10 bits of tech to scare you witless

The future is full of remarkable things, and lots of them want to kill you

According to the ACLU, biometric identification could be used for "the mass tracking of individuals," turning us into "a kind of checkpoint society." If you thought plans for national ID cards were scary, it's time to dig out the tinfoil.

Tech to scare you witless
Iris scanning comes to the iPhone courtesy of AOptix's Stratus add-on - it's an iPhone case for cops

8. Brain erasers

We've seen them Men In Black and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and now they're coming to the real world: brain erasers that can remove bad, traumatic or politically awkward memories.

They aren't flashy gadgets or massive machines, however: they're chemical cocktails that target particular proteins, undoing the bonds that apparently make us remember specific things.

Good news? Maybe. "There are all kinds of dystopian things one could do with these drugs," neurologist Todd Sacktor told Wired. You're safe for now, though: brain erasers are currently limited to rats.

Tech to scare you witless
Brain erasing gadgets are already available on Amazon. Do they work? We can't remember

9. Little lasers

The problem with laser weapons is that they're enormous, and that limits their usefulness: you can hardly drive a battleship down a city street or fly 747s like fighter jets. Enter DARPA, whose research efforts include the Excalibur, a project to make laser weapons much, much smaller - small enough that they can fit in fighter aircraft, drones or small ground vehicles.

Such technology "will enable the practical use of high-power lasers on a broad spectrum of military platforms", with the ability to carry out "precision strikes against both ground and air targets."

Tech to scare you witless
DARPA's Excalibur aims to make lasers much, much smaller but no less deadly (image: DARPA)

10. Bioweapons

Bioweapons have been around since the days of poisoned darts, but today's variants are a lot more deadly. DNA sequencing and synthesis enable scientists to bring back long-dead viruses, such as the 1918 influenza virus recreated in 2004, and as Hillary Clinton put it: "A crude but effective terrorist weapon can be made using a small sample of any number of widely available pathogens, inexpensive equipment, and college-level chemistry and biology."

Tech to scare you witless
Bioweapons can be made by anyone with