Crime fighters may soon be adding another tool to their arsenal - one that is literally designed to strike fear into the hearts of evildoers. With an integrated taser, video camera and protective forearm armor, the BodyGuard is a stun device that wouldn't be out of place on the forearm of a certain caped crusader in Gotham City. BodyGuard has already been used in Mock Prison Riots in West Virginia and is headed to real world city streets with testing and evaluation of the device due to commence in Los Angeles later this year.

Prompted by a number of cougar attacks on one of his favorite hiking trails in Orange County, Dave Brown set about developing a device to protect himself from animal attacks that could be worn while riding a bike. He hit upon the idea of a hands-free stun device and quickly recognized the potential for such a non-lethal device in the area of law enforcement.

The result is the BodyGuard, which houses its various components under a high-impact plastic shell attached to a forearm sleeve and glove. The current BodyGuard 9X1-HD01 prototype features two taser spikes mounted near the wrist that are designed primarily to act as a deterrent by sparking loudly and sending an arc of electricity between them to intimidate suspects. The spikes are activated by pulling a safety pin and pressing a button embedded into the palm of the BodyGuard glove.

An LED flashlight and a green laser target that lets the suspect know they are being recorded by the BodyGuard's 720p HD video camera are also designed to help keep any confrontations from escalating. But if things do get out of hand, the wearer can deliver a non-lethal jolt of electricity to temporarily incapacitate the suspect by touching them with the wrist-mounted electrodes.

Brown has also designed the BodyGuard to be modular to allow for the addition of a other equipment, such as GPS, radio communications, live video transmitter/receiver, biometric readers, automated license plate readers, chemical sensors, or a heart rate monitor to send out an alert for an officer in distress.

The device might share its name with a well-known movie, but the links to star Kevin Costner don't end there. Through his background as a motion picture operator, Brown has been able to enlist the support of Costner, who he counts as a friend and is one of the backers of Brown's company, ArmStar.

While the first pre-production run of BodyGuards are set to undergo evaluation with the Los Angeles sheriff's department later this year, Brown says the device has also attracted the attention of the Department of Defense, which is looking at how the BodyGuard could be used by soldiers in the field. Brown might also want to consider the burgeoning real-life superhero market.

Via Popular Science