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The popular magazine Wired posted an article in September of 2012 that in 1998, a secret United States Army intelligence analysis suggested a new way to take out enemies by using electromagnetic energy until their brains overload and they start to convulse. The idea for the weapon actually came from the Pocket Monsters episode Computer Soldier Porygon (でんのうせんしポリゴン) which only aired once in Japan as a scene where Pikachu uses its Thunderbolt caused approximately 700 children to have seizures. Excerpts from the Wired article are posted below. The full article is available at Wired.


The Pokémon Plot: How One Cartoon Inspired the Army to Dream Up a Seizure Gun

Application of “electromagnetic pulses” could force neurons to all fire at once, causing a “disruption of voluntary muscle control,” reads a description of a proposed seizure weapon, contained in a declassified document from the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center. “It is thought by using a method that would actually trigger nerve synapses directly with an electrical field, essentially 100% of individuals would be susceptible to seizure induction.”

Perhaps the most disturbing item on the Army’s nonlethal wish list: a weapon that would disrupt the chemical pathways in the central nervous system to induce a seizure. The idea appears to have come from an episode of Pokemon.

“The photic-induced seizure phenomenon was borne out demonstrably on December 16, 1997 on Japanese television when hundreds of viewers of a popular cartoon were treated, inadvertently, to photic seizure induction,” the analysis noted. That cartoon was Pokemon, and the incident received worldwide attention. About 700 viewers showed symptoms of epilepsy — mostly vomiting — an occasional, if strange, occurrence with TV shows and videogames due to rapid, flashing lights.

Source: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/09/seizure-fever-dazzler/
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