TEDx Albuquerque visits AFRL

Local community members along with TEDX ABQ members take a photo in front of an active denial truck at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 17. Visitors spent the day learning about high power electromagnetics division technology which is often misrepresented via myth or social media.

Local community members along with TEDX ABQ members take a photo in front of an active denial truck at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 17. Visitors spent the day learning about high power electromagnetics division technology which is often misrepresented via myth or social media.

Beth Hemmerich, TEDx Albuquerque Adventures program coordinator, tests an active denial simulator at the Air Force Research Laboratory on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 17. The active denial system is a high power electromagnetic technology created to provide non-lethal and effective force protection.

Beth Hemmerich, TEDx Albuquerque Adventures program coordinator, tests an active denial simulator at the Air Force Research Laboratory on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 17. The active denial system is a high power electromagnetic technology created to provide non-lethal and effective force protection.

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The Air Force Research Laboratory gave members of TEDx Albuquerque a glimpse of some upcoming projects during a tour on Kirtland Air Force Base May 17.

Team AFRL spent the day teaching personnel about the many force protection programs currently being worked on, while also dispelling a few myths or rumors that they might have heard prior to the visit.

“The section we’re showcasing today develops high-powered microwave weapons,” said Mary Lou Robinson, AFRL division chief of high power electromagnetic research and development. "We investigate different frequencies and their effects; ranging from reversible non-lethal effects on people, to how they can destroy electronic devices in a blink of an eye."

Tour members were briefed on different types of radio frequency effects, such as using microwave signals to counter electronics and how AFRL and the Department of Defense use millimeter waves in different functions, such as for the active denial system.

The active denial system is a non-lethal, directed energy directed counter personnel system designed for perimeter defense.

The system emits a beam of 95-GHz millimeter waves of electronic energy to stop, deter or turn back advancing adversaries, which can aid in stopping use of lethal force in undesirable situations.

“Much of the technology we saw today is often misrepresented via myth and social media,” said Jason Griffin, secretary of the board for TEDxABQ. “The information we learned about concepts like the active denial system and what the DOD does with them not only helps us gain a better understanding of their functions, but helps us in being ambassadors of the military when it comes to speculations on what’s being done.”