A Russian weapons company is hot on the trail of the ultimate super-soaker: a portable water cannon that has enough force to lift you off your feet. Special Materials Ltd, a St Petersburg company, is researching the idea of a "non-lethal weapon based on electro-hydrodynamical effect," which is basically a short, sharp electric shock hidden in a jet of water. The resulting blow, however, is more sack of rice than baseball bat, meaning that the chance of serious injury is more remote. Well, that's what they say.Special Materials' (what a great name for a weapons company) first prototype fired a half-ounce blast of water at 200 feet per second, which left a spot diameter of about twelve inches on a target 12 feet away. The eventual aim is to create a weapon that can fire a jet of between two and seven pounds of water, contains kinetic energy of up to 100 Joules and can stop someone around 17 feet away.
When fully developed, the electro-hydrodynamical weapon is expected to be available as a fixed unit as well as a portable one—after all, what could be cheaper and easier than plugging the nasty super-soaker into both electrical and water supplies? [Wired]