Police to get “Lightsaber” style stun gun

HSV Technologies of San Diego, a developer of weapons for police officers and military personnel, just introduced a prototype of a weapon that shoots (two ultraviolet) laser beams (that create an ionized path through which electrical impulses are sent) to stop criminals in their tracks.
Known either as the “Anti-Personnel Beam Weapon” or “Non-Lethal Tetanizing Beam Weapon,” it releases two ultraviolet laser beams with a wavelength of 193 to 248 nanometers that paralyzes the skeletal muscles of people and animals up to 2 kilometers away.

HSV Technologies of San Diego, a developer of weapons for police officers and military personnel, just introduced a prototype of a weapon that shoots (two ultraviolet) laser beams (that create an ionized path through which electrical impulses are sent) to stop criminals in their tracks.
Known either as the “Anti-Personnel Beam Weapon” or “Non-Lethal Tetanizing Beam Weapon,” it releases two ultraviolet laser beams with a wavelength of 193 to 248 nanometers that paralyzes the skeletal muscles of people and animals up to 2 kilometers away.

The laser beams, which create a voltage of 10 milliampere and are effective within a few milliseconds after they charge, are strong enough to penetrate clothing but too weak to damage the skin or to be lethal, according to Eric Herr, vice president of HSV Technologies.

Herr says the device has yet to be tested on animals or people, but it is a safer and more efficient way to stop criminals than handguns or “Taser” guns — which release physically painful darts that can only travel to 20 feet.

“They (law enforcement officials) haven’t used our device yet, but they may remember the Rodney King episode,” Herr said. “He was struck repeatedly with darts that didn’t subdue him. Because the Taser causes painful shots … for some people that angers them. Our device produces no shock at all, it just immobilizes the person in whatever position they may be in.”

Still, the device has its side effects. A suspect’s eyes could become irritated if the beams are concentrated on the face for a few minutes.

The device is hefty in both size and price tag. Herr expects initial units to fetch $35,000. Law enforcement officials, and perhaps criminals interested in torturing their victims, would probably opt for cheaper handguns.

“There really isn’t anything out there, other than a baton and pepper spray, that can halt a dangerous suspect without doing him or anyone else harm,” Herr said. “There is a huge market for this because there are no alternatives to shooting the person in many cases.”

“It’s a lot better to be simply frozen in position than shot full of holes.”

HSV Technologies Home Page

Author: Elisa Batista

News Service: Wired News

URL: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,40494,00.html