What we need is that someone actually tests the concept (as a whole), only then can we be sure. We've only got "circumstantial evidence" so far.
> of course the fact that it is easy to foil a taser with relatively common
> clothes protection is a problem as well.
Actually, tasers and stun guns are quite effective against even relatively heavily clothed targets (check out the Airtaser FAQ on their web page, http://www.airtaser.com, for example), so this shouldn't be a problem with UV tasers either.
> Too bad that the UV laser would
> require so much energy (thus increasing its destructive capability).
Perhaps, but let's not write the idea off before some actual testing.
> One idea for nonlethal weaponry that we haven't really touched on is the use
> of foams and other sticky type materials to coat an assailant. I think these
> weapons would work fairly well against an aggressor who had only melee
> weapons, but I do not know that it would be all that efficacious against an
> attacker with a gun in hand. Seems to me that even if you could coat the
> person and gun before they could shoot, it would be likely they could still
> pull the trigger and that a bullet would tear right through the stuff. Just
> thought I ought to include it for completeness's sake.
Foams are basically just too slow, messy, wind-sensitive and potentially dagerous (if you hit someone full in the face he could easily suffocate) to be of much use for nonlethal self-defense. Also the gun would probably be too big and heavy to carry around (you need a lot of foam, and hence a heavy highpressure canister).
Sonic weapons on the other hand might have more potential:
http://www.azstarnet.com/~freetht/us_news_070797_the_pentagon.htm There's some info about other nonlethal (military) projects too, like the Pulse Wave Myotron, "flu guns" & electromagnetic weapons]
"So-called acoustic or sonic weapons, like the ones in the aforementioned lab, can vibrate the insides of humans to stun them, nauseate them, or even "liquefy their bowels and reduce them to quivering diarrheic messes," according to a Pentagon briefing. Prototypes of such weapons were recently considered for tryout when U.S. troops intervened in Somalia. [...] Scientists are also trying to make a sonic cannon that throws a shock wave with enough force to knock down a man".