The US may be on the cusp of developing a new tactic to fight ISIS: Not shooting at them with bullets, but instead essentially shouting "BOO!", to surprise them.
Defense One reports that a weapon known as the Laser Induced Plasma Effect (LIPE), which can generate a targeted noise up to 130 decibels, is going into testing in the next few months.
The way it works is by using lasers to fire extremely short bursts of energy at a target (we're literally talking nano-seconds). Defense One explains... "The energy, relatively harmless at the LIPE levels, separates electrons and nuclei at the target area to create a blue ball of plasma. Additional pulses of directed laser energy manipulate the ball to make a noise that seems to come from nowhere."
The idea is that it will then scare off the bad guys, without having to kill anyone.
Apparently so far the technology has been demonstrated at short range in the lab - and that going to a full trial will cost about $3m. The scientists behind it still want to increase the loudness up to around 130dB with current volumes hitting only between 90 and 100dB. Apparently this is like comparing a lawnmower to a fighter jet.
As Defense One notes, the technology on paper at least isn't a particularly new idea with the idea of pulse weapons like this being common in sci-fi films and videogames for years (the image above is from Minority Report. [Defense One]