The Super-Stunner

You may recall the post from February about Lonnie Johnson and the Super Soaker. If your summertime water fights have started to get a little hum-drum, let me suggest an electrifying alternative: A hydraulic stun gun.

USPP 2009/0237857, FIG. 3

If you know anything about tasers, you know that they operate by hitting a target with a positive and negative terminal. In some cases, those terminals are fixed to a baton. In a stun gun, two barbs shoot out at the target, with each barb being connected by a wire back to the taser, where it connects to a power source that delivers the electric payload. You need two wires to complete the electrical circuit–otherwise no current will flow.

The problem with a taser is that you either have to physically approach the target or successfully hit them with the barbs. In the first case you’re in danger, in the second case you might miss. Either way, now you have a person who is very mad that you’re trying to hit them with a taser.

This invention uses jets of water instead of wires to carry the zap at a distance. The idea is that two continuous streams of water carry the voltage, and when both streams contact a target, they deliver the zap.

I have my doubts about its efficacy. Anyone who has used a Super Soaker knows that the water will bead up into droplets while in the air. That’s fine if you just want to get someone wet, but it is not great for maintaining an electrical connection.

But let’s assume you solve that problem, for example by adding a surfactant to decrease the water’s surface tension. It seems very likely that your streams will contact one another, whether in the air or through the wet spot they make when they hit, which will cause an immediate short-circuit. Flash-boiling the water on the target’s clothes would probably still be uncomfortable, but I don’t think it’s the intended effect.

This particular application went abandoned, despite the examiner indicating allowable subject matter. In view of the above, and the fact that we haven’t seen hydraulic stun guns take off as the taser of choice, I think the inventor was probably wise to cut their losses.

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