Just in time for new conflicts in the Middle East, the Pentagon has unveiled a new non-lethal weapon that would be excellent for crowd control. It sends an electromagnetic energy beam that quickly heats up the surface of the skinand inflicts pain that is similar to touching a hot light bulb. The new weapon can be mounted on top of a military jeep or Humvee.

“It’s the kind of pain you would feel if you were being burned,” says Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. “It’s just not intense enough to cause anydamage.”

“This revolutionary force-protection technology gives U.S. service members an alternative to using deadly force,” said Marine Corps Colonel George F. Fenton.

William Arkin of Human Rights Watch is concerned about injury to civilians. “What about children in the crowd? What about pregnant women and the elderly?” he said. “We have developed a nonlethal weapon which causes pain. What happens when someone continues to walk towards the source of the high-power microwave? What happens when panic ensues in a crowd as a result of high-power microwave? What happens when it’s focused on someone’s eye?”

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