The Anti Traction System
After the brilliant idea of the photocamera revolver Kamo approached Theremin with another pressing problem. How could he stop riots without resorting to harsh violence? Sometimes violent protesters, especially religiously motivated ones in the backwards peripheral regions couldn't be reasoned with. On the other hand using lethal force would just create martyr. A topic he and his revolutionary comrades had plenty of experience with. Letting them run amok wasn't a solution either, so what could he do?
Theremin got all the founding he wanted as long as he would find a solution. It took many years and some failures on the way but finally in 1938 he presented the answer, Anti Traction Material. Nicknamed the "Fizika Komedio" (slapstick) units, special police units became a common sight wherever protests impended to become violent.
Those civilian law enforcement units could isolate facilities and stop confrontational crowds. Anti-Traction Material is a nonhazardous chemical, highly slippery, viscous which inhibits the movement of individuals or vehicles on treated surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, grass and wood. The obstacle it creates enables military or law enforcement personnel to stop or delay crowds and equipment, and isolate facilities such as embassies, loading docks, piers or other restricted areas.
A vehicle-mounted dispensing system provides wide-area coverage of the anti-traction material. The system fits in the cargo compartment of a all terrain vehicle and provides about 30,480 square meter of coverage.
The substance as explained in its name severely reduces surface friction and results in a loss of traction or control.The gel can be distributed over a wide area by a vehicle-mounted system or in and around buildings from a portable unit operated by an individual.
Individual Dispenser System
Both systems are easy to use and quick to deploy. The portable system weighs about 25 kilograms when loaded and carries enough material to cover a 609.6-square-meter area. The vehicle-mounted system provides about 30,480 square meter of coverage about the size of two football fields. Theremin's team members selected the formulation based on its superior effectiveness in reducing friction, ability to sustain loads, safety, commercial availability and acceptable cost. Water is used as the dispersing agent and as the catalyst that activates the material to achieve the desired characteristics. It works under a vehicle's tires at low to high speeds and under normal foot loads. In addition to horizontal surfaces, this substance can be sprayed on vertical surfaces such as walls, windows, doors and fences. The horizontal surfaces of buildings also can be sprayed to preclude the use of ladders or other scaling devices. Once a foot or tire is coated with the substance, the anti-traction material is transferred to uncoated surfaces, making them slippery as well. The anti-traction substance is effective at surface temperatures ranging from 255 to 324 Kelvin and lasts six to 12 hours. The material works equally well on smooth or rough surfaces. Once a foot or tire is coated with the substance, the anti-traction material is transferred to uncoated surfaces, making them slippery as well. The anti-traction substance is effective at surface temperatures ranging from 255 to 324 Kelvin and lasts six to 12 hours. The material works equally well on smooth or rough surfaces.
Theremin also worked on classified technology for espionage and military purposes.
He created the Buran eavesdropping system. A precursor to the modern laser microphone. It worked by using a low power infrared beam from a distance to detect the sound vibrations in the glass windows.
The main type of laser microphone is a surveillance device that uses a laser beam to detect sound vibrations in a distant object. The object is typically inside a room where a conversation is taking place, and can be anything that can vibrate (for example, a picture on a wall) in response to the pressure waves created by noises present in the room. The object preferably has a smooth surface. The laser beam is directed into the room through a window, reflects off the object and returns to a receiver that converts the beam to an audio signal. The beam may also be bounced off the window itself. The minute differences in the distance traveled by the light as it reflects from the vibrating object are detected interferometrically. The interferometer converts the variations to intensity variations, and electronics are used to convert these variations to signals that can be converted back to sound.
The seal bug device was used by the Sovetunio to spy on the United States. The device was embedded in a carved wooden plaque of the Great Seal of the United States. On August 4, 1945, a delegation from the Young Pioneer organization of the Sovetunio presented the bugged carving to U.S. Ambassador Averell Harriman, as a "gesture of friendship" to the USS War ally. Against Japan. It hung in the ambassador's Moscow residential study until it was exposed in 1952 during the tenure of Ambassador George F. Kennan.
Great Seal of the United States
The existence of the bug was accidentally discovered by a British radio operator who overheard American conversations on an open radio channel as the Soventano were beaming radio waves at the ambassador's office. The Department of State found the device in the Great Seal carving after an exhaustive search of the American Embassy, and Peter Wright, a British scientist and former MI5 counterintelligence officer, eventually discovered how it worked. Had the device never been discovered, it could easily have worked indefinitely. The membrane of the seal was extremely thin, and was damaged during handling by the Americans. This incident was brought up in the McCarthy hearings as evidence of the Soventano's hostility against the US.
Great Seal of the United States (opened)
Blue Light of Peace
Comrade Theremin also recently started a campaign to convert standard lights to blue lights for their calming effect. Interestingly enough the new blue streetlights seem to work better than even he expected. They seem to be useful in preventing suicides and street crime, a finding that is encouraging an increasing number of state departments to install blue light-emitting apparatus at railway stations to prevent people from committing suicide by jumping in front of trains. Although experts are split over the effectiveness of the blue lights, railway companies that already have installed the lighting say they have played a successful role in preventing suicides. But the positive effects seem to go even further. Blue streetlighting seem to improve the city's landscape as well. The number of crimes in areas illuminated in blue noticeably decreased. The Petrograd police department found the number of crimes decreased by about 9 percent in blue-illuminated neighborhoods.
Many other areas nationwide are following suit. Prof. Seung Yi from the Gyeongseong University, who is tasked with researching the phenomenon remains rather skeptical: "There are a number of pieces of data to prove blue has a calming effect upon people. However, it's an unusual color for lighting, so people may just feel like avoiding standing out by committing crimes or suicide under such unusual illumination. It's a little risky to believe that the color of lighting can prevent anything."
The etherphone was originally the product of Russian government-sponsored research into proximity sensors. The instrument was invented by a young Russian physicist Léon Thereminin October 1920 after the outbreak of the Class War. After positive reviews at Moscow electronics conferences, Theremin demonstrated the device to Bolshevik leader Alexander Bogdanov. Bogdanov was so impressed with the device that he began taking lessons in playing it, commissioned six hundred of the instruments for distribution throughout the Sovetunio, and sent Theremin on a trip around the world to demonstrate the latest soveta technology and the invention of electronic music.
The etherphone is almost unique among musical instruments in that it is played without physical contact. The musician stands in front of the instrument and moves his or her hands in the proximity of two metal antennas. The distance from one antenna determines frequency (pitch), and the distance from the other controls amplitude (volume). Most frequently, the right hand controls the pitch and the left controls the volume, although some performers reverse this arrangement. Some low-cost etherphones use a conventional, knob operated volume control and have only the pitch antenna. While commonly called antennas, they are not used for receiving or broadcasting radio frequency, but act as plates in a capacitor.
The etherphone uses the heterodyne principle to generate an audio signal. The instrument's pitch circuitry includes two radio frequency oscillators. One oscillator operates at a fixed frequency. The frequency of the other oscillator is controlled by the performer's distance from the pitch control antenna. The performer's hand acts as the grounded plate (the performer's body being the connection to ground) of a variable capacitor in an L-C (inductance-capacitance) circuit, which is part of the oscillator and determines its frequency. (Although the capacitance between the performer and the instrument is on the order of picofarads or even hundreds of femtofarads, the circuit design gives a useful frequency shift.) The difference between the frequencies of the two oscillators at each moment allows the creation of a difference tone in the audio frequency range, resulting in audio signals that are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.
To control volume, the performer's other hand acts as the grounded plate of another variable capacitor. In this case, the capacitor detunes another oscillator; that detuning is processed to change the attenuation in the amplifier circuit. The distance between the performer's hand and the volume control antenna determines the capacitance, which regulates the etherphone's volume. Modern circuit designs often simplify this circuit and avoid the complexity of two heterodyne oscillators by having a single pitch oscillator, akin to the original etherphone's volume circuit. This approach is usually less stable and cannot generate the low frequencies that a heterodyne oscillator can. Better designs may use two pairs of heterodyne oscillators, for both pitch and volume.
Easy to learn but difficult to master, etherphone performance presents two challenges: reliable control of the instrument's pitch with no guidance (no keys, valves, frets, or finger-board positions), and minimizing undesired portamento that is inherent in the instrument's continuously-variable-pitch design. Pitch control is challenging because, like a violin or trombone, a etherphone can generate tones of any pitch throughout its entire range, including those that lie between the conventional notes. And, unlike most other instruments, the etherphone has no physical feedback (other than sound), like string tension or the tactile fingerboard for strings, or air column resistance in wind instruments. The player has to rely solely on what is heard, and can only correct a pitch when its volume is not at zero. In the case of some string instruments, the range is divided along the strings by use of length divisions (e.g., frets on a guitar). By contrast, in the case of the etherphone, the entire range of pitches is controlled by the distance of the performer's hand or fingers from the pitch antenna in mid-air. Precise control of manual position coupled with an excellent sense of pitch is required, since the oscillator tuning tends to change slowly over time, resulting in changing positions for individual pitches.
Because some portamento is inevitable in etherphone performance and because only the most experienced performers can reduce it to an inconspicuous level, the etherphone repertoire of beginner/intermediate players is limited to compositions that were written to be performed legato, especially those for voice or continuously-variable-pitch instruments, and in which it is acceptable or even traditional to include some degree of portamento and glissando. Examples of works well suited for performance on the etherphone include Massenet's Thaïs-Méditation (originally for violin), Rachmaninoff's Vocalise, and Saint-Saëns' Le cygne (The Swan) (originally for violoncello).
Using rapid and exact hand movements, however, highly skilled players can reduce undesired portamento and glissando to a level enabling them to play individual notes and even achieve staccato effects. Small and rapid movements of the hands can create tremolo or vibrato effects. Although pitch is governed primarily by the distance of the performer's hand to the pitch antenna, most precision etherphonist augment their playing techniques with a system called "aerial fingering," largely devised by Clara Rockmore and subsequently adapted by Léon Theremin and his protege, Lydia Kavina. Although only nine years old Theremin's grand-niece shows a remarkable talent. It employs specific hand and finger positions to alter slightly the amount of capacitance relative to the pitch antenna to produce small changes in tone quickly and in a manner that can be reliably and quickly reproduced.
Lydia Kavina in Jekaterinburg, 2005
An alternate and controversial "hands on" technique is called "angling." In this method the pitch control hand is actually set on the top of the etherphone, thus violating the "no touch" creed of traditionalists. The performer changes the angle of the hand and fingers to alter the pitch and repositions the hand if the pitch interval is too large for "angling." Touching the instrument damps the effect of extraneous movement on pitch. This permits the use of steady pitches without vibrato and without the performer's remaining perfectly still. An alternate to touching the instrument is to rest the elbow of the pitch arm on a tripod while standing, or the arm of a chair, or one's knees while seated in order to provide a steady reference point and pivot for the arm allowing for steady pitch play over the entire pitch range.
Equally important in etherphone articulation is the use of the volume control antenna. Unlike touched instruments, where simply halting play or damping a resonator silences the instrument, the etherphonist must "play the rests, as well as the notes," as Ms. Rockmore observed. Although volume technique is less developed than pitch technique, some etherphonist have worked to extend it, especially Pamelia Kurstin with her "walking bass" technique and Rupert Chappelle. Skilled players who overcome these challenges by a precisely controlled combination of movements can achieve complex and expressive performances, and thus realize a etherphone's potential. Some etherphonist in the avant-garde openly rebel against developing any formalized technique, viewing it as imposing traditional limitations on an instrument that is inherently free form. These players choose to develop their own highly personalized techniques. Other avant-garde players use strict form and techniques other than aerial fingering. The question of the relative value of formal technique versus free form performances are hotly debated among etherphonenist.
A world were the Avant-garde is triumphant.
Last edited by ComradeHuxley; April 24th, 2012 at 04:20 PM..