DEFY S. McQUAID! #72: Killer Sound

The Question

Meghan asks:

Can sound kill?

The Answer

Yes! Sound can indeed kill. And here’s how.

Let’s talk about the different kinds of sonic weaponry. One of the prevailing sonic weapons that people hear about are the kind that generates an extremely low frequency reverberation, which is called subsonics. This weaponry generates a sound wave of less than 20 Hz, which is in tune with the resonant frequency of the organs in the human body and can cause them to vibrate. Intensify the energy of this sound wave, and you’ll get nausea, pain, loss of balance, and other severe discomfort. Intensify it enough, and there is the possibility that your organs could rupture.

It is known that the frequency of 0.56 Hz is the resonant frequency of the human eyeball, so a powerful enough emitter could cause your eyeballs to vibrate (blurred vision, general unease, etc).

Another type of sonic weapon is based on underwater sound waves. Generally, air is not a good enough conductor of sound to allow its use as a weapon. However, underwater, it’s a different story. It’s a known fact that running navigational sonar at high amplitudes can cause attacking frogmen to become disoriented, panicked, and deter them from an attack. Finally, the use of ultrasound to disintegrate solids in water is known, and could potentially be used as a weapon.

In general, the best practice is to stay away from loud, subsonic noises in the air, and away from attacking frogmen in the sea.

5 thoughts on “DEFY S. McQUAID! #72: Killer Sound

  • 7/4/2006 at 6:50 pm

    When they play the Pussycat Dolls on the radio, it makes me want to kill someone. Does that count?

  • 7/4/2006 at 8:13 pm

    The often-overlooked other sonic weapon category, is, of course, known as the “Roland Trigger”. Certain sonic waves that may pass themselves off as music are known to trigger the “Roland Effect”, resulting in highly localized but very powerful death and destruction activities, centered on Roland.

  • 7/5/2006 at 10:00 am

    So if I broadcast a sound at .56 Hz with a very powerful emitter, could I EXPLODE SOMEONES EYEBALLS?!?!?!

  • 7/5/2006 at 2:11 pm

    Doing this would be ridiculously easy, but hard to get enough energy. If you attached a cam from an electric motor to a large diaphragm, and tuned the the motor to 33.6 rpm, you would have a .56Hz sound maker. You would probably need a big diaphragm and the person would have to stand pretty close to it though.


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