As you know, if you like your weapons "less than lethal" (but much more than comfortable) the U.S. military is your go-to guy. So great is its love for tormenting folks on future battlefields that the Pentagon has spent a small fortune on devices meant to incapacitate through the use of sound, electricity, and microwaves -- including the Silent Guardian that Raytheon trotted out a while back. According to Wired, the company has recently been awarded a couple interesting contracts relating to their human microwave, including one for a "solid state source for use in non-lethal weapons," and another for gallium nitride development. Details are murky, but GaN -- a semiconductor for missile defense radars -- apparently "looks very promising for high-power microwave amplification," allowing the company to greatly reduce the size and cost of the device. The good news? Defense technology that once took up a whole shipping container and cost several million dollars might be getting much smaller, and cheaper, in the future. The bad news? It really really really hurts.

Engadget HD Podcast 131 - 04.08.2009