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Journalist Test Drives The Pain Ray Gun

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the set-phasers-to-ooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww dept.

Security 818

Fantastic Lad writes to tell us that journalist Michael Hanlon recently got the opportunity to experience the Army's new not-so-secret weapon, dubbed "Silent Guardian". The Silent Guardian is essentially (even though the creators prefer you not refer to it as such) a ray gun, emitting a focused beam of radiation similar to your microwave tuned to a specific frequency to stimulate human nerve endings. "It can throw a wave of agony nearly half a mile. Because the beam penetrates skin only to a depth of 1/64th of an inch, it cannot, says Raytheon, cause visible, permanent injury. But anyone in the beam's path will feel, over their entire body, the agonizing sensation I've just felt on my fingertip. The prospect doesn't bear thinking about. "

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Blimey! (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673247)

"It can throw a wave of agony nearly half a mile. Because the beam penetrates skin only to a depth of 1/64th of an inch, it cannot, says Raytheon, cause visible, permanent injury. But anyone in the beam's path will feel, over their entire body, the agonizing sensation I've just felt on my fingertip. The prospect doesn't bear thinking about. "

Arr! This be a popular thing to consider against terrorists, insurgents and other bilge, but what of when a swab asks Sen. Kerry one too many questions?

In fact, it is easy to see the raygun being used not as an alternative to lethal force (when I can see that it is quite justified), but as an extra weapon in the battle against dissent. Because it is, in essence, a simple machine, it is easy to see similar devices being pressed into service in places with extremely dubious reputations.

"Blow me down, Senator, but why did ye let the scallywag take Ohio uncontested?"
"Belay the questioning, ye poxy bilge-bellied picaroon!"

*FFFNNZZZZZOOWWNT*
"Yaaaarrr!"

Sounds funny, do ye think? But by Davy Jone's locker, it doesn't bode us at all well when bloomin' cops be using it on the populace for crowd control or to force lubbers to obey their commands.

"Arr, get out of the vehicle and make way for boardin', swabbie!"
"Aye, but what of me constitutional rights against unreasonable looting and pillaging?"

*FFFNNZZZZZOOWWNT*
"Yaaaarrr!"

Aye a sobering thought. And will yer video camera help ye then? And what of the other wrong people layin' their mitts on this terrible new technology by way of the interweb -- ye don't like how a match is going? Give the swab in goal an itch he'd claw out with his own hook for just a second for the ball to pass into the net. Aye. People already are misusing lasers, what of these? No visible injury, sounds perfect for torture.

What next, use this on pirates? Well I'll be scuppered!

Re:Blimey! (2, Funny)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673271)

Are people lovingly referring to it as "The Ronald" yet?

Re:Blimey! (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673487)

"Because it is, in essence, a simple machine, it is easy to see similar devices being pressed into service in places with extremely dubious reputations."

The ones that already use Kalashnikovs for crowd control? I'll take the ray over stopping a round, thx.

Re:Blimey! (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673575)

The ones that already use Kalashnikovs for crowd control? I'll take the ray over stopping a round, thx.

Aye, but do ye think they'd have less reservations usin' one o' these devices knowin' they would leave no visible wounds? Aye see these bein' used often and with far more room for abuse.

  • Ye, stepped out of line! *fnzownt*
  • Ye don't have correct change! *fnzownt*
  • Avast, I don't be likin' the look of ye! *fnzownt*
  • Yer late for work! *fnzownt*
  • Me supper's cold! *fnzownt*
  • Ahoy, that be a dupe article! *fnzownt*

Re:Blimey! (2, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673645)

  • Ninjas rule! *fnzownt*

Much more versatile than bullets... (5, Insightful)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673635)

You are missing the point. For such regimes, this device would not be so attractive for crowd control as it would be for torture. Let's see...cheap and easy to reproduce, causes agony, doesn't leave marks. Perfect for extracting confessions and discrediting dissidents!

Come to think of it, considering how trigger-happy some cops around here seem to be with tasers, I'd hate to see what they would do with a device like this if they ever got someone they didn't like (accused rapist, molester, cop killer, smart-mouthed teenager) in the lock-up.

John Titor Predicted it (4, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673251)

John Titor [wikipedia.org] predicted that the reason for the development of such weapons was for use against the general population of the United States.

Re:John Titor Predicted it (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673341)

John Titor is a hoax. Nevertheless, what he said could be true.

Re:John Titor Predicted it (1, Offtopic)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673643)

Of course it could- after all, the whole idea behind the Everett-Wheeler model of quantum physics is that everything that could possibly happen, happens. And any time travel would absolutely include a degree of sideways as well as past travel, because the time traveler himself would cause a disturbance that would propagate into new universes in the multiverse (or superverse as Titor called it). Thus a mark of a real time traveler under those rules would be predictions that would start out somewhat accurate, but become increasingly wrong.

Re:John Titor Predicted it (1)

Climate Shill (1039098) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673441)

...and for once, Mr Titor is right. Anyone carrying out a premediatated act can trivially defend themselves against this thing. It's people who believe they're doing nothing wrong who are the intended victims.

Re:John Titor Predicted it (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673511)

Now that *is* a story. John Titor got *something* right!

Re:John Titor Predicted it (4, Insightful)

elwinc (663074) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673537)

Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say that the sole reason for development was as stated above. The US used teargas in Viet Nam, and non-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets were used by the British in Northern Ireland, and I think by the Israelis against Palestinians. But there may be a problem with this sort of weapon. According to http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/4/3/214326.shtml [newsmax.com] The US was unable to use teargas due to a chemical weapons treaty. It wouldn't surprise me if some treaty some where disallowed this thing on the battlefield, but not at home...

Re:John Titor Predicted it (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673555)

For use during the "Waco-type events" that are happening on a monthly basis right now, and at everyone's doorstep? As a part of this civil war we're currently in?

Chilling... (5, Insightful)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673253)

In a world where the Taser is no longer considered a self defense weapon, but rather an enforcement/compliance tool, I am frightened to think what will happen when this technology makes its way out of the military sector. Every tough guy cop with a chip on his shoulder will have the power to cause limitless pain, and could justify it by saying "it causes no injury, and it prevents potential harm to innocents".

There is something wrong when the general population begins to fear the police, and I think that is starting to happen in the United States.

Re:Chilling... (3, Informative)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673425)

To me, the scary part is not when the general population is scared of police, but rather when they become disinterested in their government. This is exactly what the current policy makers want... Keep you loaded up in debt and working to pay those bills, and unintereested in what they are doing... Did you notice the 11% approval rating in congress?

Re:Chilling... (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673619)

Did you notice the 11% approval rating in congress?

Errr. . .doesn't such a low approval rating demonstrate not that people are disinterested in government, but rather that they are very interested and yet powerless to do anything about a government gone awry?

Re:Chilling... (5, Informative)

promotheus (1002873) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673447)

This reminds me of the neuronic whip in Issac Asmov's foundation series, the pain it produces could kill a person, it had 10 settings 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest. He also used it in many of his other works. The idea is the same, but the implementation is a bit simpler, Who said Sci-Fi never becomes reality? Whoever they are, they lied.

Re:Chilling... (4, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673597)

the general population begins to fear the police, and I think that is starting to happen in the United States

Why? An officer that's shown to abuse people can't keep his job unless an elected official/body allows him/her to. There isn't a law enforcement officer of any type, working at any level in the US that doesn't answer to elected civilians. So, what you're 'afraid' of isn't police with riot control weapons that no longer risk putting out an eye with a rubber bullet, or burning/choking someone with tear gas cannisters - what you're afraid of is your inability to be persuasive enough to get elected a person that, at the muncipal, county, and state level, will prohibit abusive behavior by officers (and support consequences for it).

Why are you more afraid of a fleeting, non-damaging nerve stimulation than you are choking gas, or bruising clubs and water cannons, or agitated K-9 units? You shouldn't be - those are all simply tools. This isn't about the tool, it's about the policies and rules of engagement. And those are dictated by people you do, or don't vote for. Police have always been ABLE to use painful tactics as needed, but those methods generally caused damage.

I don't know anyone in my neighborhood that's more afraid of police than they used to be. There are only people that are frustrated that there aren't enough police to keep gangs like MS-13 from being as scary as THEY are. If you're concerned about the ability of law enforcement officers to judge when and how to use force, then campaign for the higher taxes needed to pay the much higher salaries needed to attract and retain the physically fit, dedicated, experienced, philosopher kings you think would be better in that career.

no way this will work (5, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673273)

I mean, even if you could get it mounted on a frikkin shark, they wouldn't survive long enough out of water for it to be used for crowd control.

Re:no way this will work (1)

EricTheMad (603880) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673495)

I mean, even if you could get it mounted on a frikkin shark, they wouldn't survive long enough out of water for it to be used for crowd control.
You could always use it to clear out crowded beaches. Of course, a regular shark works just as well for that.

1/64th inch of skin (4, Interesting)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673275)

So, exactly how hard is to to wear some clothing over your whole body that will block this non-penetrating radiation?

It does not stack up (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673377)

Radiation similar to your microwave oven? Well that cooks more than the top 1/64th inch of the food.

If it really does only penentrate the top 1/64th then wet or oily cloathing should stop it.

Re:It does not stack up (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673657)

"Radiation similar to your microwave oven? Well that cooks more than the top 1/64th inch of the food."

It is only similar to microwave radiation in the sense that it is electromagetic. It is actually millimeterwaves not microwaves. It works by heating the moisture on/just under the skin and hurts like hell. If you were to wear wet clothing, the clothing would probably get hot (never tried it) and hurt like hell, but only a lot longer. When you step out of the beam, instantish relief.

Re:1/64th inch of skin (5, Funny)

Flipao (903929) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673453)

My tinfoil armor will reflect those microwaves back to the cast... er, I mean shooter... Arrr!

Relatively hard (4, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673485)

So, exactly how hard is to to wear some clothing over your whole body that will block this non-penetrating radiation?


Corrupt lobby to pass law declaring it illegal to wear metallic micro-wave reflecting clothes in :
...3 ...2 ...1 ...

Common, they already made it illegal to wear a gaz-mask during manifestations in some countries. What do you expect ?
{Insert your favorite "if-you-have-nothing-to-hide-you-have-no-reason-to-wear-one" excuse hehe}

Re:1/64th inch of skin (2, Insightful)

davinc (575029) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673515)

Of course it doesn't add up. Tasers (cattle prods for humans) also don't kill according to their makers, and DU rounds are safe. Rubber bullets also are don't take out the eyes of Palestinian children. If people start wearing clothing that keeps it from working, they will just turn up the volume. Anyone who develops cataracts as a result will be scorned and dismissed as lunatics, or just will be blamed for having put themselves in a position where the police had to use it on them. The term non-lethal is just a marketing term for 'martyr-less abuse of power'.

Re:1/64th inch of skin (1)

Methlin (604355) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673519)

So I take it you'll be wearing a full body leather gimp suit and goggles to the next rally?

Re:1/64th inch of skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673689)

Yes I will. Our secret password shall be "Oooh I like your ass in those"

Re:1/64th inch of skin (1)

tholomyes (610627) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673565)

Screw that, I'll just wear my 6th-sense headband and dodge the rays!

Re:1/64th inch of skin (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673659)

I found a series of jackets on ebay...

Search anti radiation suit..... a number of items.

How about an ancient medieval shield? A little steel would block it I bet.

Sounds awful (4, Funny)

illegibledotorg (1123239) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673279)

Detailed specs from Raytheon's patent filing show that the gun essentially plays Britney Spears' new single at an extremely high volume in a concentrated "cone of pain."

...oh the pain.

Re:Sounds awful (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673361)

Detailed specs from Raytheon's patent filing show that the gun essentially plays Britney Spears' new single at an extremely high volume in a concentrated "cone of pain." ...oh the pain.

Blow me down, that's inhumane! Better they should walk the plank

Re:Sounds awful (1)

ameline (771895) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673451)

Hah -- we Canadians have *vastly* superior technology as compared to this -- we use Celine Dion's voice as the basis for our cone of agony!

Re:Sounds awful (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673483)

Oh yeah that would to it. One listen to a belting of the word love (pronounced Ler-her-ahh by her) and I'm sent running.

Re:Sounds awful (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673457)

"Detailed specs from Raytheon's patent filing show that the gun essentially plays Britney Spears' new single at an extremely high volume in a concentrated "cone of pain.""

I read somewhere that the're using K-Fed as a stun setting.

Fact follows fiction (4, Interesting)

kalpol (714519) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673281)

Didn't Frank Herbert describe something just like this in Dune? Pain through nerve induction?

Re:Fact follows fiction (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673331)

Yes, he did. And so did Asimov with his neuronic whip or some-such.

Fact usually does follow fiction, but that's one reason we love sci-fi.

Re:Fact follows fiction (1)

bakamaki (1148765) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673417)

Yes the Gom Jabbar. Hopefully this device won't be used to determine if we are "real" people or not. Oh no it's George W and he's got his ray gun!

Re:Fact follows fiction (1)

wcb4 (75520) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673527)

The Gom Jabbar is the needle she held at his throat, not the box.

Gom Jabbar? (1)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673587)

Yes ... Gom Jabbar.

I thought he was a center for Portland.

Nay, laddie (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673617)

Didn't Frank Herbert describe something just like this in Dune? Pain through nerve induction?

Aye'm quite of a mind it was Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson following up his works that would be the causin' of such pain as a cat o' nine tails all the afternoon!

U.S. Government social skills: (2, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673283)

Any amount for violence, little for making relationships.

The least sophisticated way of relating to other people is through violence.

President Eisenhower warned us! (5, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673375)

Secret deals for largely secret projects costing largely secret amounts, and the taxpayer pays everything, blindly, or goes to jail. It's effectively a dictatorship of the Military-Industrial Complex [mu.edu] , as President Eisenhower warned.

A new tool for the torture we don't do... (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673291)

How nice, yet another pain-inducing tool that leaves no marks. I'm sure they will put this to quick use at Gitmo.

Re:A new tool for the torture we don't do... (2, Interesting)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673359)

If journalists are writing about it now, the USA has been using it on huma--sorry, I meant "terrorist"--test subjects for some time.

Re:A new tool for the torture we don't do... (1)

b4stard (893180) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673477)

From TFA:

it is being looked at only by the "North American military and its allies" and is not being sold to countries with questionable human rights records.
Higher HR-questionability? North Korea? The Klingons? The Kzin?

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673303)

I want one! Any project how to's on the web yet on a make your own?

Cue the tinfoil hat... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673313)

Or should it be 'tinfoil body armor'? Seriously, this is just going to start a desert arms race for who can stand to wear more body armor, either the bullet proof kind or the ray proof kind. Then, cue the 'armor defeating rays' which do actual permanent damage to those who don't happen to have ANY protection on. It brings a scary new prospect to the term 'collateral damage'.

Re:Cue the tinfoil hat... (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673431)

Then, cue the 'armor defeating rays' which do actual permanent damage to those who don't happen to have ANY protection on. It brings a scary new prospect to the term 'collateral damage'.


They're already working on that.

From TFA:

Silent Guardian and the Taser are just the first in a new wave of "non-lethal" weaponry being developed, mostly in the U.S.

These include not only microwave ray-guns, but the terrifying Pulsed Energy Projectile weapon. This uses a powerful laser which, when it hits someone up to 11/2 miles away, produces a "plasma" - a bubble of superhot gas - on the skin.


Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673315)

Move along or be pain-rayed.

Pussy... (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673321)

A finger? He should have went with the whole-body experience.

Forget the tin foil hat (4, Funny)

aj50 (789101) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673327)

Excuse me while I don my tin foil full body suit

The taser problem (4, Insightful)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673329)

I wonder if this will be the next iteration of the Taser problem, specifically, the fact that it leaves no marks and is designed not to permanently injure ends up lowering the threshold for using it.

With a gun, a trained operator understands that the person he's shooting at will probably die, so everything better be absolutely correct before employing it or he's going to jail.

With a Tazer, the trained operator will use it more casually than a gun because the price of being wrong is so much lower.

With the pain ray, it's even lower. Our current legal environment suggests that this will end up being used to break up unpopular demonstrations or groupings even more casually than tear gas, specifically because the physical evidence and chance of permanent injury is so much lower.

What effect will this have on the democratic process? Used in conjunction with modern artifacts like "designated free speech zones", this could be crippling. There's no way to prevent an advance, our duty as citizens is to be aware of the dangers and be ready to speak out against them if they transpire.

Re:The taser problem (3, Insightful)

GregPK (991973) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673687)

So what happens when we the populace start casually shooting the same thing back at them. Or, even worse, at each other. Could you imagine a group of teenagers roaming around town with one of these? Or sitting on a roof with a scope? Don't expect this tech in the hands of police anytime soon.(God I hope not) Because if it gets there it'll be on the street in a matter of days/weeks after that. No one will be safe. It doesn't sound like good crowd control management because its effective at up 1/2 a mile a way. It sounds like something thats easily effective at causing riots, mobs, and panic within a crowd. Now, if it were limted as a short range weapon then it would be useful. Because the only way a non lethal weapon really works on crowds is when it's user is easily seen and close enough to give commands.

Arrr (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673335)

Arrr sounds like the scurvy gov'ment dogs be usin Tesla's Death Ray [rense.com] in smaller form factor. Keep me parrot away from that thing! Arrr!!

So at last the agonizer booth is possible. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673337)

Another piece of Star Trek lore enters the real world.

Re:So at last the agonizer booth is possible. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673499)

Yeah, but the "agonizer" device was used in the savage universe of Mirror, Mirror.

Freakin' Sharks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673347)

Now if we could only mount it on sharks...

Raises some interesting questions (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673357)

questions like:

  1. what would this feel like if I shined it on my cock? Hot pussy?
  2. could the device be modified to stimulate the nerves to make it feel like hot, wet pussy?
  3. if so, would the army devolve into a bunch of guys virtually masturbating all day long?

I have developed a similar weapon... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673367)

it consists of blaring Chris Crocker's YouTube performance at loud volumes through very big speakers.

Re:I have developed a similar weapon... (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673445)

Not the same effect. This ray gun only messes with your skin the first time. Chris Crocker will mess with your head the first time. You start to wonder," is that a dude... chick... both?!" After a while Of watching his often pointless and mindless whinings, your brain starts to rot at the stem causing convulsions, seizures and often times... death. You see, if finely tuned, Chris Crocker can be a better killing machine than the MOAB.

Ok, but is it eye safe? (5, Interesting)

brain1 (699194) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673369)

We all know that heat coagulates protein. Just boil an egg. 1/64" of an inch of intense heating is enough to cook your cornea. Instant cataract. Out of all this "testing" with screaming "volunteers" I haven't really seen any conclusive evidence come forth that this wont do eye injury to a person. And we all know how "non-letal" (read "less than lethal") weapons get overused.

-dh

Re:Ok, but is it eye safe? (3, Insightful)

thisissilly (676875) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673523)

Or the long term health effects. It may cause pain now, but increase your chance for cancer, much like sunburn.

Key is frequency, not power (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673633)

The thing is, this wave in tuned to a frequency targeting nerve endings - so it might well not be nearly powerful enough to boil anything, much less your eye.

That said I was thinking that anything that sent this much pain coursing through you might well lead to more harmful effects than a tazer. That much pain would have to be quite a shock to your body which would probably trigger a lot of reactions as a result.

Re:Ok, but is it eye safe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673665)

On another webforum, there was someone posting who supposedly had the "pleasure" of trying this out years ago.

He said that they told him to remove all coins from his pockets, take his glasses off, and ensure that he had no metal anywhere near his skin.

So, it's totally safe... provided you don't carry money, wear glasses, wear headphones, have a hearing aid, have a zipper touching your skin, or have any other metal anywhere near you.

Where Aluminum Foil comes in handy... (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673381)

OK.. So this just means that the person lines they clothes with aluminum foil and problem solved... Yes, the aluminum foil will get hot, but it should dissipate it quite well... Once again, every weapon has its strengths and weaknesses. The key is to understand the technology...

Re:Where Aluminum Foil comes in handy... (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673435)

And this helps your exposed head, neck, eyes, and hands how?

Re:Where Aluminum Foil comes in handy... (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673563)

Have you ever been to a major rally, such as the G8 Summit? Meaning, at places where this "weapon" would be used, the people who are involved more than protect their faces and hands, but a weapon like this would go right thru their clothes. Hence, the reason it was developed. However, once these people figure out that even the thinnest metal will render the weapon useless, then its effectiveness becomes a moot point... This is just my opinion, though.. :-)

After the test... (5, Funny)

teslatug (543527) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673383)

The operator was heard saying: "What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest. How do you feel?"

Reference "The Princess Bride?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673505)

I enjoy that movie!

Prototype, my ass. (2, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673385)

> I tested a table-top demonstration model, but here's how it works in the field.

No, the table-top demonstration model is the one that's intended for use in the field. For values of "field" ranging towards "dark basements in former Soviet bloc countries, to whom we've paid good money for plausible deniability".

Unless the "production" model is composed of an array of those table-top demonstration models (and to give Raytheon the benefit of the doubt, it might be), there are very few military applications to even try to scale the device down to "trade-show booth" form factor.

Either way, I'm glad I'm long Raytheon. From WW2-era radar stations, to the microwave oven, to new and emerging markets including crowd control and individual torture, manipulation of RF energy has been a consistent profit generator.

My congrats (4, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673397)

I would like to take a moment to applaud this new direction the US Army has taken as of late. Nothing restores my faith in American more quickly than a standing policy of systematically punishing every journalist within reach, with any and all exotic weaponry available.

bad writeup (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673399)

This article is about 15% facts and 85% speculation and opinions. Does anyone have an article a little more technical, and, well, news-ish? What is the power requirement? What sizes are available? Are there plans for private sale? I would rather carry a pocket-sized pain-gun than a little pepper sprayer.

Re:bad writeup (5, Insightful)

nehumanuscrede (624750) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673651)

No you wouldn't.

If these become commonplace the problem will snowball. Pain begets one of two things:

1) Compliance
2) Ultra-Violence

As a result, when hit with one of these things folks are either going to crawl up into
a ball and hope it goes away, or come out guns blazing to destroy the device causing the
pain to begin with. ( and likely the wielder with it )

If I were to attend a demonstration where it is known the police would likely use such
a device on the crowd I would either:

1) Re-consider my attendance

or

2) Setup similar devices to aim at the police or resort to current tech ( read that firearms )

You cannot use what would be considered an electronic torture device on me and expect me
to be ok with it. The operators of such a device would be the FIRST targets I went after.
Since it's unlikely the citizens would have similar tech in their hands for use, firearms will
put a stop to it just as quickly.

You have it coming (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673405)

you people out there in the army are probably going to get a visit shortly from Intergalactic Council for a piece of mind on compliance and galactic standards.

mark my words.

Re:You have it coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673509)

Ha ha ha.

Can this be reflected ? (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673409)

This is (apparently) electromagnetic radiation and presumably has the properties of other forms of ER. How difficult would it be to:
  • Build a faraday cage ? A tin foil hat would seem to be exactly the sort of thing - if worn all over
  • Reflected with a suitable mirror
  • Focussed and so raised in intensity - perhaps the most worrying

Bring one to University of Florida (2, Insightful)

SoyChemist (1015349) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673411)

These would be a great accessory for a John Kerry speech.

Re:Bring one to University of Florida (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673579)

Hey, what if they put these up, and left them on, like a force-field, going across the front of the stage?

You would have an invisible barrier that is hard/painful to cross, but would normally be invisible.

Oh, what if you had a low-intensity version that you use in certain places to keep people from staying long, like in front of the mic or in a park?

Maybe you'd prefer (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673461)

A .45ACP slug in the stomach?

Re:Maybe you'd prefer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673623)

A .45ACP slug in the stomach?

Ballistics would demonstrate that a bullet was indeed fired into my gut, and that it came from a certain weapon.

This? The first time this is used against Americans (and everyone for the next block), the government will disavow having used it and blame mass hysteria and/or claim the "hippies" are making up stuff again.

I'll take the bullet to the gut, thanks. That way I'll at least have material proof that some cop wanted to play Rambo and fired shots through my apartment window.

Torture device (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673465)

Who wants to bet they're going to use this as a torture device? Unlike the Taser, this doesn't even provide an immobilization function, it just causes pain with no other obvious signs of harm.

Could be useful to the insurgents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673467)

Suppose you're a suicide bomber wanting to clear the guards away from the entrance to a military base. This could be just the ticket. Dope yourself up on pain medication (or cover yourself in tinfoil) and then rig a simple microwave emitter (at just the right pain frequency) to your car.

For most defensive purposes (e.g. guarding an embassy) other technologies (e.g. walls) are likely to be better but this pain ray some real potential as an offensive weapon for combatants who are desperate enough to disregard ethical considerations.

Dune? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673473)

dear god, someone tag this gom jabbar

Naivete? (5, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673497)

Perhaps the most alarming prospect is that such machines would make efficient torture instruments.

They are quick, clean, cheap, easy to use and, most importantly, leave no marks. What would happen if they fell into the hands of unscrupulous nations where torture is not unknown?

It seems to me that they were created in one.

Cancer anyone? (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673501)

So let me get this straight:

The beam has the ability to travel a half of a mile and still be effective, but only travels 1/64th of an inch below the surface of the skin? What happens when your standing 10 feet in front of this thing?

...Cannot cause visible permanent injury? (5, Insightful)

jamieswith (682838) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673517)

it says "it cannot, says Raytheon, cause visible, permanent injury."

That seems an awfully calculated thing to say... so that means they have found it to cause INVISIBLE permanent injury then?

Just in time! (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673525)

Now that every conceivable source of debt has been tapped by our citizens and the WTO riots are on the way, our overlords will now be able to efficiently silence the masses whining for workers rights, education, and infrastructure. The vast riches that the rich have accumulated can now be safely trickled down!

I agree with the knee-jerk reactions here. (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673535)

Of course this is a horrible development, one certainly destined to be used for torture and other heinous uses.

Make the military and police forces of the world stick with good ol' firearms! The more high-powered (and hollow-nosed or dum-dum'ed) the better! Let's keep that number of "open casket" ceremonies to a minimum. While we're at it, we should require all police weapons to have a "full automatic" setting (to keep pace with the military, of course).

I wonder if Westinghouse had to put up with this sort of &*%)(* from Edison? After all, DC (as Edison clearly demonstrated) was non-lethal, whereas AC is decidedly lethal! Think of all the poor, innocent men who will be executed because the governments of the world have access to such technology as Alternating Current.

Nope. I don't see a problem here. The boys at Gitmo have already figured out how to run AC from the wall socket to a man's, er, sockets for pain with minimal residual injury - and we haven't even mentioned drugs yet. I just don't see this being the new Marquis De Sade's favorite toy - not enough blistering and bruising for any visual appeal.

Re:I agree with the knee-jerk reactions here. (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673685)

Brrr. why do you think DC is non lethal, it is not a question of DC and AC but a question of how many miliampere you push over the heart, the borderline to my knowledge is around 5mA and you have a very high chance of seeing a casket from inside. The Edison DC vs. Tesla AC quarrel was along the lines that Edison wanted to get a load of patent royalities, while Teslas argument was, that AC was simpler to produce.

"Your agonizer, please."--Spock (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673557)

Score another prediction for science fiction.

The quote is from the "Star Trek" episode "Mirror, Mirror."

Any predictions on how long before somebody builds an agony booth?

"The agony booth is a most effective means of discipline."--Spock

Gom Jabbar (1)

mandos (8379) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673559)

Link. [wikipedia.org]

Microwave ovens (2, Informative)

Cobalt Jacket (611660) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673583)

Coincidentally, it was Raytheon who invented the microwave oven. They sold commercial products under the Amana brand.

Yay! (1)

localman (111171) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673649)

Now we can torture people [physicians...rights.org] without the inconvenience of a trial [washingtonpost.com] and they won't be able to prove a thing.

I suppose waterboarding [wikipedia.org] , while generally safe, is too much a risk in this era of bleeding heart snoops. You know, the ones that would claim we can't do whatever we want to whomever we want whenever we want.

Oh the pride of being an American under the Bush administration.

Cheers.

Pain Stick (1)

DanMelks (1108493) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673655)

Does anyone remember the pain/torture stick from Stargate?

This is probably one of the next incarcerations of this device, for use by prison guards and Gitmo/Garden Plot types.

The Real Question: (1)

SMacD (1140995) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673663)

Will my tinfoil hat protect me?

Crowd Control (4, Informative)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673667)

The problem with these things is they start out as a "less lethal" way of dealing with things... They'll say this is better than bombing the area or whatever... but then, they start to use them for other purposes. Like the taser - it was supposed to be used instead of a gun when cops felt threatened - thereby saving lives. Instead it's being used in circumstances when a gun would NEVER be used - like to shut up a mouthy unarmed student in a library.

Same with this... they'll say its a less lethal way of incapacitating enemy troops, or maybe quelling a riot. But eventually since its "safe," they'll start using it on peaceful protests that got out of the "free speech zone" and dangerously close to coming within cable news camera range.

Three words. (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673671)

Corner cube reflectors.

Big ones.

(Okay, five words).

But a little PAIN has never HURT anyone, right? (5, Insightful)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 7 years ago | (#20673673)

And jokes aside, the risks are higher than just getting hurt a little.

1. 1/64th of an inch seems sufficient to cause serious and possibly permanent eye damage. This is an area-wide weapon, it is not selective about its targets or which body part it is targeting.

2. Exposure to extreme levels of pain (especially suddenly) can also lead to a seizure or heart attack. If the pain is extremely strong, it may incapacitate the target (ever hurt yourself so badly you can't do ANYTHING except perhaps scream?), meaning the people can't escape the target zone, exposing themselves to even more pain.

3. If the authorities decide to use the weapon against a crowd, it is natural to presume some have a higher pain tolerance then others, and if the weapons is used until all or the majority of the crowd is quelled, the weaker-tolerance people will be exposed to unnecessary (and with potential serious consequences) levels and duration of pain.

4. I'm not even going to the legal definitions of physical torture in and by itself...

I'm not saying it shouldn't be used under any circumstances whatsoever, but it seems that it should be classified as deadly or almost deadly force ("deadly" in most jurisdictions includes "capable of producing grievous bodily harm).

Even the story the other day about the use of a Taser (which is also an almost-deadly-force weapon, with documented fatalities) being used where the suspect posed absolutely no danger and could have been subdued without it). This device can lead to the same consequences of a Taser, but instead of being used on one person, it affects hundreds, with no way to observe the effects on each single person and adjust the device power accordingly.

Are there cases where use of this device is legitimate? Maybe, for example if you are rushed by an angry mob and you legitimately feel your life to be in danger if you don't take immediate action. But given our record for indiscriminate and excessive use of next-to-lethal force (rubber bullets, Tasers, etc.) against peaceful demonstrations, non-violent action, cases where safer alternatives are available, and with "just for kicks" being a legitimate reason, I certainly wouldn't bet on this device to be safe in the hands of those who use it. This device is NOT a valid substitute for a water cannon or tear gas, and if in a given situation you are not justified to use live firearms, you also shouldn't be justified to use something like this.

If (or, sadly speaking, when) it will be classified as a "safe, non-lethal" weapon (just as the Taser already has been) well, we will be one mile higher up Shit Creek.
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