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Noise-making lasers that will one day allow sounds to be beamed across distances of hundreds of miles have taken a leap forward, as experts have gotten them to talk.
In recently-completed tests, military researchers demonstrated that the lasers — which create and then vibrate a plasma in the air — can produce coherent speech.
Phrases - Tech - Grenades - Transmit - Orders
Alongside saying such phrases as 'stop or we will be forced to fire upon you', the tech could also be used to replace flashbang grenades and transmit orders.
The lasers can even be used to create a to heating a target's skin — without burning them — to act as a more aggressive but still non-lethal deterrent.
'Laser - Induced - Plasma - Effect - Program
The so-called 'Laser Induced Plasma Effect' program is part of a US Department of Defense effort to develop new methods to ward off, stun or generally stop the actions of target individuals without killing them.
US military researchers completed their latest round of tests in June, during which they both fine-tuned the process by which sounds are beamed down the laser and developed algorithms that can replicate speech in the correct wavelengths.
Ability - Laser - Distance - Device - Sounds
Compared to nailing down the ability to make the laser 'talk', increasing the distance over which the device can project sounds will be relatively simple, Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate chief scientist David Law told the Military Times.
Researchers are confident that the laser will soon be able to cross distances of around 330 feet (100 metres) and then eventually on to distances of multiple or even hundreds of miles.
Range - Users - Crowds - Intruders - Perimeter
This range would allow users to communicate with distant crowds, warn intruders away from a military perimeter or even beam orders to the ground from an aircraft.
A military-ready version of the laser may be ready for field deployment in as little as five years, Mr Law reportedly predicts.
Plasma - Target - Modulate
'Put plasma at a target, modulate...
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