The U.S. Homeland Security Department may arm federal agents with a light-saber-type weapon that emits a dazzling strobe capable of subduing criminals, terrorists, and unruly airline passengers, reports USA Today. This non-lethal weapon is a powerful beam of light that temporarily blinds anyone who looks into it. “The light could be used to make a bad guy turn away or shut his eyes, giving authorities enough time to tackle the suspect and apply the cuffs, all while sparing the lives of passersby, hostages or airline passengers,” says Homeland Security’s science and technology division.
Homeland Security has invested $1 million for testing of the LED (light-emitting diode) Incapacitator. It is being developed by a Torrance, Ca., company, Intelligent Optical Systems, and it will be tested on volunteers at Pennsylvania State University’s Institute of Non-Lethal Defense Technologies this fall. Homeland Security says it “could be in the hands of thousands of policemen, border agents, and National Guardsmen” by 2010. Kirwin says it also would be used by air marshals, border patrol agents, other officers with the Transportation Security Administration and customs officers.