High-tech handcuffs can shock, inject prisoners
By David Szondy
December 14, 2012
Today, handcuffs are just steel restraints. Tomorrow, however, they could be much more. According to U.S. Patent Application 20120298119, Scottsdale Inventions, LLC of Paradise Valley, Arizona has invented a pair of high-tech handcuffs that could deliver electric shocks to prisoners by means of an incorporated Taser-like system hooked to wireless controls and sophisticated sensors.
In some ways, the Scottsdale cuffs are like a combination of invisible fences and training collars used for dogs. Where the canine versions provide a mild joy buzzer of a shock, however, the cuffs could immobilize a prisoner. They're based on the principle of the Taser, which uses electrodes to administer high-voltage, low amperage shocks to disrupt a person’s voluntary nervous system. In this case, the system is part of a pair of handcuffs, though the company says that it could also be used in an ankle cuff, restraining belt, straitjacket, harness, facial restraint, helmet or neck collar.
The Scottsdale cuffs are more than just a shocking device. They are part of a system for exercising an almost frightening degree of control over single or multiple prisoners. The cuffs could not only shock, but also deliver warnings if the prisoner fails to follow instructions. These warnings might be an audible signal, a vibration, a flashing light or a mild electric shock as a prelude to a more severe jolt if not obeyed.
The cuffs are also programmable. They could be set to respond to radio transmitters so that prisoners must remain in a certain areas, avoid other areas or only move in a prescribed zone. They could also be triggered by RFID tags attached to weapons, vehicles or other items detainees aren't allowed near.
In addition to radio proximity sensors, the cuffs could include an accelerometer, inclinometer, potentiometer, location sensing device, microphone, camera, a biometric sensor or a combination of devices. These could not only allow guards to keep track of prisoners, but also allow the cuffs to automatically deliver a shock if they detect violent or aggressive movements or even if the detainee shouts.
Aside from their deterrent functions, the Scottsdale cuffs could also keep track of prisoner movements, behavior and number of shocks administered, plus they include safety cutouts to prevent administration of an injurious or fatal jolt. In a truly Orwellian twist, the cuffs could also release gases, liquids, dyes and even inject the prisoner with sedative drugs.
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