A ray gun which can deliver a bout of excruciating pain to rioters from a distance of over two kilometres is being developed in the US.
Although the gun is meant to leave the victims unharmed, pain researchers claim their work to limit and control pain has been hijacked to create a weapon.
Pulsed Energy Projectiles (PEPs) fire a laser pulse that generates a burst of expanding plasma when it comes into contact with the body. It is believed that the effect results from an electromagnetic pulse produced by the expanding plasma that triggers impulses in the nerve cells. Experiments will seek to identify how much pain can be inflicted before the subject is injured or killed.
Although it won’t be ready until 2007, the weapon could be used to knock rioters clean off their feet.
John Wood, of University College London, believes that the researchers should be condemned by the scientific community. He said: “It could be used for torture. The researchers must be aware of this.”