Military develops a Star Trek-like phaser

December 1, 2005

First comic strip hero Dick Tracy's wrist radio moved from science fiction to everyday fact and now Capt. Kirk's phaser is headed to the Air Force arsenal.

Air Force researchers say they've developed a non- lethal laser ray gun called the "PHaSR" -- for Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response. The intense laser beam produced by the rifle-sized weapon temporarily disorients its target.

"We picked the PHaSR name to help sell the program," program manager Capt. Thomas Wegner of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate at Kirkland Air Force Base in New Mexico told the New York Daily News. "It's an obvious homage to 'Star Trek.'"

In the famed original 1960s Star Trek television series, the crew of the starship Enterprise carried hand-held "phaser" weapons that could vaporize or stun an opponent.

But the 21st century version of the weapon is designed to only "dazzle" people with its intense laser beam.

Asked by the Daily News what Capt. James T. Kirk might have thought of the new weapon, Wegner replied: "He would think it's rather primitive. But for us, it's pretty high tech."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: A thin ribbon of flexible electronics can monitor health, infrastructure

Related Stories

Air Force scientists are working on hypersonic air vehicle

June 7, 2015

Engineers said the US Air Force is getting closer to testing a hypersonic weapon. They are developing a hypersonic weapon based on an experimental scramjet program. What is a scramjet? NASA said in a "scramjet," or Supersonic ...

Guns and Androids: Pakistan air force making iPads

February 20, 2012

(AP) -- Inside a high-security air force complex that builds jet fighters and weapons systems, Pakistan's military is working on the latest addition to its sprawling commercial empire: a homegrown version of the iPad.

New generation GPS satellite starts tests in Colo.

December 13, 2011

A $5.5 billion upgrade to the Global Positioning System moved a step closer to launch this week when a prototype arrived at a Lockheed Martin complex in Colorado to begin months of tests.

Recommended for you

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.