The US Marines are developing a new laser weapon that can transmit voice messages at long range, or be turned up to deafen, dazzle or even kill.
The Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS) will be mounted on a truck or tank.
It will initially be used as a non-lethal weapon for crowd control, according to US Government documents.
The aim of the project is to 'Develop a lightweight and energy efficient next-generation Ultra-Short Pulse Laser (USPL) system that can produce sustainable and controllable plasma at range capable of inducing a full spectrum of scalable non-lethal effects.'
The weapon works using an igniter laser, that fires an intense short pulse powerful enough to create a ball of plasma.
This can be created in mid-air, or on the surface of a target.
A stronger detonator laser then explodes the plasma ball, which can be used to create 'enhanced non-lethal effects such as flash bang effects, thermal ablation for pain, and delivery of intelligible voice commands at range' according to military documents.
However, the weapon could also eventually be used to kill.