I posted an article about the Purkinje Effect a while ago – I wanted to share another light-related physiological effect, because they’re so fascinating! Now obviously I have a high amount of fascination with the eye because, you know, it’s awesome – but it is such a complex component that is connected in so many ways to everything!
The Bucha Effect is a seizure-inducing phenomenon that was discovered in the 1950’s by a doctor (Dr. Bucha, of course) who was investigating a series of helicopter accidents. The phenomenon is when someone gets dizzy or confused when exposed to flashing or strobing lights at between 1 and 20 Hz – in the case of the helicopter accidents, the rotor blades of the helicopter caused the sunlight to strobe in the eyes of the pilots, causing them to lose control of the craft. Dr. Bucha discovered that the strobing could cause flashes of light at the same frequency of brain waves, causing symptoms of epilepsy.
Not surprisingly, the Bucha Effect has also been refined and formulated into a crowd control device, and has been considered for non-lethal weaponizing. You’re not surprised, right?
From a paper called The Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (BNLWRP) – it’s a PDF link:
The U.S. military has funded development of various ‘dazzlers’ or ‘illuminators’ such as the Saber 20335, the Hinder Adversaries with Less-than-lethal Technology (HALT) system, and the Laser Dissuader all of which use red diode lasers36 to temporarily blind or obscure vision. The manufacturers of the Laser Dissuader also produce the LazerShield, which incorporates a red diode laser on a plastic shield and is designed for use in law enforcement for incapacitating prisoners. Future plans for the HALT include the capability for dual red and blue wavelengths that flicker off and on to mitigate filtering by single-wavelength goggles.
The U.S. Government also funded a project to produce the Laser Dazzler38, which uses a random flashing green laser. There are concerns, however, over eye safety in relation to these devices. A similar system under development by the U.S. Marine Corps Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD)40 is the Veiling Glare Laser, which uses violet light to cause the human eye to fluoresce so that the subject can see only glare. Some scientists are uncertain as to both the effectiveness and safety of using this technique. So far it has only been tested on cadaver lenses and its potential for eye damage remains unclear.
Again, why can’t we cure cancer?