The new “Active Denial System” shoots electronic waves at people, instantly heating their skin to a temperature of 54C.
When the ray is fired, the targeted people are subjected to the feeling of standing in front of an open fire and instinctively run away, the Globe and Mail reports.
The high-energy system has been calibrated at a frequency that penetrates about 4mm into the skin — a depth that researchers say will shock people without injuring them.
It was unveiled by the US military this week after it was tested on thousands of willing participants.
The ray, which has been in development for 15 years, can reach distances equal to seven football fields.
It is now ready for action and is predicted to be used for crowd control and perimeter security.
The military has not commented on whether the device could be altered so that it could burn crowds en masse or whether heating a crowd may incite mass panic.