Christian Long

Woody Norris: Invents Amazing Things

In TED Talks on April 26, 2010 at 10:25 am

Reflection by CONNOR S.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Woody Norris:  Invents Amazing Things

Woody Norris is a successful and creative inventor, and I believe that one of his more impressive inventions is the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) that Norris demonstrates in his video. The LRAD can be compared to a laser; where a laser is a beam of focused light, the LRAD is a beam of focused sound. Where a lightbulb shines light in all directions, a speaker does so too. The laser and focused light gave light new abilities like the projection of movies and television screens. Norris has furthered the capabilities of sound past speakers like light surpassed the lightbulb.

Norris mentioned some of the capabilities of the LRAD in the TEDTalk.

Prior to this invention, Sony attempted to make ads that consumers would watch while standing in a line at a place such as a grocery store. After hearing the same ad over and over, the clerk would get annoyed and turn off the ad. Norris’ invention could change this; the clerk would not have to listen to the ad played. The consumer can also move out of the way if they do not want to listen to the ad. Another use of the LRAD that Norris discussed was the possibility of use at concerts; people in the back row would possibly be able to hear just as well as the people in the front row, as the sound is made next to the listener’s ears, not at the LRAD’s location. But according to a comment by Steve Haas on the TEDTalk page, the quality of noise at long distances is limited, and this makes some uses such as the concert use impossible without further improvement. One area where the LRAD has great potential, and has already been used in, is as a weapon.

A show called Future Weapons (link to a clip of the LRAD on youtube) on the Discovery Channel highlighted the LRAD’s potential in military use. Like Norris mentioned in his talk, the LRAD had been used to mimic troop movements, and to deliver long range messages. Norris’ 155 decibel model of the LRAD, however, could be used as a weapon. The LRAD fills the niche between peaceful negotiations and firing of a lethal weapon. Prior to it’s offensive uses, it can be used as a large megaphone to determine if one is friendly or hostile. If recognized as hostile, the LRAD can be used as a weapon that will cause permanent deafness as well as temporary loss in vision, but still is not lethal. The user who aims the LRAD will be able to hear it while using it, but not so much that it would cause damage to the user.

Norris’ LRAD has many potential uses, like that of light. Norris has made a revolutionary invention in the realm of sound, allowing one to aim and only have the area which is being aimed at produce sound. Focused sound has many usesin areas such as advertising and musical events. Limits in sound quality however, has lead to further development of the LRAD in military use; it is able to be used as a means of long distance communication, as well as a weapon. The LRAD is but one of Norris’ inventions, and hopefully more amazing things will come from his mind that are as remarkable as the LRAD, or even more amazing.

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  1. Woody did not invent the LRAD. This is documented via US Navy Contracts to General Dynamics for the development of the LRAD. Concept Inventing team included Ken Winter General Dynamics, Capt Carl Gruenler US Navy, AJ Ballard General Dynamics, Bruce Bittenbender US Navy!

    Woody did every thing not to support the LRAD and due to his efforts almost tanked the development.

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