Engineers develop 'dazzler' to enhance security
14 December 2011
Posted by Samuel Couratin
A new device has been unveiled by engineers that could enhance security operations in the future.
In the wake of the riots that broke out in several English cities this summer, the creators of the "dazzler" system claim that it may assist in such incidents in the future.
The laser device leaves no permanent damage and works by temporarily blinding individuals in order to allow security professionals and police to restore control, the Engineer reports.
Similar technology is in use by US armed forces and is being examined as a potential method of tackling piracy in areas such as the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
Photonic Security Systems in Britain, which has developed the latest solution, suggested it could be used to combat disturbances such as the August riots as it provides a wall of light from up to 500 m away that temporarily impairs vision.
Debates were held during the looting and civil unrest about the possible use of water cannon and rubber bullets and the £25,000 SMU100 may provide an alternative to these.
Speaking to the news source, Paul Kerr, Managing Director of Photonic Security Systems, explained that it can be adjusted using software to suit a range of needs, adding: "If you can't see something then you can't attack it. This is like putting something behind the sun.
On its website, the company states that the SMU100 product is in development and undergoing final testing, while the LDS100 has been created as a measure to tackle piracy.
It states that the latter is "non-lethal and humane", projecting a 10 m wide beam in order to render vessels "too painful to look at or approach".
As the growing threat from Somali pirates becomes a substantial issue for international trade, the British Government recently announced it is altering legislation to allow UK registered vessels to carry an armed guard.
The Department for Transport announced the change in policy earlier this month to permit ships to defend themselves in "exceptional circumstances", with owners required to carry out risk assessments, seek advice on selecting a private security company and produce a detailed counter-piracy plan in order to carry armed personnel.