US police could get 'pain beam' weapons
2009-06-12 0:00

By David Hambling NewScientist.com

The research arm of the US Department of Justice is working on two portable non-lethal weapons that inflict pain from a distance using beams of laser light or microwaves, with the intention of putting them into the hands of police to subdue suspects.


A modified version of this laser rifle created to dazzle enemies by the US Air Force has been adapted by the Department of Justice to inflict pain from a distance (Image: US Air Force)


The two devices under development by the civilian National Institute of Justice both build on knowledge gained from the Pentagon's controversial Active Denial System (ADS) - first demonstrated in public last year, which uses a 2-metre beam of short microwaves to heat up the outer layer of a person's skin and cause pain.

'Reduced injuries'

Like the ADS, the new portable devices will also heat the skin, but will have beams only a few centimetres across. They are designed to elicit what the Pentagon calls a "repel response" - a strong urge to escape from the beam.

A spokesperson for the National Institute for Justice likens the effect of the new devices to that of "blunt trauma" weapons such as rubber bullets, "But unlike blunt trauma devices, the injury should not be present. This research is looking to reduce the injuries to suspects," they say.

Existing blunt trauma weapons can break ribs or even kill, making alternatives welcome. Yet ADS has recorded problems too - out of several thousand tests on human subjects there were two cases of second-degree burns.

Dazzle and burn

The NIJ's laser weapon has been dubbed Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response - PHaSR - and resembles a bulky rifle. It was created in 2005 by a US air force agency to temporarily dazzle enemies (see image, right), but the addition of a second, infrared laser makes it able to heat skin too.

The NIJ is testing the PHaSR in various scenarios, which may include prison situations as well as law enforcement.

The NIJ's portable microwave-based weapon is less developed. Currently a tabletop prototype with a range of less than a metre, a backpack-sized prototype with a range of 15 metres will be ready next year, a spokesperson says.

The truly portable mini-ADS could prove the more useful, as microwaves penetrate clothing better than the infra-red beam, which is most effective on exposed skin. Although the spokesman says: "In LEC [Law Enforcement and Corrections] use there is always a little bit of skin to target."

Torture concerns

The effect of microwave beams on humans has been investigated for years, but there is little publicly available research on the effects of PHaSR-type lasers on humans. The attraction of using a laser is that it can be less bulky than a microwave device.

Human rights groups say that equipping police with such weapons would add to the problems posed by existing "non-lethals" such as Tasers. Security expert Steve Wright at Leeds Metropolitan University describes the new weapons as "torture at the touch of a button".

"We have grave concerns about the deployment and use of any such devices, which have the potential to be used for torture or other ill treatment," says Amnesty International's arms control researcher Helen Hughes, adding that all research into their effects should be made public.

Article from: NewScientist.com

The Ray Gun In Action (CBS News)


Article from: YouTube.com



Related Articles
Run away the ray-gun is coming : We test US army's new secret weapon
Microwave weapon 'less lethal', but still not safe
Pain Ray - US torture weapons used against civilians
Pain Ray Fries Reporter [Video]


Latest News from our Front Page

Russia calls for an investigation into the Moon landing
2015-06-29 21:06
A Russian official has has cast doubt on the first moon landings and demanded an investigation into what really happened after original Nasa footage of the event disappeared. Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Russian government's Investigative Committee, says he wants an inquiry after the video from 1969 and a piece of lunar rock, which was brought back to earth, went ...
The Solution to White Privilege: #TakeUsDown
2015-06-29 20:47
The only way to please the “anti-racists.” Joseph Sobran famously challenged liberals to define a society in which they would be conservatives. Today, the challenge is to define a society in which white people are not racist. The last half century has seen a continual shifting of the goalposts when it comes to defining “racism.” During the so-called Civil Rights movement, ...
Revealed: Meditation can trigger depression and anxiety, according to new research that claims practice can release traumatic memories and psychological issues
2015-06-29 20:42
Meditation has long been said to do wonders for the brain and stress relief, new reports have challenged this idea and suggest that the practice could, in some cases, actually be causing harm. Clinical cognitive and behavioural psychologist and mediation expert, Dr Paula Watkins, suggests that during meditation, people can be taken too far into the ‘recesses’ of their minds and ...
Threat from Artificial Intelligence not just Hollywood fantasy
2015-06-29 20:04
Oxford academic Dr Stuart Armstrong warns humanity runs the risk of creating super intelligent computers that eventually destroy us all From the dystopian writings of Aldous Huxley and HG Wells to the sinister and apocalyptic vision of modern Hollywood blockbusters, the rise of the machines has long terrified mankind. But it now seems that the brave new world of science-fiction could ...
Greece Will Open 700 Bank Branches On Thursday - For Limited Pension Withdrawals Only
2015-06-29 19:14
Good news - some Greek bank branches will re-open sooner than expected. *Greek official: 700 bank branches to open thursday for pensions Bad news - only pension withdrawals are allowed in limited size. *Greek pension withdrawals will be limited to EU240: official Party's over. Source: zerohedge.com
More News »