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Stun gun manufacturer TASER has introduced the Taser Shockwave, a weapon that promises to "drop everyone in a given area to the ground".

The new weapon is significantly different from the Tasers currently used by police in that it has six different electrified charges and is designed to target crowds rather than individuals.  The cartridges are tethered by 25-foot wires, which can be fired from a distance of up to 300 feet in a 20-degree arc. The "probes" on the end of the cartridges can pierce through clothing and skin, emitting 50,000 volts of electricity in the process.

"Full area coverage is provided to instantaneously incapacitate multiple personnel within that region" Taser explains.

"Multiple Shockwave units can be stacked together (like building blocks) either horizontally or vertically in order to extend area coverage or vertically to allow for multiple salvo engagements." The product description states.

The weapons can also be vehicle mounted or "daisy chained" according to Taser. Clearly it is anticipated that these things will be used on sizable crowds, meaning an increased likelihood of indiscriminate targeting.

Here’s a presentation on the Shockwave from Taser.

The Shockwave isn’t the only new development on Taser’s books either. The Extended-Range Electronic Projectile (XREP) is touted as the first electric shock weapon that can be fired from a normal gun, in this case a 12-gauge shotgun. It delivers a 20-second shock, compared with the default setting five-second shock of a traditional taser X26.

"To maximize incapacitation, the XREP engine incorporates a microprocessor controlled optimal electrode selection technology. Twenty times per second, the XREP engine checks for the optimal electrode connection to maximize the contact spread and achieve greatest incapacitation." Taser states.

Watch a demonstration:

Both the Taser Shockwave and the XREP are scheduled to go into full production by the end of this year.

Taser has been the subject of controversy and outrage. One year ago the UN’s Committee Against Torture issued a statement on the TaserX26, which read: "The use of TaserX26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constituted a form of torture, and that in certain cases it could also cause death, as shown by several reliable studies and by certain cases that had happened after practical use."

Originally posted to hgwusew on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 08:52 AM PST.

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