An Active Denial System (called "Assault Intervention System" in the article) being tested in California correctional facility.
The "Assault Intervention System" (AIS) developed by the Raytheon Co., could give the Sheriff's Department "another tool" to quell disturbances at a 65-inmate dormitory at the Pitchess Detention Center's North County Correctional Facility, said Cmdr. Bob Osborne, head of the technology exploration branch of the sheriff's Department of Homeland Security Division.
AIS fires a directed beam of invisible "millimeter waves" that cause an unbearable burning sensation by penetrating 1/64 of an inch into the skin, where pain receptors are located, said Mike Booen, Raytheon's vice president of advanced security and directed energy systems.
The beam, which is about the diameter of a compact disc, causes an instant and intolerable burning sensation when it touches skin, but the sensation stops instantly when the device is turned off or the target moves out of the beam.
Similar devices have already been sold to the U.S. military, however the machine demonstrated Friday is the first to be placed in an American correctional institution, sheriff's officials said.
It is being installed as a test case at no cost to the Sheriff's Department, as part of a program through the National Institute of Justice, officials said.
"Millimeter wave" devices have been tested on more than 10,000 subjects so far and has been shown to cause no lasting injuries, Booen said.
The unit at the Pitchess Detention Center has a range of 80 to 100 feet, which is more than enough for the dormitory space it's to be used in.
When asked if the public can expect to see similar AIS devices mounted on patrol cars in the future or attached to deputies' utility belts, Osborne said, "not in my lifetime."
But Booen said his company is working on much smaller versions of the AIS. Progress on that research is a closely held secret, he added.
"That's our vision," said Booen. "We want to get to the point where it is a hand-held device."Read more at www.pasadenastarnews.com