Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box


March 14, 2012

Call that a heat ray?

Posted by : Michael Lund

IT takes an Australian media report to make the US military's new heat ray a lot more powerful than intended.

ninemsn's report Military 'heat ray' to disperse rioting crowds (Wednesday 14 March 2012) says the heat ray has the power to disperse riotous crowds.

It does so by "instantly heating their skin to a temperature of 54C".

US Heat Ray Crowd

Crowd disperses when hit by the heat ray. Source: USFORCESTV

Ouch!

The high-energy system has been calibrated at a frequency that penetrates about 4mm into the skin - a depth that researchers say will shock people without injuring them. - ninemsn

That's pretty deep into the skin.

To be fair to ninemsn it sources the report to an article in Canada's Globe and Mail but the only one there I could find was U.S. military unveils heat ray weapon: 'You're gonna feel it' (Tuesday 13 March 2012).

That report make no specific reference to any depth the heat ray would penetrate the skin.

This was the best line I could find:

Unlike microwave in household ovens, which penetrate deeply, heating from within, the beam in the "active denial system" is of a frequency that is absorbed at the surface of the skin. So there's an unbearable feeling of intense heat but no real danger. - Globe and Mail

Other media have picked up on the heat ray story including Britain's Daily Mail in U.S. military unveil latest weapon ... a ray beam that makes the enemy feel 'quite hot' (Monday 11 March 2012).

In this report it says the heat ray would penetrate "1/64th of an inch (0.4 millimeter)" of the skin.

That's one tenth the penetration of the ninemsn report.

The smaller figure is also confirmed by Marine Colonel Tracy Tafolla in the USFORCESTV YouTube video that demonstrates the heat ray on willing volunteers, including some military personnel.

"It only penetrates one 64th of an inch of your skin - it goes very shallow, into where your nerve receptors are and there's no permanent injury caused by it." - Marine Colonel Tracy Tafolla.

Looks to me then that ninemsn has turned the US military's heat ray into a death ray. Anyone thinking War of the Worlds?


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All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.

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