing these effects. The report argued: “The fact that the brain can be severely affected by optic stimulation of a specific type offers clear possibilities for the development of less than lethal weapons.”

Occasional Paper No. 1; The Early History of “Non-Lethal” Weapons - Neil Davison
December 2006,  Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (BNLWRP)
Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK

In 1973 the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) published a report drawing attention to certain weapons, including laser weapons, in this context, and subsequently convened two meetings of government experts in Switzerland under the name Conference of Government Experts on Weapons which May Cause Unnecessary Suffering or have Indiscriminate Effects. The first meeting was held in Lucerne in 1974 and the second in Lugano in 1976. Primarily the meetings addressed certain conventional weapons such as incendiary weapons and cluster bombs, however brief reference was also made to new weapons that didn’t fit into categories such as ‘conventional’ or ‘chemical’. Many of these were technologies that would become relevant to proposed “non-lethal” weapons including directed energy (specifically laser and microwave devices), acoustic (specifically infrasound devices), and optical (specifically light-flash or stroboscopic devices).

The frequency has an effect upon the type of experience, any number of organs in the brain can be ‘resonated’ by these devices, they are not inherently safe for this reason.  Although they may not kill outright, if a person is subjected to these for any length of time, it can serve to severely disrupt the function of a number of organs via the controlling organs in their brain.

The light is converted to electrical signals and the electrical signals could stimulate any number of organs depending on the frequency at which they are set.  They could, for example, easily stimulate the pineal gland or the amygdala.

Since they are high intensity they could damage cells in the brain.

In effect, getting an hallucination is the least of your worries.