It looks like a big flashlight — but it's really a nonlethal weapon designed to make you sick.
Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc., of Torrance, Calif., has been granted a contract by the Department of Homeland Security to develop what it calls the "LED Incapacitator," according to a DHS online newsletter.
The handheld device using light-emitting diodes to emit super-bright pulses of light at rapidly changing wavelengths, causing disorientation, nausea and even vomiting in whomever it's pointed at.
"There's one wavelength that gets everybody," says IOS President Bob Lieberman. "Vlad [IOS top scientist Vladimir Rubtsov] calls it 'the evil color.'"
Phase 1 of the contract — creating a working prototype — has already been completed, and Phase 2 will begin this fall as researchers at Penn State's Institute of Nonlethal Defense Technology put the puke-saber through its paces.
"Phase 3 will be our shrink phase," Lieberman said, admitting that the prototype, 15 inches long with a 4-inch lens, is too large and heavy to be comfortably carried on a belt.
DHS hopes to equip police, Border Patrol agents and National Guardsmen with the barf-beamers by 2010.