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Cubic Psychological Warfare Unit (PsyCube)

A technologically advanced psyops unit. And it's a cube.
  (+15, -6)(+15, -6)
(+15, -6)
  [vote for,

After some exhaustive research, I am pleased to present my second Idea, which I am sure will be rent to bits.

As we all well know, conventional war can suck at times. Getting shot is rumored to be, for lack of a better term, "lame." However, there exists a solution.

Psychological warfare can subdue your enemy and possibly cause them to surrender, whether your enemy is one of the Osama bin Laden types or that hairy old lady at the checkout line that yells at you for attempting to carry eleven items through. But, you say, psyops can be difficult, time consuming, and boring! Not so anymore, with the introduction of the PsyCube.

The Psycube is, well, a cube, around 10 feet on each side, so it's a rather large cube at that. It's made of a strong, light lattice framework covered in thick levels of radiotransparent armor, perhaps Kevlar. There are no seams or access points to speak of. The PsyCube is designed to take abuse beyond reason - after all, this thing is going to be driving people INSANE.

Inside, the PsyCube contains a sealed power source, possibly a radioactive thermoelectric generator. This in turn keeps several gel-cell batteries charged, with a sufficient ampacity for several month's operation. Also inside are wideband radio receivers, medium-power software-driven radio transmitters, ground plane antennas and tuners, high explosives, a primary and secondary computer control unit, armored data storage, and - the best part - six individual 1600-watt audio amplifiers, wired to speakers facing the outside of the PsyCube.

The PsyCube is airdropped with a parachute into the hostile territory (Telemarketer's yards, perhaps, though meant for actual warfare.) Once on the ground, the PsyCube powers up and begins the onslaught immediately. Ground radar sensors activate and begin mapping the area for movement, as the wideband receivers lock onto cell phone signals in the area and begin recording conversations based on target phone numbers/handset IMEIs. When a human approaches the now-silent cube, the speakers respond with the song Headcleaner I by Einsturzende Neubauten, guaranteeing loss of bladder control.

Over the following hours, days, and weeks, the Cube begins jamming all broadcast FM radio stations in the immediate area with pulses of ear-splitting noise and snippets of Britney Spears albums at various speeds. Cell phones ring randomly around the clock, and when answered, the person hears horrible, horrible things not fit for print. The speakers will play snippets of people's private cell phone conversations at preset intervals, as well as broadcast them on every available frequency.

The deep storage unit will contain audio and video for transmission, ranging from videos of non-consensual cranial sex to that damn Milkshake song by Kelis. Culturally offensive material will pour forth from the armored PsyCube at an alarming rate, jamming all available frequencies at times, and blasting nearby occupants into submission with audio torture. The randomness and repetition programmed into the PsyCube guarantees permanent psychological damage to anyone who fails to escape its influence.

Multiple PsyCubes could be dropped across enemy cities, coordinated by encrypted satellite spread-spectrum transmissions. As soon as a given cube becomes inoperative due to power loss, damage, or Faraday shielding, it self-destructs and another is dropped nearby. There is simply no escape from this black, offensive terror cube. None. Expect enemy surrender or your money back.

Headcleaner, Jan 06 2006

Not quite so high tech, but a lot cheaper. Parachuting speakers into enemy territory. Weapons_20of_20Mass_20Distraction
'Tis mine, I beat you too it, it seems [DesertFox, Jan 06 2006]

Hey, I wonder if I used this bone thing - http://students.was...om2003/monolith.jpg
- if I would be... [normzone, Jan 09 2006]


       Ow! Shit! You shot me, that is so lame!   

       //The PsyCube is designed to take abuse beyond reason//   

       A sphere or something rounded would probably be better than a cube, cause it would allow for anything shot at it to ricochet off, the flat surface of the cube would take the full force of the shot.
MikeOxbig, Jan 06 2006

       I picked the cube because it's a good shape for packing components into, it resists being rolled away, and it's got that pseudo-monolith vibe going on. Besides, if they punch a hole in it, it's just going to act like a traditional delayed-explosive ground munition. It might also stay crunchy in milk, I'm still working on that aspect.
Headcleaner, Jan 06 2006

       True true. Ok, a bun for you.
MikeOxbig, Jan 06 2006

       Unlikely to be hauled home by the enemy, like the Trojan Cube, but still +
reensure, Jan 06 2006

       How to defeat this monster? Simple - containment. Either cover it with a lot of dirt. Or even better pack it into a larger sound and EM proof cube. Inside this larger cube there is an entrance for shielded engineers to enter - open the cube like a giant safe and get to the goodies inside.
ixnaum, Jan 06 2006

       It seems a little likely that it'd get shot full of holes.
bristolz, Jan 06 2006

       //non-consensual cranial sex //   

       Hope you're wearing a braindom.
skinflaps, Jan 06 2006

       Spiffing! The only problem is that broadcasted culture bashing could bring some serious protestors to your door.
sab8823, Jan 06 2006

       Make it white and shiny, and call it an iPsyCube. With a big Apple logo on the side.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jan 06 2006

       [ixnaum], the ground radar and receivers inside the cube are also useful to detect this type of containment. If the receivers detect no signal from either the satellites or the 5 MHz WWV time signal, it can be safely assumed that someone has either Faraday shielded the cube or disabled its internal antennas, and this is when the plastic explosives bring the Fourth of July to the immediate area.   

       As for goodies inside, it wouldn't be too hard to use thermite charges (incidentally, a system I designed for my fileservers in case of emergency, but never got around to building.) If the omnipresent Cube detects intrusion, everything melts down before exploding. Keen.   

       As for protesters? This thing would definitely break so many laws if deployed in the US that it makes my head spin, and would cause my radiotelephone license to be revoked as well. However, assuming you don't want to send a full scale ground invasion force to a reasonably developed hostile territory, this becomes an attractive option. Plus, it's a freaking CUBE! Who doesn't like the idea of insanity-inducing cubes of death?
Headcleaner, Jan 06 2006

       [linkie] cheaper, just drop speakers that play creepy music and sounds, an older idea of mine
DesertFox, Jan 06 2006

       Read yours, I like the idea. Mine is specifically designed to cover not only sound, but radio transmissions as well, possibly even issuing false transmissions over radio and TV. Sure, it's expensive; but think of the potential gains - especially if one of these things acted as a SIGINT device and relayed local signals back via satellite.   

       It's cubic, it can save lives, and it can relay local transmissions back to your comfortable base, to be reviewed at your leisure over martinis. Besides, just think - one cube, playing the most annoying songs ever recorded. It'd be like a sick, neverending Disney channel.
Headcleaner, Jan 06 2006

       This is an excellent idea, and both the original idea and your defenses of it are excellently worded. Although I thought Hardcore Car Theft Prevention was flawed, you're clearly articulate and a deep thinker. I look forward to your future contributions. [+]
disbomber, Jan 07 2006

       //you're clearly articulate and a deep thinker. I look forward to your future contributions//   

       I think [disbomber] is hitting on you.
MikeOxbig, Jan 07 2006

       I suspect this would be disturbingly powerful. Entire armies would be driven to surrender.   

       One problem, once both sides has them, some kind of horrible phycological warfare would commence, urban centres made uninhabitable.   

       I'll bun it, but only because this is the Halfbakery, and it will never be made.
Germanicus, Jan 08 2006

       Why couldn't they just wear headphones, pick it up and carry it off somewhere?
RayfordSteele, Jan 09 2006

       Because it's hellaciously heavy, and because the Cube would not like this treatment at all. In fact, the Cube would probably respond with a sound akin to a herd of cows being anally probed, and then it would detonate.   

       This is, of course, because the Cube has simple tilt switches inside it, plus the ground radar would sense a change in the relative level of the horizon and tell the computer to panic.
Headcleaner, Jan 09 2006

       Eloquently disturbing. Bunnage time!
Yarr, Jan 09 2006

       This makes no sense to me. What's to prevent someone from blowing it up?
bristolz, Jan 09 2006

       Oh, they can blow it up if they want to, and risk having another one dropped in close proximity, or simply being shelled from airplanes and quickly learning a lesson: Do not blow up the Cubes. Surrender peacefully or this will continue.   

       The goal is less overall casualties, less ground involvement, MUCH less civilian casualties, and an overall reduced cost. That sounds good to me!
Headcleaner, Jan 09 2006

       This is expensive, indefensible, and little more than an annoyance. It’s counterproductive. Your enemies will not be intimidated as they toss another duct tape lined sheet over another cube and watch it self-destruct. Instead, they will become more confident that they can defeat you.
Shz, Jan 09 2006

       The original idea consisted of this equipment mounted inside a heavy inverted cone, dropped from an aircraft into an area outside of a major metropolitan center.   

       I was thinking about the unit burying itself under the surface on impact, raising its low-profile antennas, and limiting its abilities to the realm of RF, e.g., no speakers. This created the problems of prohibitively expensive shock protection for the unit, and potential failures in burial (rocky soil.)   

       Seeing as you could use RDF to triangulate the position of the unit fairly easily, I decided to go with the visible, aboveground unit.   

       Oh, by the way, duct tape a Faraday shield is not. I'm FCC licensed in this area, and while I'm no EE, I did put a good bit of thought into the RF part of this idea.   

       Having enemies with a false sense of confidence can be a determining factor as well, don't you think?   

       [edit] - It's not going to be that expensive, except for the custom parts. I have most of what I need to build a small one right here in my house. The wideband receivers and software radios I can purchase on eBay. The exoskeleton, self-destruct mechanism, RTG, and gel cells would be the only expensive or unobtainable components. If an 18-year-old electrical construction worker can build one, I think the US/UK can.
Headcleaner, Jan 09 2006

lurch, Jan 09 2006

       //duct tape a Faraday shield is not// Fair enough. I assumed a sudden drop in signal strength would be sufficient to register as tampering, but if it must be blocked, that's still easily accomplished. This isn't important, though. My point is that it's easily disabled.   

       //Having enemies with a false sense of confidence can be a determining factor as well, don't you think?// Yes, but it defeats the stated purpose. This is supposed to be for psyops, where //The goal is less overall casualties, less ground involvement//. Creating a false sense of confidence is an attrition tactic.   

       //It's not going to be that expensive, except for the custom parts.// It's not expensive because one unit is pricey. It's expensive because it accomplishes very little and is easily destroyed. The bang-for-the-buck is too low.
Shz, Jan 09 2006

       Why not use it as a decoy and have the actual transmitter / expensive electronics in a drone? The bit on the ground could just be a booby trapped speaker?
The only problem I see is they could be too easily destroyed (simply lob a grenade at it from a distance and watch it self-destruct from the shockwave sensors triggering).

       I'd prefer the cube to be a psycological decoy (it's just a big cube of rock covered in steel plate which the locals spend ages trying to destroy) all the while the REAL unit is hidden nearby.
Texbinder, Jan 09 2006

       I like the humour but I think [Shz] is right, it's too easily countered to have genuine appliation. Plus some of it wouldn't work (cell phone stuff).
DocBrown, Jan 09 2006

       The cell phone stuff would work, just not legal for the US. I personally have a radio receiver that I can connect to my computer, feeding the discriminator output into my line-in for processing of pager signals. I can conceivably also do this for cell phone signals, and my receiver is modified to cover the frequencies, but I don't want to go to prison.   

       [Texbinder], I like the decoy idea. I had never thought of that.   

       I think it's time for me to stop applying my harebrained defenses to this idea, big thanks to everyone for the feedback and the new perspectives.
Headcleaner, Jan 09 2006

       Oh catching the signals is easy enough. The hard part is working out which portion of the signals in each cell correspond to which phone as each channel is divided into timeslots. Plus all communication over the air interface is encrypted. If you manage to break this encryption you'll be able to listen to and identify a particular caller's conversations until their phone changes its TMSI (Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity), at which point you'll lose it again. IMEIs are transmitted over the air only rarely due to security concerns relating to phone cloners and giant cubes :)

If you solve these problems you'll then need to examine the ones you'll face if you try to call a phone. Since it is likely that the phones within range of your cube will not have had their numbers intercepted (phone numbers are rarely used over a cell network) you're back to square one and trying to use TMSIs. This is tricky since, as noted above, TMSIs change frequently.

Lastly, in the unlikely event that you do enjoy a measure of success, someone will be around with a Faraday cage in short order.

All this said, I do like the mental image of a giant cube sitting in the middle of somewhere pissing everyone one, so I'm not voting against, and welcome to the Bakery!
DocBrown, Jan 09 2006

       All this negative and offensive broadcasting would make people in whatever country it was dropped hate the people who dropped it there. A better thing might be to play propaganda that praises the invading government and condemns the soon-to-be deposed government (done during the war in Afghanistan by American planes flying overhead).
discontinuuity, Jan 09 2006

       I dub thee "Clearchannel".   

       This is not a far cry from the environment at some US shopping malls. Pure evil, but not much different than an advertiser's dream.
sophocles, Jan 10 2006


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