Sunday, February 17, 2008

Don't Daze Me Bro'

Rawstory "One company has received an $800,000 contract from the Department of Homeland Security to develop a new "non-lethal" method of human incapacitation for use by law enforcement. By 2010, Intelligent Optical Systems hopes to be selling a sort of high-powered flashlight, the "LED Incapacitator," which would act by not only effectively blinding its target, but overloading his or her brain, with rapidly flashing lights at varying colors and frequencies. In addition to disorientation, headache and nausea are also likely."

---- Old news Alex, Faux News reported last August. IOS has contracts with DOE, the Pentagon, NIH, NASA, but worth a piddling amount compared to other upstarts. IOS , founded in 1998, has quite the array of names creating products for the unruly masses :

Srivatsa Venkatasubbarao, Ph.D. -- Senior Engineer
Kaleo Hui -- Technician
Glenn Bastiaans, Ph.D. -- Senior Scientist
Jerald Cole, Ph.D. -- Scientist
Weijie Huang, Ph.D. - Associate Scientist
Igor Ternovskiy, Ph.D. -- Principal Scientist
Indu Saxena, Ph.D. -- Senior Scientist
Vladimir Rubtsov, Ph.D. -- Senior Scientist
Eugene Durets -- Senior Technician
Jeff Iida -- Senior Optoelectronic Scientist
Steve Cordero, Ph.D. -- Scientist
Aaron Low -- Technician
Alex Smith -- Technician

Looks like a brain drain from India, Russia, China .... (typically younger, foreign born engineers and scientists will work for less salary compared to American born; we need more H1B visas please).

And an equally impressive list of corporate officers (all white guys) :

John Farina, Chief Executive Officer
Robert Lieberman, Ph.D., President and CTO
Aaron Cohen, Chief Financial Officer
Lothar Kempen, Ph.D., Vice President of R&D
Jay Olins, JD, Vice President, Legal and Administration

Their diverse backgrounds and know-how are developing products in the fields of Aerospace (might be a new grease for jet fighter engines), Automotive, Biotechnology (DNA sensors, gene chips), Civil, Communications, Environmental (detect biowarfare agents in water), Homeland Security (flashlights that make you puke), Industrial Control, and Medical/Health (infectious agent screening and gum disease).

Busy, busy, busy, one of IOS spin-off companies manufactures and markets optic components for the telecommunications and defense industries, and another spin-off is pursuing hydrogen sensor markets in the automotive, fuel cell, and aerospace sectors. IOS also is developing "things" to detect nerve gas, explosives, etc. to keep you safe.

IOS had received "hydrogen sensing" contracts and funds for years and in 2001 claimed to have developed the "world's first" hydrogen sensor. IOS had to retract that claim after DCH Technology pointed out to IOS scientists that DCHT and NREL (Department of Energy) had "demonstrated a fully functional fiber optic hydrogen sensor in 1997" and held US patents on fiber optic hydrogen sensors. Oops, Uncle Sam's corporate welfare program redundancy. (And you wonder why we're still not energy efficient?)

After 10 years of developing, spinning-off, and pursuing - IOS has finally produced a product - a prototype of a really big flashlight, which, if it can be whittled down to the weight necessary for a cop's belt - the po'leese can render you temporarily (you hope) blind and puking.

Many years ago I worked in an optics lab, before the general public had even heard of optics, creating prototypes - it was great fun. Gates, pass cards, keys, locked offices, secrecy, surrounded by paranoids worried about industrial espionage (all of whom would, had they developed anything useful, have sold it to the highest international bidder, had Lasik surgery and disappeared to a sandy beach with a blonde bimbo) - they were Robert Duvalls in lab coats and thick glasses - who loved nothing more than the smell of a government contract in the morning, even if 99.9% of such projects were thrown into file 13, year after year, and the other 0.1% didn't work as designed.

But wait - a quick check at NewsMeat shows IOS corporate officers donate to Democrats, and Democrats, once they win, will give us change, give us hope ... bring the troops home and end all this government welfare that funds corporate white guys who hire lower wage foreign guys to invent "non-lethal" weapons for use on the rest of us guys ... right Bubba?

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