Dial Backlash/Disconnect For Murder
As an avowed ‘dark’ novelist I love hearing about new ways to kill people, but this one’s so shockingly obvious I’m amazed it took someone so long to figure it out. With a custom-built transmitter installed into your mobile phone, you can signal an I.C.D.(implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) from 30 feet away and zap 830 volts into someone’s pacemaker, thus messing up its rhythms. Or you could wirelessly direct an implantable insulin pump to deliver a lethal dose.
Smartphones can relay patients’ data to hospital computers so that doctors can alter treatment regimes remotely. But if somebody had a mind to it, they could send the wrong electronic message. You could change the dosage of medications, mess up eyesight, take over artificial limbs or raise the volume of hearing aids.
But that’s just the start; now that there are apps to program most of the electronics in your home, it looks like those old 1970s SF movies are about to come true. As computers are used to set the tyre pressure in your car, the possibilities are limitless. And even if safeguards are built in, we know how well those work, don’t we?
According to an article in Vanity Fair, you wouldn’t even have to know anything about medical software to kill someone – you just keep calling their system until it depletes their batteries.
Having said all this, I still like cheap and simple methods of death. A plastic bag was used on a drunk in ‘The Water Room’, and the favoured prison method of death is a broom handle through the eye. Meanwhile I’ve come up with something rather unusual for a new Bryant & May story entitled ‘Bryant & May In The Field’ which you may not spot, even though I’ve flagged it up with play-fair clues!
A tip of the hat to Mike Cane for alerting me to the pacemaker problem.