In order to enhance the security of air travel and to help manage illegal immigration, the Department of Homeland Security has solicited a proposal from a Canadian security company to develop a passenger stun bracelet.
Like the pain collars featured in the classic Star Trek episode The Gamesters of Triskelion, Lamperd Less Lethal's electro-muscular disruption (EMD) bracelet is intended to incapacitate wearers on remote command.
A video at the Lampred Less Lethal Web site explains that the bracelet will obviate the need for a plane ticket and will help make passengers and baggage trackable while traveling. It also explains that the bracelet will provide in-flight security.
"By further equipping the bracelet with EMD technology, the bracelets will allow crew members, using radio frequency transmitters, to quickly and effective subdue hijackers," the video explains. "The electro-muscular disruption signal overrides the attacker's central nervous system and will render even the most elite and aggressive terrorist completely immobile for several minutes."
As reported by The Washington Times, Lamperd's Web site hosts a copy of a letter from Paul S. Ruwaldt, an official with the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, expressing interest in the bracelet.
Ruwaldt did not immediately respond to a request to verify the authenticity of the undated letter or to comment on the Department of Homeland Security's apparent interest in the Lamperd Less Lethal bracelet. The Transportation Security Agency also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"In discussions with my colleagues and immediate superior, we find your ideas have merit and believe it would be of great help on the borders, and indeed for anywhere else, for which the temporarily [sic] restraint of large numbers of individuals in open area environments by a small number of agents or Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs)," the letter says, citing a meeting on July 18, 2006. "We see the potential uses to include prisoner transportation, detainee control, and military security forces might have some interest. In addition, it is conceivable to envision a use to improve air security, on passenger planes."
The letter concludes by asking for a written proposal.
Barry Lamperd, president and CEO of Lamperd Less Lethal, said that his company had been contracted to manufacture the bracelet by its inventor, Per Hahne, who was currently seeking funding for the device.
A 2003 patent assigned to co-inventors Per Hahne and Ray Wark describes a similar concept, a belt designed to administer a disabling electric shock to air travelers.
The patent details "[a] method of providing air travel security for passengers traveling via an aircraft comprises situating a remotely activatable electric shock device on each of the passengers in position to deliver a disabling electrical shock when activated."
Reached on a cell phone in his car, Hahne said he came up with the idea after the 9/11 terrorist attack, an event also cited in the patent description. "I like to call it the next generation of Taser," he said, "theirs being a one-shot deal and mine being a multiple-shot deal."
Given the 9/11 scenario of airplane pilots grappling with attackers, Hahne said, "It was always my opinion that a pilot should not be engaged in armed combat while flying an aircraft."
Because there simply aren't enough air marshals to defend every flight, Hahne envisioned a way to empower air crews to better defend their planes. "My thought was to devise an instrument to allow every flight segment to be covered and to use the air crew as air marshals," he said.
Anticipating questions about passenger willingness to don a shock bracelet, Hahne was quick to defend the idea. "When people say they're not going to wear one, they need to be made aware that the bracelets are totally inert until the flight is airborne and the flight crew determines an attack is underway," he said.