Hold on to your tinfoil hats because there’s certainly a conspiracy theory a-brewin’ here. The Pentagon has confirmed it’s testing lasers that can talk. Huh? Weapons researchers at the U.S. Department of Defense have been working on less deadly means of warfare, including this laser weapon that can send brief messages — in the form of audible speech — across short distances — and through glass. The device is being developed as part of a military initiative, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate.
To make what seems like science fiction a reality, scientists use a phenomenon of physics called the laser-induced plasma formation. First, they fire a powerful laser that creates a ball of plasma. Then, a second laser works to oscillate the plasma, which then creates sound waves.
Done right, these laser bursts can mimic human language, chief scientist Dave Law tells Military Times, adding that the technology could be ready for battle in as few as 5 years.
A video shared by the news site features the weapon saying, “Stop or we’ll be forced to fire upon you.”
Scientists say these laser-grams will soon be able to beam hundreds of miles away, making it possible to send orders down from an aircraft or caution trespassers against entering military bases (looking at you, Area 51 raiders!) — all the while keeping service men and women out of harm’s way.
This isn’t the first time lasers had something to say. Researchers at MIT are developing a laser for public use that works by causing water molecules in the air to vibrate, producing sound. A beam would be sent close to a particular person’s ear, sending a message that would be imperceptible to others nearby.