I can't decide if these weapons make the future of warfare look more or less sinister. Many of these weapons offer nonlethal solutions to subduing the enemy. However, I want to be on whichever side has the remote-controlled robot machine gunner.
Or the Laser Avenger, a cannon that can take down a sky-borne aircraft. Uh... yikes.
"The Active Denial System fires a beam of millimeter-wave radiation. It make people feel like their skin is burning without causing any permanent damage. Though promising as a nonlethal weapon, the pain ray has some serious limits."
"If troops spot someone suspicious approaching them, they can use the Long Range Acoustic Device to send a warning message. It fires narrow beams of sound waves that can be heard clearly from 300 meters (about a thousand feet) away. Crank up the power, and it can emit a warning tone so loud that anyone in its path would have no choice but to cover their ears and run."
"Remotely operated weapons are showing up everywhere. Israel is building an automated kill zone. An American firm, More Industries, offers a turret that can aim and fire two automatic shotguns. Some bots have been defusing bombs for years, but none have seen combat. That's a shame, according to Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, who believes that 122 men could have been spared if combat bots had been working in their stead."
"Flash bang grenades have a pretty bad safety record. The little bombs have dismembered at least one soldier and caused hearing loss in others. To remedy that problem, Mark Grubelich and his colleagues at Sandia National Laboratory built the Improved Flash Bang Grenade. It hurls flaming aluminum particles into the air, causing a bright flash without an accompanying shockwave."
"Even the angriest mobs would probably think twice about trying to pass a Taser Shockwave barrier. It is the less-lethal equivalent of a claymore mine. Push the big red button, and it will fire 24 electrified probes at the same time in a single direction."
"Behold the Laser Avenger, a cannon that could be used to take down incoming aircraft. Boeing was able to shoot a drone out of the sky with the hummer-mounted laser, even though it's not particularly high-powered. It cooked the remote-controlled aircraft using a somewhat feeble 1-kilowatt beam."
Previously featured in Wonderment: the DIY Vomit Inducing Flashlight. "After learning about an experimental weapon that can make people feel seasick, Limor Fried and Phil Torrone decided to build their own. They did it for less than $250, and wrote step-by-step instructions so that anyone can make one at home."