Los Angeles police have introduced a new tool to help control unruly inmates: a device that creates a burning sensation when its millimeter-sized waves hit their target.
"You know when they set their phasers to stun, they did that so they didn't kill people? Well, that's exactly what this is. It does stun you," Mike Booen, a vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems (which designed the device) told NPR.
"It penetrates about a 64th of an inch under your skin," Booen explained. "That's about where your pain receptacles are. So it's what it would feel like if you just opened up the doors of a blast furnace. You feel this wave of heat immediately."
From a secure location, officers can halt dangerous riots by simply using the device's Atari-like joystick, making the less-than-lethal device popular so far. And while this "zapper" may seem like something out of a sci-fi movie, the LA device is only a scaled down version of one the company built for the military (see video below).
The ACLU isn't happy. "We're going to use people in the jails as guinea pigs for some mega arms builder to test their device," ACLU attorney Peter Eliasberg says.