The Pain Ray (aka the Heat Ray) is Pentagon’s Active Denial System - a non-lethal weapon designed to disperse violent crowds and repel enemies without permanent injury.
The device turns electricity into invisible millimeter-wave radio frequency beam sending out 95GHz of focused heat waves to a distance of up to 2,500 feet. It then penetrates and heats up the top layer of the skin at about 3 sheets of paper worth of depth (1/64th of an inch or 0.4 mm) prompting people into near instant instinctive flight.
The US military says that its non-lethal weapon has been tested more than 11,000 times on around 700 volunteers and the chance of injury from the system is 0.1% or 1 in 1,000.
The project still has a number of issues to overcome: It takes 16 hours to boot up and once “On” the amount of energy it consumes makes even the best gas guzzlers blush from shame. More notably, the Pain Ray doesn’t work if it is raining, snowing or dusty. Still, as testified by Spencer Ackerman’s Wired Magazine video report below, under ideal testing conditions the Pain Ray certainly earns its name.
- I Got Blasted By the Pentagon’s Pain Ray – Twice – Wired News (wired.com)
- US army heat ray gun in Afghanistan (BBC News)