Technological reality continues to fulfill sci-fi dreams with the U.S. military’s latest invention of a non-lethal heat ray. The ray causes an instant invisible displeasure to which targets instinctually seek to flee. It is intended to be used for to disperse mobs, secure perimeters, and a range of other military uses.
“You’re not gonna see it, you’re not gonna hear it, you’re not gonna smell it: you’re gonna feel it,” said US Marine Colonel Tracy Taffola, who directs the Non Lethal Weapon department of the Marine Corps Base Quantico. After hitting so many thousands of people to experiment for it — cheerful volunteers — they’ve deemed it definitely non lethal.
“We have done over 11,000 exposures on people. In that time we’ve only had two injuries that require medical attention and in both cases injuries were fully recovered without complications.”
The “Active Denial System” (ADS) beam uses an electromagnetic beam, which has lead to misconceptions in its comparisons to microwaves, which are used for cooking meat. The 95 gigahertz beam uses a frequency that is “absorbed very superficially.” A microwave uses one gigahertz, which which penetrates much deeper. The ADS also has an automatic shut off after 3-seconds.
The beam as a range of 1000 meters, or about 0.6 miles. Though it was brought to Afghanistan in 2010, it was not used in operation. The Pentagon has not ordered any of the ADS systems yet, but is likely to, Taffola believes.