The Modern World's Strangest Weapons – From Pain Rays To Tractor Beams

Plenty of these are still in development, and several are utterly bonkers. rogistock/Shutterstock

3 – The Blinding Laser

Although weapons that blind people are outlawed by the Geneva Convention, the US Military’s Long Range Ocular Interruption Laser is designed to temporarily incapacitate targets up to 3 kilometers (about 1.9 miles) away.

Acting a bit like a concentrated flash grenade, this handheld or weapon-mounted device – which is currently in development – is likely to deter snipers or approaching hostile forces, allowing friendly forces to move past without making much of a fuss.

4 – The Crowd Taser

Although it doesn’t really have a proper name yet, this type of technology – currently being looked into by the Department of Defense (DoD) – emits waves of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation in small, nanosecond bursts. Not enough to do serious, long-term damage, but sufficient to cause involuntary muscle spasms in crowds, which would presumably stop their unwanted advance.

5 – The Tractor Beam

As you’ve probably realized by now, the DoD has an entire platform for testing out incapacitating weaponry. Named the “Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate”, it appears that a document summarizing the latest developments in the field was leaked not too long ago, and there’s some really weird stuff on there.

One, named the Laser Based Flow Modification device, is entirely conceptual right now. It aims to fire laser pulses at the leading edge of another plane’s airfoil, in order to alter the drag and lift forces. This would allow the firing plane to essentially steer the other one however it liked – a tractor beam, of sorts.

The practicalities of this remain unfeasible for the time being, so don’t expect to see this in operation any time soon.

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