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In The News


In The News


Article: Misc. 

The US is at the forefront of an international arms development effort that includes a remarkable assortment of technologies, which look and sound like they belong in a Hollywood science fiction thriller. From microwave energy blasters and blinding laser beams, to chemical agents and deafening sonic blasters, these weapons are at the cutting edge of crowd control.

1. The Invisible Pain Ray: The 'Holy Grail of Crowd Control'

It sounds like a weapon out of Star Wars. The Active Denial System, or ADS, works like an open-air microwave oven, projecting a focused beam of electromagnetic radiation to heat the skin of its targets to 130 degrees. This creates an intolerable burning sensation forcing those in its path to instinctively flee (a response the Air Force dubs the "goodbye effect").

2. The Laser Blinding 'Dazzler'

So what is the purpose of this light-shooting toy? Well, it won't kill you, but it will temporarily blind you — or as the NIJ prefers to say, it will "dazzle" you into disorientation — by shooting you with two low­-power diode­-pumped lasers.

3. The Taser on Steroids

But Taser has developed the Taser X12, a 12-gauge shotgun that instead of firing lethal bullet rounds, is designed to fire Taser projectile rounds. Known as Extended Range Electronic Projectiles (XREP), the XREP cartridge is a self-contained, wireless projectile that delivers the same neuro-muscular incapacitation bio-effect (a fancy way of saying electric shock) as the handheld Taser, but up to 100 feet.

4. Calmative Agents for Riot Control

Little more was heard about the Pentagon’s “advanced riot-control agent” program until July 2008, when the Army announced that production was scheduled for its XM1063 “non-lethal personal suppression projectile,” an artillery shell that bursts in midair over its target, scattering 152 canisters over a 100,000-square-foot area, each dispersing a chemical agent as it parachutes down. There are many indications that a calmative, such as fentanyl, is the intended payload—a literal opiate of the masses.

5. Screaming Microwaves That Pierce the Skull

Researchers are in the process of developing the Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio or MEDUSA (that's right, from Greek mythology), which uses a beam of microwaves to induce uncomfortable auditory sensations in the skull. The device exploits the microwave audio effect, in which short microwave pulses rapidly heat tissue, causing a shockwave inside the skull that can be detected by the ears. MEDUSA’s audio effect is loud enough to cause discomfort or even incapacitation. It may also cause a little brain damage from the high-intensity shockwave created by the microwave pulse.

6. Ear-Splitting Siren

The Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, built by American Technology Corporation, focuses and broadcasts sound over ranges of up to hundreds of yards. LRAD has been around for years, but Americans first took notice when police used it in Pittsburgh to ward off protesters at the 2009 G-20 summit. It is generally used in two ways: as a megaphone to order protesters to disperse; or, if they disobey, as an “ear-splitting siren” to drive them away. While LRAD may not be deadly, it can permanently damage hearing, depending on how it’s used.


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