Law enforcement technology has come a long way since the humble officer's truncheon. Over the years, we've seen tear gas, tasers and rubber bullets, among other inventions, designed to subdue an aggressor without causing lasting harm (well, that's the idea anyway).
Handcuffs, on the other hand, still resemble the metal shackles of yesteryear. I guess it was about time someone made them capable of delivering an electrical shock to, you know, sex them up.
It sounds a bit excessive, but a patent published last week via the US Patent Office, entitled "Apparatus and system for augmented detainee restraint" describes a beefed-up version of the plain-old handcuff that's designed to not only hold someone captive, but to subdue them via electrical shocks or "substance delivery" and provide a "'keep-in' and 'keep-out'" system via user-defined zones, much like a tracking anklet.
According to the filing, the electrical shocks would be moderated via a built-in EKG — if the "detainee's" heart is not in a state that could accept a shock without causing harm or death, then it is suppressed. A warning system, using a light or tone, would let the handcuffed person (or their handler) know that a shock is about to be administered, or that they're about to cross the threshold of their "keep-in" / "keep-out" zone.
Then there's the "substance delivery system", which the patent says would allow the device to expose the detainee to "one of a liquid, a gas, a dye, an irritant, a medication, a sedative, a transdermal medication, a chemical restraint, a paralytic, a medication prescribed to the detainee, and combinations thereof". I'm sure that last bit about prescribed medicines will really excite diabetics and really excite those with heart conditions.
I don't plan to be handcuffed any time soon, but if I ever do, I certainly hope it's not in one of these things.