Law enforcement around the world has utilized non-lethal (or sometimes less-lethal) weaponry for a long time.
Pepper spray, plastic ammunition, even electromagnetic radiation dishes, which, by the way, "penetrates 1/64 inch into the skin and produces an intense burning sensation that stops when the transmitter is switched off or when the individual moves out of the beam" according to globalsecurity.org.
Well, the last one may sound inhumane, but they also claim that you'd need to spend 250 seconds under "fire" to experience any actual burning (though, apparently, we cannot say the same for our cornea, which is much thinner and sensitive than skin).
Specifications of the "parachute taser"
Going back to the topic, another popular and relatively recent method of non-lethal immobilization force is the taser technology. While arguably effective, the main disadvantage of the taser is its range. Our friends at the US Marine Corps took note of this and are testing a novel long-range human electro-muscular incapacitation device, the device will likely pass Phase 1 in July.
SPECTER, which stands for Small arms Pulsed Electronic Tetanization at Extended Range, is being developed by Harkind Dynamics. The device can be fired from any 12-gauge-shotgun and has a range of about 330 feet (100 meters) whereas a typical taser gun sports a 25 feet (7.6 meters). Owing to its gauge, the projectile will have "aerodynamic stability, flatter trajectory, and better accuracy" when compared to larger gauged munitions such as 40 mm.
To reduce the risk of blunt trauma the company utilized a miniature parachute that will deploy just before impact, the company tells that the parachute will halve the speed of the device.
When in 3-foot proximity (1 meter) of the target, the device deploys three electrodes. Which will be sharp enough to penetrate clothing and re-shock the target if the target persists to move.
Debates around its safety
Of course, debates around non-lethal weaponry are rampant in today's climate as more and more cases of misuse grab people's attention. A spokesperson for Omega Research Foundation remarked "If the parachute did not deploy, then you have the danger of direct impact with blunt trauma and possible penetration".