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Pulse Variations of a Conducted Energy Weapon (Similar to the TASER® X26 Device): Effects on Muscle Contraction and Threshold for Ventricular Fibrillation

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Conducted energy weapons (such as the Advanced TASER X26 model produced by TASER International), incapacitate individuals by causing muscle contractions. To provide information relevant to development of future potential devices, a “Modifiable Electronic Stimulator” was used to evaluate the effects of changing various parameters of the stimulating pulse. Muscle contraction was affected by pulse power, net/gross charge, pulse duration, and pulse repetition frequency. The contraction force increased linearly as each of these factors was increased. Elimination of a precursor pulse from X26-like pulses did not have a significant effect on the normalized force measured. Muscle-contraction force increased as the spacing increased from 5 to 20 cm, with no further change in force above 20 cm of spacing. Therefore, it is suggested that any future developments of new conducted energy weapons should include placement of electrodes a minimum of 20 cm apart so that efficiency of the system is not degraded. In the current study, the 50% probability of fibrillation level of X26-like pulses ranged from 4 to 5 times higher than the X26 itself. Relatively large variations about the X26 operating level were found not to result in fibrillation or asystole. Therefore, it should be possible to design and build an X26-type device that operates efficiently at levels higher than the X26.
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Keywords: Sus scrofa; TASER; conducted energy weapon; electromuscular incapacitation; electronic control devices; fibrillation; forensic science; muscle contraction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Advanced Information Engineering Services, A General Dynamics Company, 3276 Reliance Loop, San Antonio, TX 78235. 2: Directed Energy Bio-effects Division, US Air Force Research Laboratory, 8262 Hawks Road, San Antonio, TX 78235.

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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