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A TASER Conducted Electrical Weapon With Cardiac Biomonitoring Capability: Proof of Concept and Initial Human Trial

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine Volume: 43 Dated: October 2016 Pages: 48-52
Date Published
October 2016
5 pages
The goal of this research was to combine an electrocardiogram (ECG) device with a Conducted Electrical Weapon (CEW) to detect and store ECG signals while still allowing the CEW to perform its primary function of delivering an incapacitating electrical discharge.
Despite research that demonstrates the overall safety of Conducted Electrical Weapons (CEWs), commonly known by the brand name TASER, concerns remain regarding cardiac safety. The addition of cardiac biomonitoring capability to a CEW could prove useful and even lifesaving in the rare event of a medical crisis by detecting and analyzing cardiac rhythms during the period immediately after CEW discharge. The current research project was performed in three phases. In Phase 1, standard law enforcement issue CEW cartridges were modified to demonstrate transmission of ECG signals. In Phase 2, a miniaturized ECG recorder was combined with a standard issue CEW and tested. In Phase 3, a prototype CEW with on-board cardiac biomonitoring was tested on human volunteers to assess its ability to perform its primary function of electrical incapacitation. Bench testing demonstrated that slightly modified CEW cartridge wires transmitted simulated ECG signals produced by an ECG rhythm generator and from a human volunteer. Ultimately, a modified CEW incorporating ECG monitoring successfully delivered incapacitating current to human volunteers and successfully recorded ECG signals from subcutaneous CEW probes after firing. This project thus succeeded in incorporating an ECG recording device into a standard issue CEW without impeding the functioning of the device. This serves as proof-of-concept that safety measures such as cardiac biomonitoring can be incorporated into CEWs and possibly other law enforcement devices. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: October 1, 2016