That’s because of an imposing device the U.S. military calls the Active Denial System. It’s an energy weapon, commonly known as the “Pain Ray,” that turns electricity into millimeter wave radio frequency. And heat. Lots of heat.
The military wants it to burn suspicious people who might pose a threat to a base. Yet the Active Denial System has never fired a millimeter wave in anger, despite 15 years in development. On a crisp Friday afternoon, however, the military wants the Active Denial System to burn a different target. Me.
A field-grade officer on a grassy, calm field on the Marine base here beckons me to stand between four cones, on a spray-painted orange X. I am advised to jump sideways when the heat becomes unbearable. Whatever, I think, this isn’t really going to burn me.
Especially because I can’t see the Pain Ray, even though it’s mounted on two big, goofy looking trucks. One model is a tricked-out green Humvee topped with a huge, flat backboard and a gun barrel; the other is much bigger, mounted on an eight-wheeled flatbed truck. Their handlers call the smaller one Ralph and the bigger one Pete. But since Ralph and Pete are seven football fields away – far beyond the reach of every other non-lethal weapon – they don’t seem threatening.
This turns out to be pure journalistic arrogance.
CONTINUED at Gizmodo.