While researching tech patents from some of the top companies in the industry as we do every week, we happened to stumble upon a stray patent that just happened to reveal a next generation system of restraining devices such as handcuffs for law enforcement. While the new system focuses on handcuffs, the inventors clarified that the new system could equally apply to ankle cuffs, straightjackets, neck collars, helmets and even facial restraints such as the one used in the film Hannibal. The next generation handcuffs will be super high tech with built-in sensors such as accelerometers, potentiometer, inclinometer, biometric sensors, camera sensors and more. But the kicker to this invention is that these future handcuffs will be able to combine standard restraining mechanisms alongside those that could deliver a powerful electric shock to detainees and/or administer medications to sedate or irritate them. Whether you're in law enforcement or in an activist group, it's an interesting read that will keep your interest. Yes, the cuffs are designed to restrain "the bad guys," but it sure looks as though there's potential here for abuse in the form of mild torture. This kind of invention will have to be carefully monitored and legislated to exacting standards so that the "good guys" walk the line on this one. The filing presents us with a picture of one prototype-like design that appears to be far beyond just the "drawing board," phase. Ready or not, new law enforcement tools are on the way.
Controlling the Levels of Electric Shock
The patent states that in various embodiments, safety mechanisms may be included in the control system of the restraining device and/or controller to prevent a detainee from receiving greater than a predetermined nonlethal amount of electric shock in a predetermined period of time.
In another embodiment, the detainee interface receives electrical impulses from the detainee's heart, and returns them via EKG/EGG sensors to the sensor components for analysis by the control system. If the detainee's measured EKG is not measured to be in a safe range for administration of a shock (for instance, if fibrillation or arrhythmia is detected), the shock from the electric shock component will be suppressed. In an alternate embodiment, if the measured EKG signal from the detainee interface indicates a health issue, the control system may send a message to an external entity through the communication interface, indicating that the particular detainee is experiencing a health issue. In this manner, an external entity may avoid or suppress sending an activation signal to the restraining device, and/or summon medical care for the detainee.
Automated Warnings to Detainee
The patent filing states that When a shock is being administered or is about to be administered, a warning light may illuminate to show. In other embodiments, an audio output device (# 613 shown above in FIG. 4B) may be utilized to generate a warning tone or an actuation confirmation tone to respectively warn the detainee that a shock is imminent or to advise the detention officer administering the shock that a shock is being generated and delivered to the detainee.
As shown in FIG. 11 above, a combination of "keep-in" and "keep-out" transmitter configurations may combined and be used by one or more controllers (# 170), defining a safe zone (# 990) wherein a detainee (#910) to whom a restraining device of the present invention is attached will not receive a shock unless the detainee crosses a predetermined keep-out exclusion boundary (#950) or a keep-in boundary (# 900). In theory, this could also be used to keep two detainees who were in a fight, apart from each other. If one attempted to lash out at the other detainee, the boundary would be breached and a shock administered.
Handcuffs that Could Administer Medications
A fascinating, yet potentially horrifying twist to this invention is that it's designed to also comprise a substance delivery system in communication with the control system, wherein the control system is configured to cause the substance delivery system to expose the detainee to the substance.
The substances may include any substance capable of being stored or delivered by the restraining device to achieve any desired result, and may be a least one of a liquid, a gas, a dye, an irritant, a medication, a sedative, a transdermal medication or transdermal enhancers such as dimethyl sulfoxide, a chemical restraint, a paralytic, a medication prescribed to the detainee, and combinations thereof.
In some embodiments, the restraining device may be configured to inject the substance through a movable needle or gas injection system. Administration of such substances may be in addition to or in place of any electric shocks delivered by the restraining device, and substances may be delivered to achieve any desired goal such as providing a needed medication to a patient; preventing occurrence of uncontrollable psychotic episodes or seizures, suppression of undesirable behavior, chemical restraint when electrical restraint is insufficient (such as in the case if an energy storage device in the restraining device has insufficient charge state) or any other desired reason.
Below is patent FIG. 4E which is an alternative design and one that stood out from the pack as appearing to be photo of a prototype vs. a drawing as all others in the filing were. This may be closer to market than you think.
To review the patent in its entirety, see patent application 20120298119. If you have an opinion one way or another on this invention, please submit your comments below.
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