The riot slimer would give police an alternative to tear gas and rubber bullets but has potential risks of its own.

(AP Photo/Nabil)

June 20, 2006 | Post Archive

Science fiction becoming reality makes weekly headlines these days -- just ask my RSS reader. But this time it’s not [another] new robot or personal gadget. The United States Marine Corps and the Southwestern Research Institute have teamed up to make a real-life slime shooter a la "Ghostbusters," though I seriously doubt this slime is likely to make anyone’s mood better, except maybe the mood of those watching from afar.

The new slime pack and gun will be used to control riotous crowds, bruising nothing but tailbones. Since other non-lethal weapons like stun guns have fallen short (read: caused fatalities), law enforcement and military personnel are still looking for new non-lethal weapons to control large masses of people.

Not unlike the Ghostbusters’ slime blower, the riot slimer consists of three tanks: one full of compressed air, one of water, and one of an acrylic polymer-based powder. The slime itself is too thick to spray, so the three tanks work together to make the concoction in midair. The compressed air powers the powder and water lines, giving the pack’s wearer the ability to quickly spray up to 25 feet away and halt a hostile crowd in its tracks.

The non-toxic slime is impossible to walk or drive on, which critics say could be a big problem. The potential for injuries and subsequent lawsuits could outweigh the benefits by far. The device will go through two rounds of testing before it’s implemented. And if it doesn’t pass, there are always recreational uses (read: world’s best slip n’ slide ever).