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Boeing Tests X-Box-Controlled Laser Cannon

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Well apparently Boeing had had just about enough of people “flying their drones where they shouldn’t” (to quote Wired) because the company has now developed a drone-killing laser cannon which it tested in New Mexico earlier this week. Here’s more from Wired:


The aerospace company’s new weapon system, which it publicly tested this week in a New Mexico industrial park, isn’t quite as cool as what you see in Star Wars—there’s no flying beams of light, no “pew! pew!” sound effects. But it is nonetheless a working laser cannon, and it will take your drone down.


People keep flying their drones where they shouldn’t. In airport flight paths. Above wildfires. Onto the White House lawn. Luckily, there haven’t been any really bad incidents—that is, no one has been killed by a civilian quadcopter or plane, yet.


But governments and militaries around the world are terrified by the prospect of drones carrying explosives or chemical weapons (and now, pornography) into places where they shouldn’t.


There are lots of theories on the best way to deal with the drone threat. An Idaho company has developed special anti-drone shotgun shells. Some agencies are working on jamming technology to block communication from the operator to the aircraft. Firefighters in New York kept it simple, aiming their hose at a pesky drone hovering near a house fire.


Forget all that. Boeing thinks the best way to kill a drone is to zap it with a precision laser, burn a hole in it, and bring it down. So it created a weapon system to do just that—and the result could someday be installed everywhere from LaGuardia to the Pentagon.

But as Wired goes on to note, Boeing appears to have taken all the fun out of the whole idea of a "laser cannon": 


No explosions, no visible beam. It’s more like burning ants with a really, really expensive magnifying glass than obliterating Alderaan.

Ok, so that doesn't sound very exciting, is there anything fun about this thing? 


The laser is controlled with a standard Xbox 360 controller (“If it breaks, just head to the barracks to get a replacement!”) and a laptop with custom targeting software. 


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Sounds a lot like 2000 when you couldn't sell a PS2 game system to certain countries because it could theoretically be used as a missile control device.

-Arnie L


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