11/25/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Louder Than Bombs: LRAD 'Sonic Cannon' Debuts in U.S. at G20 Protests

Pittsburgh police on Thursday used an audio cannon manufactured by American Technology Corporation (ATCO), a San Diego-based company, to disperse protesters outside the G-20 Summit -- the first time its LRAD series device has been used on civilians in the U.S.

An ATC sales representative confirms to DailyFinance that Pittsburgh police used ATC's Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD). "Yes, we sold one LRAD unit to a government agency -- I don't know which one -- which was used in Pittsburgh," the representative said. American Technology Corp.'s stock was trading up over 15 percent in heavy activity late Friday.

ATC's website calls the company "a leading innovator of commercial, government, and military directed acoustics product offers" that offers "sound solutions for the commercial, government, and military markets." The New York Times Friday reported that Pittsburgh officials believed this to be the technology's first use against civilians.

The paper did not identify the manufacturer of the audio cannon. "The police fired a sound cannon that emitted shrill beeps, causing demonstrators to cover their ears and back up," the paper reported. Similar "non-lethal" products designed by ATC have been used at sea by cruise ships to ward off pirates.

The company's LRAD series has a variety of featured benefits, including "Longer stand-off distances for increased asset protection, larger coverage with fewer personnel, and determination of intent of groups or individuals from extended distances." The product line can also transmit "bird distress calls to repel targeted birds from crops, buildings, and airports."

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