Taser gloves are a bad idea

In a project that you’re sure to read about in police blotter someday, [Jair2k4] built a pair of Taser gloves that will shock your victim with they laying-on of hands.

Not surprisingly, this project was spawned from a conversation at work about what tech would best suit a vigilante crime fighter. [Jair2k4] suggested taser gloves, which drew a laugh, but also stuck in his mind. His prototype takes advantage of the flash circuitry from a disposable camera to step up battery voltage all the way up to 300 volts.

The gloves he’s using are rubberized fishing gloves which help ensure that he doesn’t shock himself. Wire travels from the capacitor to conductors sewn into the fingers and thumb of the gloves He’s got video embedded on his post that shows the bright spark and loud zap of a discharge when the conductors get close to one another. Altoids tins lined with electrical tape house the hardware, with a momentary push button used to charge the devices.

Hopefully criminals will not mind waiting for you to charge your weapons before they attack. But then again, [Jack Buffington’s] own version of a taser glove had the same issue. That one used conductors on the knuckle side of the glove, and involved long wires tethering the glove to a belt pack. Locating that back as a bracelet is a nice improvement on the idea.

44 thoughts on “Taser gloves are a bad idea

  1. Wow, this is such a bad idea. Setting aside the issues of vigilantism, this thing just delivers a DC pulse, which will cause pain, but not really affect muscle control (speaking from experience, heh). You need high voltage AC pulses to disrupt motor control like a real taser. This also has the capability of sourcing a huge amount of current (at least for a little while), which can easily cause burns / cardiac events.

    Of course this is clearly meant more as a toy than anything else.

    1. Erm, sorry that sounded kind of mean now that I re-read my comment. We’re engineers here, pointing out flaws is what we do :)

      I wonder if you could build in an accelerometer or something so you could deliver a jolt proportional to your fist speed. So if you just want to warn someone, punch ‘em lightly, and only a little shock will be delivered. Punch ‘em hard, and MAXIMUM STRENGTH :)

      1. Why not then use arm (de)acceleration as the source of energy for the shocker, e.g. using a piezoelectric device from cigarette lighters or a prank device?

  2. The charge time issue is, that the capacitor is much too large. The point is to incapacitate the victim by disrupting nerve signals by rapid repetitive pulses.

    The camera flash capacitor has something like 1-2 Joules of energy, which is like being shot with a pellet gun, while you’d really need millijoules to shock someone into submission.

    Of course it takes a long time to charge up when you’re outputting a thousand times too much energy.

    1. Btw. real tazers have a spark gap that strikes when the capacitor reaches a certain voltage, and that shunts a current pulse through a transformer that amps up the voltage to roughly 50 kV, so it can actually go through clothing.

      1. I was thinking have it recharge automatically, and just attach a switch to one of the leads as a safety of sorts.
        Also, now I kind of want to see someone rig up one of these with an actual taser :3

  3. Tazers work using rapid pulses, a camera flash circuit will just dump the whole load of energy into someone which will probably cause quite bad localised burns, but no real incapacitation other than the initial shock.

    1. Dear Corrosion,
      Welcome to Hackaday. My name is Tom. I am not an editor of this site, nor am I otherwise part of the Hackaday crew; I am but a reader, enjoying the vast majority of articles with a variety unknown to other blogs alike.

      It has come to my attention that your post, which is – if I may say so – a rather bold and perhaps a somewhat negative statement, just might be the result of some feelings of frustration aimed towards the people behind this magnificent place on the Internet.

      Again, I dot not know this people, but I am sure they do not like it if somebody gets all worked up by the articles that are or aren’t featured on the website. However, I think that they – and all the visitors of Hackaday, can really appreciate some good, constructive criticism. Also, personally I am very eager to know how you constructed your version(s) of these stun-gloves, and how you reached those noteworthy 3,300 Volts.

      With the kindest regards you could ever imagine,
      Tom.

  4. First off, thanks HAD! I love it when something i’ve done gets featured.

    This was just the first version. It was a random spur of the moment type of thing, brought on by a challenge at work. I am already working on a second version that will be more refined and also a lot safer.

    However, a friend of mine who i think is a masochist at heart wanted me to shock him today. To get the capacitor fully charged, it takes about 15 seconds. I let it build up for about 8 and the jolt it gave him was enough to hurt his arm quite a bit… and he is not a small guy.

    1. That’s like saying “I shot my friend with a BB gun, and his bodily size didn’t seem to make a difference in the size of the hole it made.”

      300 volts in a 33 µF capacitor is roughly 1.5 Joules of energy. An airsoft pellet has .2 joules of kinetic energy as it leaves the muzzle, and it will leave a mark at point blank.

      1. And that’s 0.2 joules in case you miss the dot. A full charge is therefore 7.5 times as powerful as an airsoft gun.

        No wonder it hurt.

  5. You’ve heard of brass knuckles right? Well, these are lightning knuckles! Now we need somebody to make one that incorporates a liquid bladder on your palm, sprays gasoline on your victim first and we’ve got Fire Knuckles FTW!
    Or maybe we could put up a pay website where we feature wrestlers wearing these, and the player gets to remotely fire them!
    At any rate, you could give these guys a run for their money:

    http://www.ninjacops.com/zapbk950.html

  6. I just wish H.A.D. was not always forced to handle weapons and dangerous hacks with kid gloves. Their hands are tied because of the vocal minority who live risk-adverse lives (it’s their right) and deem it necessary to control areas beyond their safety bubble (NOT their right).

  7. Most of jair’s builds are done in the spirit of “build something crazy for bragging rights” .

    It is my sincere belief that, without that spirit ,nothing usefull would have been invented after the plow .

  8. I worked on a project a while back somewhat similar using the coil from an old Volkswagen, along with a 12 volt camcorder battery, a 555, some caps and a burly transistor. It kept frying itself, I am pretty sure I needed some protection diodes, but I gave up on it after enough fried parts and fingers.

  9. Hey, with a little extra circuitry, you could get this thing to autocharge every time it discharges.

    Drop the voltage down to acceptable levels for sensing with large resistors (to minimize sense current), in parallel with the “payload delivery” circuit.

    Set up a comparator to turn an SCR on to charge the capacitor when the sampled capacitor voltage drops below a certain value.

    The SCR will automatically turn off when the current though it drops below the minimum value for the SCR (which will happen when the capacitor is nearly done charging).

    Sacrificing a little zap for autonomy is worth it, in my opinion.

    You can then use your switch for enabling the gloves, rather than charging.

  10. When we were teenagers many years ago, my little brother tapped my budding electronics knowledge to make a homemade stun gun to play a joke on one of his friends. Said friend happened to be quite annoying and was always messing with me, so I happily obliged.

    We took a large transformer out of a busted rack stereo head unit, put a 9v battery on the secondary side, giving us a nice jolt on the primary side in a portable package.

    Long story short, we convinced his dim witted friend to grab the exposed wires and greatly enjoyed the results. Just the look on his face as his hands were shaking and he couldn’t let go of the wires was great!

    The guy stopped being such an asshole to me after that too.

    1. unless you oscillate the 9V somehow, that won’t do anything but drain the 9V battery. Best way to deliver a jolt across that is to put the battery on there until you set up a nice stable magnetic field (I mean like 100ms) and then disconnect it.

  11. …because we all know how awesomely effective things like gardening gloves and Playtex dishwashing gloves are as insulated gear. Who needs Class E stuff? It’s not like we’re risking our lives or anything (yeah, even the overrated YouTuber ‘kipkay’ uses Playtex when messing with high voltage)

    /me goes back to working on a 4160-volt switchgear with Stein’s Garden center gloves and tools ‘insulated’ with electrical tape.

  12. Hehe, I built some of these when I was 12, using the old self-oscillating relay running from a 9V battery trick, the back emf providing the kick. I made my own gloves from scrap flannelette material (navy blue) and switched the wiring and hardware onto the back of the hand, with bits of tin stitched onto finger tips. I thought it was a great project at the time!
    I was already a bit of a weirdo as school, my gloves really cemented that for good!

  13. I suspect the folks over at the TASER Corp would be quite annoyed at having their product compared to this kluge contraption.

    The TASER waveform is a carefully controlled output that has a wealth of medical research behind it.

    To wit –

    The M26 generates a 50 kHz waveform with a current of 10-12 A, a peak voltage of nearly 1000 V and a 50 µs pulse duration; the X26 generates a 120 kHz wave with a peak voltage of around 300 V and a pulse duration of 120 µs

    By employing computational electromagnetic modelling, the team determined that the M26 TASER induced a peak absolute current density of 0.66 mA/mm2, spread over a circular region of approximately 25 mm in diameter on the right ventricle (beneath the upper probe). For the X26 TASER, the highest peak absolute current density was 0.11 mA/mm2, spread across a similar region.

    The team then determined whether the TASER pulses could disrupt a beating guinea-pig heart. The choice of guinea-pig heart was partly based on the similarity of its electrocardiographic-wave configurations to those generated by a human heart.

    The heart, which had been removed from the animal, was beating spontaneously. The M26 and X26 waveforms were applied to the surface of the heart using an electrode. At the maximum current densities predicted by the human model (0.66 and 0.11 mA/mm2), the pulses did not cause the heart to beat erratically. Indeed, the current densities of both devices had to be increased by at least a factor of 60 before erratic heartbeats were seen.

    As a result of the simulations and experiments, the team concluded that there is a wide safety margin between the intensity of a TASER strike and the level at which a human heart would beat irregularly.

    So if some dimwit wants to discharge an electrolytic cap into his buddies, thinking it’s equivalent to a true piece of engineered non-lethal tactical hardware – hey have at it.

  14. I agree with JohnConnor. A real Taser is much more sophisticated. It uses a initial very short pulse of very high voltage to establish contact even over clothes creating an arch. Then it drops voltage to avoid killing the person.

    Even with research, even a Taser can be dangerous, non-lethal gun is a relative term, rubber bullets and lacrimogenic gas had in the past killed several people. These devices are not a thing you use unless it is no other way.

    For people with some heart conditions, like arrhythmia, WPW, VT, PSVT, and others it can be very dangerous, and it is not a thing you will see some study about (how to study it in the first place?).

    There is an exam called Intracardiac electrophysiology study (EPS) where sometimes electrical signals are used to induce abnormal behavior of the heart and find these problems.

    The fact that these events can be induced by electrical stimulation shows how electricity can be dangerous to these people.

    In resume, don’t do this at home children.

  15. i built one of those years ago. I accidentally shocked myself while building it. It hurts but it will really only piss somebody off, especially if they have a gun!!! I agree this isn’t practical they way it is, but definitely shows a proof of concept.

    Also if you can reduce the charge time, to less then a second and move the electrodes to the knuckles they you could throw electrified punches. Which would hurt a LOT.

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