The Phaser

So, I said we would be discussing Star Trek technology a little bit. The first technological piece we will discuss is the Phaser.

The phaser in the Star Trek universe is a device that utilizes a directed energy beam that can stun or kill a target. They have also been known to be utilized as somewhat practical tools by melting walls and doors that have been locked. They range in size from a hand held pistol to rifles to mounted weapons utilized on shuttle craft, or for that matter, an galaxy size ship.

In 2005, MSNBC released an article highlighting the Air Force’s creation: thePersonal Halting and Stimulation Response).

(Its too bad Gene Roddenberry didn’t have the term Phaser trademarked, unlike his Star

U.S. Air Force

Wars rival George Lucas who trademarked the term Droid. And yes, the creators of the Droid phone have to license the term!)

Now, the Phaser and the PHaSER have a share a few similarities:

1. They both utilize direct energy beams
2. They can both be utilized as non-leathal weapons
3. And in a way they can both stun their targets

But the similarities end there. The PHaSER uses its directed energy beam to temporarily blind their targets, instead of knocking them unconscious. The Air ForceĀ refers to this momentary blindness as ‘dazzling’ the individual. And in away, it stuns them, deterring them from their original intent.

Now your probably thinking to yourself, well the Taser kind of does the same thing. It stuns its target without actually causing death. It is a non-violent weapon. However, the PhaSer is the first weapon that utilizes non-lethal force without having an intermediary source that connects from the ‘gun’ to the target.

The whole idea of utilizing non-lethal weapons has Star Trek written all over it as well. The ‘more evolved’ terrans of the Star Trek universe believe in preserving life as opposed to destroying it, and it usually takes a lot of provocation to kill another living being. The PHaSER is an extension of this principle in our own w

Even though we aren’t entirely there yet, it seems like there is the potential to have actual phasers that allow users to switch between lethal and non-lethal settings, depending on the situation. The military is working in this direction, and the ideas are floating out there, but like many other things, finances are holding up the actual development.


About jenniferscottbrown

Doctoral student, children's librarian, wife to the most supporting and loving man, and Mom to the most wonderful, curious, food-loving little boy.
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