As they are right now, riot shields do the job of protecting police quite well, but they offer little in the way of offense. Riot shields that could project a wall of sound would be a whole different story. They could offer a way to defuse situations before police get close enough to be in danger.
According to a patent filed by defense firm Raytheon, the device looks just like standard riot shields, but it has a built-in acoustic horn that generates a pressure pulse.
The shields would produce a low-frequency sound that attacks the respiratory tract, making it hard for those targeted to breathe. It can be adjusted from minor discomfort all the way up to the point where targets become “temporarily incapacitated.”
Sound weapons don’t see a lot of action due to limited range, but this patent features a “cohort mode” which creates a wireless network between shields, allowing them to cover a wider area. One shield would be the master, controlling the others. It has been described like Roman soldiers joining their shields to form a large impenetrable wall.
It’s certainly a step forward for defense, but as always, the danger with this sort of technology is abuse, whenever this patent becomes a reality. And then you have to also consider the medical implications. It won’t be pleasant for anyone it is aimed at.