Lasers are extremely innovative and have contributed to a great variety of scientific disciplines. However, they haven’t been used as a weapon of mass destruction yet, other than in science fiction. Now a Chinese company has announced that it built the AK-47 laser, which it claims is capable of burning targets half a mile away in only one second.
The AK-47 laser is also known as the ZKZM-500, according to the South China Morning Post. The laser is about the same size as and looks very similar to an assault rifle. However, the key difference between the AK-47 laser and an assault rifle is the fact that the laser can fire hundreds of shots capable “instant carbonization” of human skin.
“The pain will be beyond endurance,” one of the researchers who built it said, according to the Post.
Nevertheless, there are some conflicts. Researchers are only describing the weapon right now, as their work hasn’t been demonstrated publicly yet. Additionally, their description sounds incompatible with the laws of physics.
As TechCrunch explained, lower power lasers are capable of damaging our eyes easily. On the other hand though, that same laser is probably incapable of popping a balloon. Damage to the eye occurs due to an “overload of light” on a light-sensitive medium, while damage to the human body occurs when the body is exposed to extremely high temperatures and heat.
If lithium-ion batteries are used to power the AK-47 laser for mass destruction, the weapon would be too heavy for a human to carry it. The Tesla Powerwall is capable of providing several kilowatts of power while also storing some kilowatt-hours of power. However, it’s important to note that it weighs more than 200 pounds, TechCrunch explains.
A document from a Chinese government website reportedly describes the ZKZM-500 as a “non-lethal weapon.” As such, the AK-47 laser is unlikely to kill its target, compared to a more explicitly designed weapon like a gun. The report further adds that while lasers aren’t capable of killing a target with one shot, rapid fire that lasts long enough would start to burn a hole in the target’s body, cutting through the person like a surgical knife.
Researchers from this field agree that it would be “inhumane to use more powerful weapons that could ‘carbonise’ a living person.” However, law enforcement could use it to bring an end to “illegal protests” by setting banners on fire from a long distance away. They could also use the laser on protest leaders by targeting their clothing or hair, which would mean they’d lose “the rhythms of their speech and powers of persuasion,” the report states
You would probably agree that the AK-47 laser looks like a weapon used in sci-fi movies like Star Wars. However, the development of such weapons could mean that they will fall into the wrong hands, which would mean that someone may exploit their destructive capacity.
What do you think? Should such weapons be used? Let us know in the comments.