Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

US Military Tests Non-Lethal Heat Ray

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the assembled-by-acme dept.

United States 420

URSpider writes "CNN and the BBC are reporting on a US military test of a new antipersonnel heat ray. The weapon focuses non-lethal millimeter-wave radiation onto humans, raising their skin surface temperature to an uncomfortable 130 F. The goal is to make the targets drop any weapons and flee the scene. The device was apparently tested on two soldiers and a group of ten reporters, which makes me wonder how thoroughly this thing has been safety tested. The government is also appealing to the scientific community for help in creating another innovative military technology: artificial 'black ice'. They hope to deploy the 'ice' in chase scenarios to slow fleeing vehicles." We discussed the military's certification to use the device last month.

cancel ×

420 comments

Moo (-1, Offtopic)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750684)

The government is also appealing to the scientific community for help in creating another innovative military technology: artificial 'black ice'.

The name is Joe. G.I. Joe.

Re:Moo (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750802)

Screw the military, I want one now. ... mumbles about it being -22C outside ...

Tom

Re:Moo (1)

slughead (592713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750814)

The name is Joe. G.I. Joe.

More like Goonies. Remember the asian kid [blogspirit.com] and his 'slick shoes'?

Re:Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750946)

The government is also appealing to the scientific community for help in creating another innovative military technology: artificial 'black ice'.

Apparently this [youtube.com] was the test run.

I hate vultures. (4, Funny)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750688)

"The device was apparently tested on two soldiers and a group of ten reporters, which makes me wonder how thoroughly this thing has been safety tested."
 
You're worried about the soldiers, right?

Re:I hate vultures. (1, Insightful)

parasonic (699907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750790)

You're worried about the soldiers, right?
I would be. Millimeter waves (microwaves) can do a lot of unpredictable things. I know that from some research, cops that shoot traffic radar for a long period (e.g. 20 to 30 years) frequently (daily or weekly) have a much higher tendency to contract cancer than those who don't.
 
That is over a long period of time, but we are talking about powers of microwatts or milliwatts at most from 10-34GHz being absorbed. I'd argue that this "heat ray" throws decawatts at a body.
 
There will be repercussions.

Re:I hate vultures. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751214)

>cops that shoot traffic radar for a long period (e.g. 20 to 30 years) frequently (daily or weekly) have a much higher tendency to contract cancer than those who don't.

Good. I feel no sympathy.

I agree (5, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751338)

We should just use the good old fashioned lethal weapons. Much less chance the people we are shooting at will get cancer 20 years from now.

Re:I hate vultures. (5, Informative)

Viper Daimao (911947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751380)

Wired (which I remember covering directed-energy weapons back in 2004 [wired.com] and 2005 [wired.com] ) recently wrote up an easy-reading article [wired.com] that covers most frequently asked questions about ADS, like:
"Does it cause lasting damage?"

In more than 10,000 exposures, there were six cases of blistering and one instance of second-degree burns in a laboratory accident, the documents claim.

And if the military is willing to try it out on news reporters (volunteers all), as they did in the breaking story, they're pretty confident.

Eye damage is identified as the biggest concern, but the military claims this has been thoroughly studied. Lab testing found subjects reflexively blink or turn away within a quarter of a second of exposure, long before the sensitive cornea can be damaged. Tests on monkeys showed that corneal damage heals within 24 hours, the reports claim.

"A speculum was needed to hold the eyes open to produce this type of injury because even under anesthesia, the monkeys blinked, protecting the cornea," the report says.
[...]
[T]he Air Force is adamant that after years of study, exposure to MMW has not been demonstrated to promote cancer. During some tests, subjects were exposed to 20 times the permitted dose under the relevant Air Force radiation standard.

"Okay, no lasting damage usually, but how long does the pain last?"
The pain ceases as soon as the beam's no longer on you.

Yet the ADS, like every nonlethal weapon, is heavily scrutinized because of the potential for abuse ("Will the version in the field be as harmless as the one used on reporters?", etc.) and because, presumably, exotic new technologies like this are hard to sell to a skeptical public. Hence, the reporters themselves being subjected to the weapon.

Then, of course, there are those who oppose any new weapon almost on principle. But after reading similar comments at several sites, I have to ask, Why?

Why oppose battlefield (or riot zone) use of the ADS, which can allow our servicemen and -women to stop a suspicious person at long range rather than (A) let the person close distance and potentially harm our troops, or (B) have our servicemen shoot (lethally) first and ask questions later?

It's precisely these ethical and operational questions that lead me to believe that directed energy has a big part to play in future combat operations. Especially once these weapons get smaller (even as small as rifle-sized, perhaps with a battery in the backpack), there are all kinds of potential military applications.

If you can disable people all around a combat zone without killing them--perhaps so you can get in, detain a high-value target and get out--you don't really have to (for example) discriminate between innocent civilians and enemy combatants who dress like civilians. Instead of killing anyone who gets too close to a vehicle convoy (hey, you don't know if he has a bomb strapped to him, or a gun hidden in his clothing), just zap 'im for a few seconds at a few hundred meters (much further than bombs and much effective small arms fire usually reach) and keep moving. Furthermore, if you can make a combatant stop and drop without putting a bullet in him, you're more likely to be able to detain and question him.

That adds up to fewer "collateral" losses of innocents and more flexibility for our troops. Whatever your human rights concerns, aren't the consequences of not having such a system worse?

Heck, if they can miniaturize it, why not allow it in more mundane civilian/police applications? A short shock of pain is better than being shot, and as the North Hollywood bank robbery/shootout illustrated, bullets aren't always as effective as something like the ADS could be.

Re:I hate vultures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751034)

Yea. There reporters are expendable, and most likely will not get the facts correct anyway.

On a related note.. (0)

GreenEnvy22 (1046790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750690)

The volunteers for this test report they are very happy with their sun tans, but have severe cases of "farmers tan"

split opinion (4, Insightful)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750698)

One one hand, a bunch of Iraqis with burns they can claim was caused by the Great Satan's hellfire gun is about the last thing we need. On the other hand, it's better than giving them a sudden case of lead poisoning.

Re:split opinion (0, Offtopic)

Eudial (590661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750860)

One one hand, a bunch of Iraqis with burns they can claim was caused by the Great Satan's hellfire gun is about the last thing we need. On the other hand, it's better than giving them a sudden case of lead poisoning.


How about getting out of Iraq and leaving those poor people to mend their shattered country themselves?

Re:split opinion (2, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751070)

How about getting out of Iraq and leaving those poor people to mend their shattered country themselves?

You're assuming that the Iraqis want to mend their shattered country. Most would be perfectly happy fragmenting it along ethnic lines. The only reason the U.S. is keeping it together is to avoid pissing off Turkey (by creating an independent Kurdistan) and to avoid giving Iran the gift of a nice Shi'ite client state.

Re:split opinion (4, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751388)

The irony here is that at least with Hussain there, we didn't have to worry about these things. The interests of the United States were better served with a low-level dictator in place than the current unpredictable and uncontrollable situation. Of course, we did not expect the dictator to be replaced by general chaos, but it seems that we did not realize that Hussain was the thing plugging up the dike.

Re:split opinion (3, Insightful)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751112)

You are right- We should let the sectarian violence rage completely unabated. I am not saying we should have gone there in the first place (although I do think Hussein got his right), but the fact remains that we are there now. Leaving would only be worsening things. Sure I would love to have the friends I have serving over there back home and safe, but I would not have them come home now and just let Iraq go to shit. Maybe you should go back to selling mattresses.

Re:split opinion (-1, Offtopic)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750900)

unless this incapacitates the target so they can be captured, i would rather give them lead poisoning.

the u.s. is too weak to win a war. i am not condoning torture or killing innocents. but we have to actually take people on instead of worrying about hurting their feelings. i mean, look at the situation, a small group of people use innocents as shields or blows them up while they buy groceries or go to/look for work. the u.s is the bad guys? since we broke the whole thing we owe it to the population that just wants to live in peace.

that's just the thing (3, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751010)

Anyone the army actually wanted to give lead poisoning, it will continue to give a lead poisoning. If someone is shooting an AK-47 or worse yet a Dragunov at you, you don't want him just forced to dive around a corner. One way or another some soldiers will still have to hunt him down, sooner or later.

The only people against you'd want to use a non-lethal weapon is, well, people you don't want to give a lead poisoning in the first place. Like civilian demonstrations. That's what worries me. It's not a weapon of war, it's a crowd control device. Same as rubber bullets and water hoses, only a level meaner: when was the last time you heard of those used in a battle? It's not the kind of thing you'd win an offensive with, it the kind of thing you'd use to keep people from protesting against a puppet pro-USA dictator.

Re:that's just the thing (1)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751226)

What of people rioting outside of an embassy? That would be a good use for this weapon.

Further, if terrorists are disbursed among civilians, you can use this weapon to stop everyone, grab the assholes with the AKs, and everyone else lives. Minimal collateral damage.

Also convenient when assaulting a critical location with entrenched enemies that you don't want to blow up (power plant, oil refinery, etc). You can incapacitate the bad guys without blowing the building up - big win for all of the innocents that rely on the building.

Here's what I wonder, though (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750906)

Here's what I wonder, though: on who will it be used?

On enemy soldiers? If someone is dead set on ventilating your brain, what's to stop them from using some kind of shielding? If it's millimeter wave, it's still possible to block it, for example, with a fine enough metal mesh. You can see through it (poorly) to aim the gun. Plus, guiding a weapon via a periscope isn't exactly a new idea. Any tank or APC includes such devices.

Will it protect against a sniper in Iraq? Well, no, because if you knew where the sniper is, and had LOS for such a device, then you also have LOS to counter-snipe him. In practice they can still shoot once or twice with impunity, then be gone before you even figure out where he was.

So they're going to help, how? Preemptively microwave everything in sight, including kids, pets, retired seniors and everything, just so a possible sniper gets inconvenienced too? Not entirely practicable or sane.

It seems to me like this kind of thing is only useful for one thing: against demonstrators which weren't armed to start with. Yeah, giving a few of those burns will soo make it clear that the USA is there just to bring them democracy and freedom of speech.

What it'll be used for (1)

jonatha (204526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751050)

TFA (or one similar) cited a grunt in Iraq who says it's common practice for insurgents to feign auto trouble in order to have time to scout US positions.

This would be used to convince them to move along....

Re:What it'll be used for (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751382)

Oh, genius. So, let's indescriminately torture innocent people whose cars have broken down in order to mildly inconvenience the 1% who are hostile. Truly, it will bring the War on Hearts and Minds to a speedy conclusion.

"Iraq" is a stalking horse (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751220)

This will be used on peaceful protesters in the US, and will be sold to other repressive regimes for use against their own citizens. There is no use for it in Iraq.

Re:Here's what I wonder, though (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751302)

OK, here's a scenario for you. You're in an urban area surrounded by a (possibly hostile) crowd of civilians. Suddenly, someone in the crowd starts shooting at you. You don't want to continue to take fire. You don't want to fire into the crowd. So you use this device. Result - individuals in the crowd are angry at you. Shooter gets away. But, 1) you didn't kill any civilians, and 2) insurgents can no longer meld into crowds and attack effectively.

Re:split opinion (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750942)

Someone should have told that to those asshats using WP on unarmed civilians.

Re:split opinion (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751348)

What makes Iraqis the enemy again?

Useful Against Insurgencies (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750702)

Sounds just like what we need for our boys and girls over in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of dropping a bomb over the evildoers' heads, or not even fire for fear of collateral damage, this weapon would be the solution.

I know the kneejerk slashdotters will come out of the woodwork against this, but would you rather have dead people or civilians? It's funny how you guys love technology except when the military invents it.

Re:Useful Against Insurgencies (0, Redundant)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750944)

Military technology is only as good or as evil as the deciders who determine when and against whom it will be used. Many of us have become increasingly uncomfortable with that lately.

Re:Useful Against Insurgencies (4, Insightful)

*weasel (174362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751028)

Technology is neutral.
If you're uneasy with how evil our leaders are becoming, it doesn't really matter whether they develop new technologies or not, does it?

Re:Useful Against Insurgencies (1)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751128)

Yeah, it's a good idea in principle.

Except most of the time the US soldiers don't even know who the bad guys are until they strike. It's not like you have the bad guys standing in a crowd of people shouting: 'Ha ha! You can't shoot me because I'm using human shields!'.

No, the insurgents in Iraq are very much like the ones in Vietnam of old. Just a part of the crowd until they decide to strike.

Re:Useful Against Insurgencies (1)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751236)

It's not like you have the bad guys standing in a crowd of people shouting: 'Ha ha! You can't shoot me because I'm using human shields!'.

Actually, that's a quite often used tactic, and a fundamental tactic of guerilla warfare (being able to look like a civilian at will means you get to determine when and where you will fight battles). This can be used against the children who throw rocks at American humvees trying to goad Americans into shooting them. Also, it can help against incidents where teerorists flocked to a Mosque and then callled up a thousand women and children to flock to the Mosque to prevent Israel from bombing the place (this happpened in Palestine, not Iraq, but is still very applicable)

Non-lethal, huh? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750708)

What happens when somebody is subjected to this weapon for, say, 30 to 60 seconds? I'd imagine it'd be quite lethal then.

After the Abu Ghraib scandal, I think it'd be quite possible for groups of soldiers from Kansas, Alabama, Oklahoma and similar backwater American states to use these weapons repeatedly on prisoners or civilians they happen to encounter. And I don't doubt for a second that a very painful death would await such people, especially when the American soldiers hold down the trigger on this device for a minute or more.

Re:Non-lethal, huh? (1)

androvsky (974733) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750934)

Wow, stereotype much?

Re:Non-lethal, huh? (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751300)

ACs always stereotype.

Re:Non-lethal, huh? (2, Informative)

m0ok1e (872075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751036)

Just an FYI, it is against military law to fire upon someone who is helpless to defend themselves, like someone chained to something. It doesn't really matter how long they hold down the trigger, the people in the focused beam will run away from it as fast as they can. The video I saw of the tests indicates that, and the weapon does not penetrate buildings or metal, etc, so there is respite from it if you can run. Also, this thing requires A LOT of battery power to operate, and I don't think the intention is to operate the thing at full power for more than a couple of seconds, or in quick bursts. I believe it will entirely deplete the battery if you run it for a whole 2 minutes.
You CANNOT, and I mean CANNOT stand in the way of this weapon without having your natural instinct kick in and make you run the hell away from it. It is simply not possible.

Re:Non-lethal, huh? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751148)

You can't always run away. What's the spread of this thing? What about if it's applied to an enclosed space? Presumably it has some significant range, too: imagine this fired into a densely-populated, enclosed space such as a football auditorium, or an outdoor demonstration in a fenced area? This doesn't sound good, at all.
Debates that reference a secret, military technologies supposed battery life can be dismissed out of hand as we just don't know what the figures might be: and surely it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that they could JUST PLUG THE THING INTO THE MAINS SUPPLY.

Re:Non-lethal, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751154)

You CANNOT, and I mean CANNOT stand in the way of this weapon without having your natural instinct kick in and make you run the hell away from it. It is simply not possible.

YOU try to run away when locked in a prison cell, or chained to an "interrogation rack".

They wouldn't realize what they're doing. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751170)

I've dealt with many people who are the type of soldier you're talking about. We don't want to stereotype, but from my experience, soldiers from the states of Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri do tend to have a lower intelligence than most other soldiers from other states.

My guess would be that this is due to socio-economic reasons. Education isn't considered important in such regions. In many cases, students are encouraged to not study a subject like science, because they may learn theories that contradict the religious beliefs of the region. Furthermore, many of these people join the military just because they don't have the education necessary to get even a low-paying job.

When it comes to using these sorts of weapons, I don't think they'd even have a basic understanding of how they work and what they're actually doing. Those sorts of people can understand that a chunk of lead moving very fast and hitting somebody will cause damage. They can see it happening. But when it comes to this sort of weapon, which has no visible output and doesn't immediately present visible damage on the target, these soldiers may not realize what they're doing actually is causing pain or destruction.

Re:Non-lethal, huh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751276)

Do you realize how useless your comments are?

First, this is a weapon like any other weapon. It can be used poorly and is ultimately a tool of the person that wields it. There are hundreds of more effective and less detectable methods of torture that could be used via 15th century technology. Do you think this is any more dangerous than 100,000 19 year olds running around with machine guns?

Second, stereotyping different states as "back-water" and making baseless assumptions about the humanity of our soldiers is not just ignorant, its potentially harmful. Just because you politically disagree with the war in Iraq doesn't mean you should punish those who have volunteered to serve this country with your disdain. Soldiers do not make policy, and 99.9% of them have no desire to torture anyone. These people are doing a job that is noble, and that requires a lot of sacrifice. If you keep attacking the soldiers instead of the policy then pretty soon we're not going to have anyone volunteering to protect our country from the real dangers of the world.

You are undoubtedly a symptom of the real problems this country faces. You are an ignorant elitist, who bases assumption on conjecture instead of reality. You assume that you are better than everyone else, and that somehow you are the embodyment of humanity, when nothing could be further from the truth. Why any sensibile person would take your comments seriously, or place any merit in them is beyond me.

Please respond in a way that allows me to further stereotype you, so that I can continue to make my point.

Don't Forget! (4, Funny)

Life2Short (593815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750710)

I think if the University of Florida has taught us anything, you have to thoroughly soak your target first.

Popcorn (2, Funny)

The_Mr_Flibble (738358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750730)

How long after this thing is deployed will we see video's on you tube with soldiers using this thing to make popcorn ?
And how long after will we see drunk soldiers holding the popcorn whilst it's being made ?

Fear and cancer (1, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750742)

What happens when people learn this is bullshit and go "Nice, but you've just got a bullet in you"? People deal with panic attacks and heat rays can't do much more than make you panic you're about to die.

Secondly, how long until we discover this causes cancer? Microwaving people is obviously really unsafe, so making them feel their about to set alight must be pretty damn shitty on the old body.

Thirdly, this + metal = ?? If it is real heat it's going to REALLY hurt.

Microwaves not ionizing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750800)

Microwaving people is obviously really unsafe,

Microwaves are not ionizing like Ultra-violet, X-rays and other higher energy shorter wave-length radiation. If they really did cause cancer, folks are around airports and other radar (Microwave) installations would have a much higher incidence of cancer than the general population.

Re:Fear and cancer (2, Insightful)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750854)

Unlike most cases where I would immediately pipe in about the safety of microwave radiation as compared to other, higher power (or ionizing) radiation, in this case the questions of safety are justified I think. The reason that cell phones are safe is because, even though they are a microwave-using device right next to your head, the amount of radiation hitting your body doesn't penetrate the first couple layers of skin, and raises the temperature by less than walking out into the sun. This, on the other hand, pumps out enough juice to cause 130 degrees of pain. I can't imagine that enough microwaving to cause this kind of temperature increase wouldn't also penetrate deeper into the body, possibly heating other organs that really ought-not to be heated. Also, if I recall correctly, there was some evidence that microwave radiation in elevated amounts (as compared to the background) over time can increase the incidence of cataracts. In that case, even if we aren't giving people a higher risk of cancer, we might be making them blind. Sure, we can handle cataracts in the western world, but I imagine it'd be a different story in some of the places around the world where this system would be deployed.

Oh yeah, and that metal thing... yeah, that could be bad.

Re:Fear and cancer (1)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751194)

Microwave radiation even in modest amounts can produce lasting symptoms. Consider Ross Adey and the Lida machine (North Korean brainwashing machine). I personally knew a man who had been subjected to this technique as an Army Intelligence operative in Korea, and he was perpetually spaced. Not convinced? Look here [raven1.net] .

Re:Fear and cancer (1)

leathered (780018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750952)

Secondly, how long until we discover this causes cancer?

A very long time I imagine, because unless they're not telling us something I assume the radiation is non-ionizing. No accepted study has proved that non-ionizing raditation causes cancer.

WTF (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750746)

An uncomfortable 130 degrees. Who the hell are they kidding. I love how America gets to decide how bad what we're doing to someone really is.

"We create a mildly uncomfortable sensation by hooking his jewels up to a car battery and he told us what we wanted. Those Iraqi's really don't like to be uncomfortable."

Re:WTF (1)

DrStrange66 (654036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750940)

An uncomfortable 130 degrees. Who the hell are they kidding. I love how America gets to decide how bad what we're doing to someone really is.
Isn't it already 130 degrees in Iraq? They won't even notice they are being beamed. They'll just think it's another heat wave. ;-)

Re:WTF (1)

CreatureComfort (741652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751026)


by hooking his jewels up to a car battery and he told us what he thought we wanted to hear.

There, FTFY.

Remember kids, torture is a great way to learn new fairy tales, but a horrible way to actually get any kind of reliable information.

if i recall correctly (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750772)

the military had a great new weapon in the form of a liquid that would foam and solidify a few years back. so an urban crowd is getting uppity. rather than shoot them, spray them. voila: instant immobilization, no worries of permanent damage or death... well that's just the thing. in a real crowd situation, someone's mouth would get sprayed. then it's a tracheotomy in a few minutes or death by suffocation

so what will happen with the OUCH ray is that someone will get hit in the eyes, and be blinded. or with the black ice, as any hockey player/ fan will tell you, someone will do a perfect backward fall and wind up with a concussion or brain damage

all i'm saying is that the nirvana of the perfect nonlethal crowd control/ imlpement of war is not very easy to obtain. all you do is trade in one kind of potential for damage/ death for another kind of potential for damage/ death. tragedy is not so easily avoided. we don't live in a world where improbable and deadly accidents never happen, and we don't live in a world where everybody has agreed that violence ion the name of advancing yout agenda isn't the answer (no matter what your ideology, from the right or the left)

Re:if i recall correctly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751372)

The military is not saying there will be 0% deaths with nonlethal weapons technology.

What they are trying to do is minimize injuries and fatalities.

Use some of the NL stuff on a crowd, maybe you do wind up with a fatality or two. Still better imho than unloaded a few clips, which would assuredly cause more harm.

I get tired of hearing the, "It's not perfect, so it's worthless" argument, when we should be accepting of steps in the right direction. (Not that I'm applauding manufacturing in the first place...)

Another use for heat rays (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750774)

...vaporizing unsitely road-kill without having to exit the vehicle.

Raytheon's Silent Guardian (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750784)

The weapon is called the silent guardian [raytheon.com] . It's made by Raytheon and that site has a short video just showing it off with a product sheet.

The most interesting things from that product sheet:
Targeting: Stationary firing position with 360-degree coverage
Integrated sensors with joystick control
Single-man operation

System Setup: Automatic target tracking
Modular architecture
Secure antenna stabilization platform
able to operate in 40 mph winds

Mission Profile: Less than 2-second retargeting capability
Shoot-and-scoot capability
Less than 2 seconds to switch from standby mode to armed

Contractor Support: Complete logistics support package available to include:
- Return and repair maintenance
- System training
- Web-enabled supply support
- Supports Army two-level maintenance system
And I personally think the most important aspect of this weapon is that it fills the gap between shout and shoot which is a big thing when you think about it.

Re:Raytheon's Silent Guardian (2, Funny)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751052)

Stationary firing position with 360-degree coverage

Wonderful! So you can shoot yourself without turning the gun around.

This is the US army we're talking about, yes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751118)

The one with the in practice SOP of "shoot if it moves cos if it isn't an enemy, it will be the next time you shoot".

Re:Raytheon's Silent Guardian (1)

3.14159265 (644043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751130)

"And I personally think the most important aspect of this weapon is that it fills the gap between shout and shoot which is a big thing when you think about it."

Shout and shoot. Definitely. Because talking and listening never got nobody nowhere.

unintended consequences and baked Alaska... (2, Insightful)

ofcourseyouare (965770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751396)

I agree that "the most important aspect of this weapon is that it fills the gap between shout and shoot which is a big thing when you think about it"; and certainly this sort of non-lethal weapon could help prevent the "mourning war" or vendettas which (I think) you mentioned in an earlier excellent post on a related topic.

However, I do think one unintended consequence of non-lethal weapons is what we saw with Tasers when that student was expellend from the university library a couple of months ago. In that case, it seemed to me that if the guards had not had tasers, they would not have escalted to beating him with nightsticks, they'd have had to just haul him out physically. Because they had a non-lethal but very unpleasant weapons, they escalated to that wheras otherwise they might have been more patient.

Something similar might happen with this. You have an unruly crowd: rather than just wait it out as you might currently, instead you microwave them with this device. Thus the non-lethal weapon can result in more force being used rahter than less.

Having said that, if this is being used instead of rubber bullets let alone metal ones it's difficult to see the problem.

And of course it could vastly simplify the manfacture of baked Alaska ; )

"Non-Lethal"??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750808)

...sounds like the terrorists have won already

Test it on me! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750818)

I wish the government would follow me around for a few months testing this thing on me, it's friggen cold right now in New England!

Isn't this "ray" easily blocked? (5, Interesting)

rcb1974 (654474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750828)

Couldn't an organized crowd just pull the metal screens off their windows and use them as shields? Last I checked, those work great against microwaves. You could even make clothing made of flexible metal mesh to block the incoming rays.

Re:Isn't this "ray" easily blocked? (1)

m0ok1e (872075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751188)

The first part or your suggestion is true, they could just pull metal screens, and block the rays, if everyone in the crowd thought ahead and brought their metal screens, and they would have to know exactly where the beam was coming from. Also, they would have to avoid letting even their hands around the outside of their metal sheilds. However, the clothing option is simply not a good one, they would have to make a full body suit with almost no penetration through the "mesh." So helmet, gloves and shoes, even jock-strap. Also, how many crowds do you know that can afford to "suit up" with this type of clothing, which, last time I checked still didn't stop the bullets.

Re:Isn't this "ray" easily blocked? (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751244)

Have you ever put tin foil in a microwave? It doesn't look too.. um.. wearable.

Re:Isn't this "ray" easily blocked? (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751408)

Just another reason to put on those tinfoil hats.

way too easy to thwart... (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750842)

Hmm...lets see. Cover some cardboard with aluminum foil and make a shield or use a metal trash can lid then step behind a building. I really don't think the effects of this thing will last long as soon as the enemy becomes aware of it, and exactly what do to avoid it. Chaos and people scurrying makes cover for return fire. The enemy isn't going to stop fearing lead, but they will stop fearing this thing rather quickly imho.

Re:way too easy to thwart... (1)

surprise_audit (575743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751102)

I don't know that it would even be necessary to hide behind anything. I mean, right now the most likely place to deploy this thing is Iraq, and that's mostly a big fricken desert. What does the normal daytime temperature get up to, especially in the urban areas?? Are people even going to *notice* a heat ray??

And if you can't flee...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750844)

Probably been asked before, but what happens if people hit by the heat ray are unable to flee? Do they end up cooking to death?

I'm just thinking in situations where people are, say, backed into a dead end alleyway or incapacitated by being crushed in a crowd of fleeing rioters crying "It burns! It burns! Run away!".

Here come the hypocrits (1, Troll)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750846)

Just wait, a non lethal weapon was developed that won't kill people. Now people will complain that it causes pain. Well, what would you rather have, pain or death?

Re:Here come the hypocrits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751164)

My darling, darling boy. If you knew anything about pain: real, intense, constant pain, you'd know that death is sometimes a welcome thing.

Re:Here come the hypocrits (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751196)

Would you rather be tortured for weeks, only for the people torturing you to kill you regardless of what you tell them, or would you rather they just kill you right away? Believe it or not, some people would much rather have death than an indefinite amount of pain.

Re:Here come the hypocrit(e)s (1)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751308)

pain or death?

I'll have the chicken.

Stopping Fleeing vehicles try a HERF Gun (2, Interesting)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750886)

see Build Your Own HERF Gun [slashdot.org]
and
HERF Gun: Make it in your basement [slashdot.org]

Supposedly the High Energy Radio Frequency (HERF) burst will disrupt all the electronic components in an engine. My understanding is that the Coast Guard is already using these to stop fleeing motor boats (sorry no link) and the air force is researching a HERF weapon to knock all the electronics in a area USAF Detachment 8 Continues US Research Into EMP-Microwave Weapons [defenseindustrydaily.com]

Heat-ray aside... (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750890)

I like the idea of the black-ice spray. Less destructive than spike strips, and with the spray-on reversal agent, more selective. Also, when have people in the middle east seen ice? They wouldn't know how to drive on it, and its not like they're going to send volunteers to Minnesota in the winter to take a defensive driving course.

Re:Heat-ray aside... (1)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751296)

"...and its not like they're going to send volunteers to Minnesota in the winter to take a defensive driving course"

If they did, would they just want to be taught how to drive on ice but not how to park?

don't worry! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750914)

dooon't worry! ...it's INflammable!

Isn't it hot in Iraq already? (1)

richieb (3277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750926)

I thought temperature in Iraq was already 130 degrees...

Temperatures (3, Insightful)

ZOMFF (1011277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750928)

Considering that the average temperature of bath water is ~110F, 130F doesn't seem like it would be too uncomfortable for a soldier. Considering the temperatures most soldiers face (especially those deployed to the desert) I'm sure they are exposed to similar temps by the environment alone + gear. The question I have is will the microwaves react differently to a metal object as opposed to human skin? IE: cause the gun/weapon a soldier is holding to become very hot causing the soldier to drop it, rather than causing the skin to burn.

Yikes. (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751334)

Considering that the average temperature of bath water is ~110F,

Yikes. That's a fairly hot bath (43 degrees celsius, yikes). You probably can't stand this for long, and if you have too many of these baths, you might end up infertile (if male). The latter might not be a concern since this is slashdot, though.

Ok..soo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17750954)

This really won't work as a deterent during the Iraqi summer, instead you will have thousands of people swarming around this "Weapon" to cool them off by about 20 degrees F.

Is this well thought out? (0, Troll)

Lance_Denmark (985878) | more than 7 years ago | (#17750980)

Oh great! So these terrorists hate America and try and kill coalition soldiers and we respond by giving them a free suntan. This makes me sick.

The U.S. Millitary Should Stop..... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751002)

..... taking it's weapons ideas from Sci-Fi. This one comes from War Of The Worlds:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat-Ray [wikipedia.org]

If this keeps up, we'll have a "Death Star" before you know it.

Artificial black Ice was also invented in Sci-Fi (1)

genegeek (548040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751208)

In the sci-fi book Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, ice-9 was a crystal that could be dropped in water to instantly crystallize it. Of course, by the end of the book it gets dropped in the ocean and we all (almost) die.

Torture (3, Insightful)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751014)

The use of this device would effectively amount to torture. Using it on a crowd of protesters you want removed would be equivalent to going around and Tazering all of them. Passive resistance does not justify the use of torture.

This will replace waterboarding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751022)

A device that causes searing physical pain whilst not creating any visually noticeable effects. This will replace waterboarding.

Huh? (4, Insightful)

lendude (620139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751046)

"The goal is to make the targets drop any weapons and flee the scene." Why the f*ck would they drop their weapons and flee the scene? If they can flee the scene, they'd wanna hang onto their weapons wouldn't they? And if they can't flee the scene, unless the beam can cover the whole mass at once, they might be tempted to use their weapons? And if they can't flee the scene, they are pretty much constrained anyway?

Sounds more like a tool to use on demonstrators who aren't armed, just pesky.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751394)

Keeping a grip on 130 degree metal is probably no fun.

Sauna? (1)

3.14159265 (644043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751056)

I guess these guys never heard of it!...
Anyway, better look for that tin foil hat, it might help!

My eyes! The goggles do nothing! (1)

srl100 (820165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751072)

Oh, actually the goggles help quite a bit.

Crowd control today ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751114)

I wonder how long before this technology is used in secret detention facilities as a way to "gather valuable information" in the war on terror.

wow (1)

hyperstation (185147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751178)

remind me again why i bother to pay taxes in this country? this is sick, and will almost certainly be used against US citizens eventually.

Black Ice? (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751210)

Didn't Bally Midway invent this stuff [wikipedia.org] in the early 80's?

Here it comes (0, Flamebait)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751230)

I'd love to use this on Al Gore during his sleep while playing the theme song from An Inconvenient Truth.

US Military Inventions (1)

iOsiris (944032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751238)

US Military Spending/Research/Innovation must be focused towards stealing ideas from video games.

Black ice (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751242)

They hope to deploy the 'ice' in chase scenarios to slow fleeing vehicles."
Maybe I'm being obtuse, but how do you deploy the 'ice' in front of a fleeing vehicle if you're chasing it ?

If you've got someone out in front anyway, then you don't really need the 'ice'.

Re:Black ice (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751304)

IT's not uncommon forpolice to try and manipulate the chase.

If soemone is zipping down the freeway you have a god indicator where to deploy this.
Another use would be outside of banks, just to watch robbers fall on their ass as the try to fly.

Re:Black ice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751406)

The same way they deploy spike strips in front.

I don't get it. (1)

wongaboo (648434) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751266)

Maybe I'd have to experience it but I don't get it. They are putting out press releases saying this thing only penetrates 1/16th of an inch of skin, is ultimately harmless, but uncomfortable. Won't any trained adversary prepare for this, deal with their discomfort, concentrate on not dropping their weapon, take a knee and shoot the operator of this "discomfort" causing weapon? I'm not opposed to non-lethal weapons but it seems to me like immobilization (think tasers, rubble bullets, mace, etc) is key.

130F burns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751398)

If you place you hand under a faucet that's 130F, you will get third degree burns in less than half a minute (quicker if you're young or old and have thin skin). At 125F, it'll take about 2 minutes, at 135F about 10 seconds. And that takes into account the time it takes for heat to transfer from the water to your skin. So if this really heats skin up to 130F directly, you will see a lot of 2nd and 3rd degree burns from this. Less lethal than a hand grenade, but still not so benign.

Favorite Superweapon, Heat Rays, and others (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751412)

At the same time /. has a poll of our favorite weapons, which would have been funny, if not containing two existing mass destruction weapons. Then, a new weapon, heat rays, makes the front page on /.

Sight, when was the last time geeks weren't impressed by weapons?

millimeter wave rays, not good for the eyes (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751418)

Anything that heats the skin is also likely to heat the cornea. Microwaves at very low intensity, far lower than can be felt, have been known for 60 years to cause cataracts. It's going to be unlikely that these new waves, which are thousands of times higher than the safe limits for microwaves, will not harm eyeballs.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...