US20090316326A1 - Systems And Methods For Demotivating Using A Drape - Google Patents

Systems And Methods For Demotivating Using A Drape Download PDF

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US20090316326A1
US20090316326A1 US12/172,066 US17206608A US2009316326A1 US 20090316326 A1 US20090316326 A1 US 20090316326A1 US 17206608 A US17206608 A US 17206608A US 2009316326 A1 US2009316326 A1 US 2009316326A1
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subject
drape
conductor
system
demotivating
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US12/172,066
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Bryan D. Chiles
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Axon Enterprise Inc
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Axon Enterprise Inc
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Priority to US12/172,066 priority patent/US20090316326A1/en
Assigned to TASER INTERNATIONAL, INC. reassignment TASER INTERNATIONAL, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: CHILES, BRYAN D.
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41HARMOUR; ARMOURED TURRETS; ARMOURED OR ARMED VEHICLES; MEANS OF ATTACK OR DEFENCE, e.g. CAMOUFLAGE, IN GENERAL
    • F41H13/00Means of attack or defence not otherwise provided for
    • F41H13/0012Electrical discharge weapons, e.g. for stunning, such as tasers
    • F41H13/0025Electrical discharge weapons, e.g. for stunning, such as tasers for remote electrical discharge via conducting wires, e.g. via wire-tethered electrodes shot at a target

Abstract

A demotivator, according to various aspects of the present invention, may include a drape that comes into operating distance of a subject by deployment of the drape, movement of the drape toward the subject, or by movement of the subject toward the drape. The demotivator may pass a current through the drape and through the subject to cause skeletal muscle contractions or pain to interfere with locomotion by the subject. A drape may come into operating distance of the subject or remains within operating distance of the subject under the influence of the force of gravity. A drape may be deployed from an overhead structure to fall into draping contact with a subject.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/074,516 by Chiles filed Jun. 20, 2008.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
  • Embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawing, wherein like designations denote like elements, and:
  • FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram of a demotivator using a drape according to various aspects of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a data flow diagram for a method performed by a processor of the demotivator of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3A is a perspective view of an environment equipped with a demotivator according to various aspects of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3B is a perspective view of the environment of FIG. 3A after releasing drapes;
  • FIG. 3C is a plan view of a room with zones defined for an installation of the demotivator of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 4 is a plan view of a drape with zones defined in a reference of the demotivator of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 5 is a plan view of a drape with zones defined in an overhead structure of the demotivator of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 6 is perspective view of a portion of a drape for use in the demotivator of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 7 is a plan view of a pod and drape in a first implementation according to various aspects of the present invention;
  • FIG. 8 is a plan view of a pod and drape in a second implementation according to various aspects of the present invention;
  • FIGS. 9A and 9B are plan views of a pod and drape in a third implementation according to various aspects of the present invention;
  • FIGS. 10 and 10B are plan views of a pod and drape in a fourth implementation according to various aspects of the present invention;
  • FIGS. 11A and 11B are plan views of a pod and drape in a fifth implementation according to various aspects of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 12 is a partial cross-sectional view of the pod and drape assembly of FIGS. 11A and 11B.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • A demotivator, according to various aspects of the present invention, includes an electrical system operated by an authority against a subject to demotivate the subject. A demotivator includes one or more electrodes for forming a circuit through tissue of the subject. When one electrode is used, the return path of the circuit may include a surface that supports the subject (e.g., earth ground) to which both the demotivator and the subject are electrically coupled. A more reliable circuit is generally formed with two electrodes. Prior to forming such a circuit, a demotivator may create an apprehension in the subject sufficient for demotivating. After forming such a circuit, a current through tissue of the subject may demotivate the subject. A circuit may be established when the one or more electrodes are within an operating distance of the subject. An air gap may exist between an electrode and tissue of the subject, or the electrode may be in contact with tissue of the subject. A demotivator may include a local demotivating function and/or a remote demotivating function.
  • For a local demotivating function, the authority manually moves the one or more electrodes into operating range of the subject and may hold the electrodes in operating range for a period of time. For example, a conventional so called “stun gun” (a common, though generally misdescriptive term) may provide a local demotivating function (even though the stun gun may or may not accomplish a stun and may or may not function as a gun). A demotivator for a local demotivating function may be implemented with a shield (e.g., for crowd control); with clothing, manacles, or shackles (e.g., for inmate control); or with a cell phone, glove, umbrella, prod, bar, staff, or night stick (e.g., for self defense).
  • For a remote demotivating function, the authority deploys electrodes and/or initiates the current flow at a distance from the subject greater than a distance for local demotivating. For example, wire-tethered probes may be launched to strike the subject traversing a distance (e.g., of up to 40 feet) between the authority and the subject. For another example, an electrified projectile comprising a battery, stimulator, and electrodes may be launched to strike the subject traversing a greater distance (e.g., of up to 300 feet) between the authority and the subject.
  • Demotivating may include a psychological cause and effect, such as with pain or apprehension of pain, so that the subject in unwilling to move. Demotivating may include a physiological cause and effect so that the subject cannot sufficiently control its skeletal muscles to move. Demotivating includes one or more of raising an apprehension in the subject, deterring motion or movement by the subject, causing the subject to experience pain, inhibiting use of its skeletal muscles by the subject, interfering with voluntary use by the subject of its skeletal muscles, causing the subject to lose its balance and/or fall down, immobilizing the subject, halting locomotion by the subject, restraining the subject confining the subject by any form of demotivating, and restraining the subject. For purposes of demotivating, a movement of interest is a movement with respect to a distance, border, or region, as opposed to an unproductive movement (e.g., twitching, involuntary motions, motions in spasm).
  • Demotivating may be accomplished with respect to a distance, a border, and/or a region. For example electrodes propelled in a generally straight line from the authority to the subject allow demotivating at a distance being the range of the propulsion system. Electrodes may be incorporated into a structure located along a perimeter or portion of a perimeter, herein called a border. Electrodes may be incorporated into a structure that fills and/or sweeps through a volume, herein called a region. For example, a conventional so called “area denial system” may perform a remote demotivating function.
  • The subject of demotivation may be a person or animal to be demotivated. Such a person or animal may be referred to with respect to his or her status for example as a suspect or an inmate; with respect to his or her behavior for example as an aggressor, a trespasser, or an intruder; with respect to a security policy (not permitted to be at a particular place at a particular time) as a threat; or with respect to operation of the demotivator for example as a target (when electrodes are propelled toward the subject), a detainee, or a prisoner.
  • Demotivation may occur for a period. At the end of the period, the subject may be released or restrained by other means for example incarcerated, shackled, hand cuffed.
  • A demotivator may be used with respect to a region (e.g., a volume of space, room, area, passage). The region may be defined to include an area and/or a volume. The region may be divided into zones. A zone by definition has a border. The border may be all or any convenient portion of the periphery of the zone. A drape may hang or be deployed to hang at or over a border, or portion of a border.
  • A demotivator may be useful for area denial, denial of access, denial of passage, restraining, and confining as discussed above. The ability to deny passage through a region is useful as a tactical measure for maintaining limited access to a passage and beyond. Denial of passage and/or denial of access may be desired for human safety, facility security, enforcement of social order (laws, regulations, rules, memberships), property protection, trade secret protection, incarceration, capture, border control, commercial purposes, and military purposes.
  • A demotivator that includes one or more drapes is herein called a system of the present invention. Such a system may be used to deny access to a region (e.g., denial of passage into the region), to deny movement between portions of a region (e.g., zones defined in the region), to arrest and remove all persons currently in a region (e.g., operations zone by zone), to confine a subject to a safe zone, for example, that is bordered by one or more drapes that deny passage out of the safe zone, and/or to confine a subject to a safe region (e.g., out of range with respect to a distance, border, or region). Movement by a subject may be for entering a region, moving about within a region, and/or leaving a region. Demotivating with respect to such movement may be accomplished using an electric current that passes through tissue of the subject to cause pain and/or skeletal muscle contractions.
  • A drape, includes any structure, having a conductor for the current, that comes into operating distance of the subject or remains within operating distance of the subject under the influence of the force of gravity. A drape may come into operating distance of the subject or remain within operating distance of the subject under the additional influence of other forces and/or couplings (e.g., engagements, adhesives). A demotivator may include a drape that comes into operating distance of the subject by deployment of the drape (e.g., in the absence of a subject), deployment and/or movement of the drape toward the subject, and/or by movement of the subject toward the drape. For example, a drape may be deployed to fall into contact with a subject. A demotivator may include a drape hung in position before the subject arrives and that the subject moves toward and possibly brushes against as it moves through a region. Movement of the drape in the presence of the subject may be desired, for example, to attract attention of the subject toward the drape, or to close a distance between the drape and the subject. Movement of the drape may include horizontal and/or vertical movement.
  • A drape when hanging from an overhead structure may take the form of a set of vertical lines. Each line (e.g. filament or ribbon) may be capable of independently draping the subject. The lines may be joined to form a ribbon, net, or fabric. Some or all of the lines may include conductors for the current. The lines may be members of a vertical plane. The lines may be members of a substantially vertical surface, not necessarily planar (e.g., hanging along a curved border of a zone).
  • A drape when suspended from an overhead structure may take the form of an arbitrarily shaped and substantially horizontal surface, not necessarily flat. The surface may include conductors for the current.
  • The noun and verb forms of the word “drape” as used herein do not necessitate folds or pleats in the drape.
  • A drape may include circuitry in addition to conductors. For example, a drape may include notification circuits and/or devices such as light and/or sound emitters (e.g., spark gaps). A drape may include conventional light emitting diodes and/or fiber optic filaments to form notification devices in or adjacent to the drape. A source of electricity (e.g., battery, solar cell) and/or stimulator circuitry may be included in a drape.
  • A demotivator may emit notifications from the drape. Emitted visible and/or auditory notifications may be sufficient to deter movement by the subject toward the drape (e.g., warnings). Visible notifications may aid authorized personnel in taking a subject out of an active zone and into custody. For example, lights in the drape may identify in real time which zones, drapes, or portions of a drape are active. A zone or drape is deemed active (or activated) when a voltage on the drape for the zone is sufficient for beginning or maintaining current through a subject sufficient to interfere with locomotion by the subject.
  • A drape may have insulated portions and portions that are not insulated, or that are substantially less insulated than insulated portions. For example, to reduce the likelihood of conducting the current through a subject's head, a portion of a drape expected to be located near the subject's head may be insulated or deactivated. As the expected position of the subject's head changes, the portion of the drape that is insulated or deactivated may also be changed (e.g., insulated portion of the drape repositioned).
  • A demotivator, according to various aspects of the present invention, may include a drape and a stimulator coupled to the drape. The stimulator may be located a safe distance from the drape and provide on/off control of activation of the drape. The drape may be fixed in position. Passage through the drape may be permitted when the drape is deactivated (e.g., the stimulator is off). The stimulator may have two output conductors, herein named source and return. A circuit through the subject may be completed through source and return conductors of the drape that are coupled to the source and return conductors of the stimulator. Herein, the terms source and return have no implication as to the polarity of the current (e.g., a brief pulse of current may have alternating positive and negative polarity measured across the source and return conductors). The stimulator source conductor may be coupled to the drape and the stimulator return conductor may be coupled to a reference. Assuming the subject is suitably coupled to the return conductor in the reference, a circuit for the current through the subject is completed when a source conductor of the drape is in operating range of tissue of the subject.
  • A system, according to various aspects of the present invention, may include a plurality of subsystems, one of which may be a controller used by an authority. An installation of the system may include one controller and any number of subsystems. The controller may be coupled to the subsystems via a wired medium and/or a wireless medium for power and/or data communication. The controller may communicate with the subsystems without the subsystems being previously uniquely configured with an address. Each subsystem may have one role from a finite ordered set of roles. A role may be identified by its ordinal in the ordered set of roles. Each subsystem may determine its role in the installed system. For any one role of the set, zero or more subsystems may determine themselves to have that role. A role may be determined by a physical position of a subsystem with respect to the controller and/or other subsystems. According to what is referred to herein as ordinal based communication, a subsystem takes action on commands of the same ordinal as its role and otherwise ignores other commands. Using ordinal based communication simplifies initial installation of the controller and subsystems, exchange of a controller or subsystems for maintenance, rearrangement of subsystems for different objectives, addition of subsystems, and removal of subsystems.
  • For example, a stimulator and a positioner may constitute a subsystem that communicates via a bus interface and bus with a base station comprising a controller. The bus may be wired or wireless with a suitable bus interface in the base station.
  • A plurality of subsystems may be installed so that each subsystem (according to its role) acts on a zone or on a portion of a zone. A portion of a zone may be unique and subsystems may take exclusive actions as to their respective unique portion of the zone. Portions may overlap for improved reliability and/or improved effectiveness. Several subsystems may, as to the same zone, take unique actions (e.g., different amounts of force, different types of force) or redundant actions (e.g., first application of force, second application of the same type of force as the first application).
  • For example, various implementations of a demotivator according to FIGS. 1-12 may suitably include the functions of system 100 of FIG. 1. System 100 includes base station 102, drape controller 103, drape 104, reference 105, and bus 106. A base station includes a controller to communicate commands to components of the system that are installed in several locations. A base station may further provide a user interface. Still further, a base station may include a power supply serving other parts of the system. For an installation that is not fully automated, a base station allows an operator of the system (e.g., herein called a user) to control what portions (if any) of the system are active and/or deployed or subject to becoming active and/or deployed on operation of one or more controls (e.g., safety, activate). For example, base station 102 includes power supply 111, bus interface 112, controls 113, processor 114 and memory 115.
  • A power supply generates and/or converts electrical power. A power supply may receive power from any conventional source of electrical power and convert power into a form usable for the rest of system 100. Power supply 111 may convert facility AC utility power to suitable voltages and currents for use in system 100. Power supply 111 may include battery power, rechargeable batteries, recharging circuitry for the batteries, power status indications and safety controls (e.g., circuit breaker, static discharge device, lightning arrester, switching among redundant sources). Power supply 111 outputs power to bus interface 112 and provides power to circuits of base station 102.
  • A control includes any conventional mechanical and/or electrical device that provides notice of an event on which action by system 100 may be taken. Controls 113 cooperate with processor 114 via any conventional signaling technology (e.g., wired, wireless). For example, controls 113 may be manually operated to output signals to processor 114. Controls may be operated by a user of the system (e.g., authorized security personnel). Controls 113 may be part of a conventional graphical user interface supported by processor 114 and a monitor (not shown). Controls 113 may be operated inadvertently by a subject (e.g., a control of the type conventionally referred to as a trigger). Controls may provide notice of a subject to processor 114 on which event, processor 114 may take action as discussed below.
  • A control may convert manual operations by the user (also referred to as an authority or an operator) into signals used to issue commands. For example, controls 113 provide signals used by processor 114. Controls 113 may include a toggle switch for example for the user to toggle between a safety-on state and a safety-off state; a momentary push button switch for the user to initiate deployment of drape 104, a momentary push button switch for the user to initiate activation of stimulus current through the subject for a period; and a momentary push button switch for the user to cause a repeat of the stimulus current through the subject for an additional period.
  • A trigger type of control (or simply a trigger) may be physical (e.g., subject motion detector, subject position detector, laser perimeter break-beam detector) or virtual (e.g., range detector to subject with predetermined range at which notice of trigger event is output, video camera with image analysis and predetermined position(s) at which a trigger event is output). A trigger may be operated by the user who observes a subject and uses human judgment to issue a trigger event. The user may be at a safe distance from the drape. The user may be proximate to the subject such as an escort equipped with a trigger type control (e.g., a panic button).
  • A base station, drape controller, drape, or reference may include any number of conventional sensors (not shown) that comprise a trigger linked (e.g., wired or wireless link) as a control 113. Sensors may include timers, receivers, and/or detectors. Timers may report a trigger event at a prescribed time (e.g., for deployment of a drape after a work shift or on a holiday). Detectors may detect that a measured quantity crosses a threshold and in response output notice of a trigger event. Receivers may receive messages in any conventional manner and output notice of a trigger event when a particular message is received (e.g., from a transponder in a ‘visitor’ badge for a zone not suitable for visitors) or output notice of a trigger event after lapse of a period in which a particular message was not received (e.g., consequence of a security post no longer attended by a guard wearing an expected transponder).
  • A controller may include a processor, a memory, and a bus interface. A controller provides commands and receives reports to manage all functions of a demotivator. A user interface may be omitted when management can be accomplished by the logic of a stored program executed by the controller.
  • A processor includes any circuit that performs logic and/or instructions (e.g., microcode, assembly language, instructions in higher level languages) stored in memory (e.g., a gate array, a microcontroller with peripheral circuitry, a microprocessor with peripheral circuitry). A processor may include an engine (e.g., a state machine, arithmetic-logic unit, interpreter) for performing the stored program; and any support circuitry for efficient operation (e.g., signal conditioning, signal processing, logic arrays, logic gates, registers, counters, sensors, input/output control, communications). A processor may include memory and/or operate with memory external to the processor. A memory includes any device for recalling information stored in the device. Any conventional processor and memory technologies may be used (e.g., semiconductor, magnetic, optical). For example, processor 114 performs methods discussed herein from instructions and data stored in memory 115.
  • Controls and a processor comprise a user interface. The user interface of base station 102 may provide a user with one or more controls and preferably displays (not shown) of status conditions of the system. For example, a user interface may include one or more power status indicators for displaying information derived from one or more signals from power supply 111, one or more safety controls, one or more drape movement controls, and one or more drape electrical activation controls. Various safety controls may be required to be set to “off” before drape movement and/or activation. The scope of any control may be universal (apply to all zones or all borders). The scope of any control may be limited to particular zone(s), border(s), and/or drape(s). Drape movement may include releasing a drape from overhead storage (such as in deploying), moving a drape along a border of a zone, and returning the drape to overhead storage (such as in reloading). Activation may be accomplished by applying power to suitable stimulator(s) and/or closing switches to couple source and/or return conductors of the suitable stimulator(s) to drape conductor(s) and/or reference conductor(s).
  • A user interface may provide communication to a stimulator to initiate activation of a drape by the stimulator. A user interface may provide communication to a drape controller to initiate movement of a drape (e.g., toward a desired operating position, return to a stored position). A user interface may provide power to any number of stimulators and/or drape controllers. Any conventional technologies may be used to couple a user interface to one or more stimulators and/or drape controllers. For example, bus interface 112, bus 106, and bus interfaces 120 couple the output power and communication signals of base station 102 to the stimulators and drape controllers of drape controller 103.
  • A drape controller includes any apparatus that facilitates demotivating a subject by enabling one or more functions of a drape, for example, draping the subject and conducting a current through tissue of the subject. Demotivating may include passing a current through the subject for causing pain or causing skeletal muscle contractions. Demotivating may include deterring voluntary movement by the subject (e.g., crawling, sliding, walking). Deterring voluntary movement may include notifying the subject of the possibility of passing a current through the subject (e.g., displaying electric arcs near the subject or in the way of passage of the subject through an area).
  • A drape controller may deploy a drape near a subject, leaving sufficient space for the subject to avoid or escape from coming into operating distance of the drape. A drape controller may also deploy one or more other drapes that do not provide the subject sufficient space to avoid or escape from coming into operating distance of the drape. As a result, a drape controller may define a safe zone and confine the subject to the safe zone by deterring voluntary movement of the subject out of the safe zone.
  • A drape controller may provide support for one or more drapes overhead of a subject. For example, positioner 103 may support drape 104. A drape controller may include all or some portions (e.g., a positioner) positioned overhead of the subject. In implementations where an overhead structure (e.g., part of a facility) supports drape 104, it is not necessary to locate any substantial portion of a drape controller overhead of the subject.
  • A drape controller may provide signals for the control and activation of one or more drapes. A drape controller may include one or more subsystems. For example, drape controller 103 includes a plurality of subsystems (four shown), each subsystem (120, 130, 140, 150) respectively including a bus interface (121 typical), a stimulator (131 typical), and a positioner (141 typical). Four subsystems are illustrated for clarity of description, though a system may include any number of subsystems. Each subsystem operates a portion of drape 104 in accordance with communication received on bus 106. For clarity of description, subsystems 120, 130, 140, and 150 are identical except for the portion of drape 104 being controlled and the circuit through the subject.
  • A bus interface comprises circuitry for the electrical and functional aspects of a bus. A bus comprises media for the distribution of power and/or communication signals among bus interfaces. Media may be wired or wireless using conventional technologies. For example, bus interface 112 provides power to bus 106 that distributes operative power to bus interfaces 121 for operation of subsystem 120. Bus interface 121 may receive power from bus 106 sufficient for operations of a stimulator and positioner. A bus interface may include back up power for use by the stimulator and/or positioner in the absence of sufficient power from bus 106. Bus 106 may provide power for recharging a battery of bus interface 121.
  • A bus interface may receive signals conveying commands to perform stimulate functions. Such signals may be received, demodulated, parsed, and output from bus interface 121 to stimulator 131. Commands may include electrode testing; applying (or re-applying) stimulus for a predetermined or commanded duration; and applying stimulus of a predetermined or commanded signal characteristics (e.g., pulse repetition rate, pulse amplitude, charge per pulse); requesting a report of delivery of current (if any) through electrodes identified in the command or as identified by stimulator 131. Communication may utilize a unique address for each bus interface in which case, bus interface 121 ignores commands that do not include the unique address of bus interface 121. Communication on bus 106 may apply to all subsystems concurrently, in which case unique addressing may be omitted with commensurate simplification of bus 106, and bus interfaces 112, 121, and bus interfaces in other subsystems (e.g., 130, 140, and 150). Communication may be ordinal based in which case bus interface 121 determines in any conventional manner its ordinal (“n”) (e.g., electrical position on daisy chain network 106), counts commands of the same type, and takes action consistent with its ordinal on the nth command of each type.
  • A daisy-chain network is a network having a series topology among subsystems. Except for the first and last members, each member of the network receives on a cable from one source a group of signals and provides the same signals on a cable to the next subsystem in series. Each subsystem may have circuitry to determine that it is a first or last member of the network (e.g., a terminal node). For example, base station 102 and subsystem 150 may be terminal nodes. In a preferred implementation, neither base station 102 nor any drape controller subsystem 120-150 determines whether it is a terminal node or takes action based on being a terminal node. Consequently, drape controller subsystems may be connected into or disconnected from the daisy-chain network 106 in any temporal sequence without changes to base station 102 or changes to processes using ordinal based communication.
  • Changes to bus 106 are preferably made with a safety switch 113 in the safety-on position. After network changes are completed, the safety switch is moved to the safety-off position. Subsystems may detect the safety-off condition by any suitable communication (e.g., wired or by command) and repeat a get-ordinal process. Processor 114 may detect the safety-off event and may begin an assign-addresses process to issue one or more commands for initialization of every subsystem now on the daisy-chain network 106.
  • A bus interface may receive signals conveying commands to perform drape control functions. Such signals may be received, demodulated, parsed, and output from bus interface 121 to positioner 141. Commands may include releasing a drape; moving a drape; stowing a drape; reporting on the current position of a drape; and emitting a notification from the drape. Commands may specify a portion of a drape to be affected by the command or to be the subject of a report. Communication with a positioner in all other respects may be analogous to communication with a stimulator as discussed above.
  • A bus interface may cooperate with a controller to determine a role for the subsystem in which the bus interface is installed. A bus interface may determine a unique address for further communication between the controller and bus interface. A bus interface may perform all functions defined by a communication protocol for supporting communication between a controller and components of a subsystem (e.g., a stimulator, a positioner).
  • A stimulator provides an electrical stimulus signal to accomplish interference with locomotion by a subject. The stimulus signal may ionize air in a gap between a conductor of the drape and tissue of the subject; and/or between a conductor of a reference and tissue of the subject. The stimulus signal may deliver electrical charge through tissue of the subject in an amount per pulse and at a pulse repetition rate suitable for causing pain and/or skeletal muscle contractions in the subject. Any conventional stimulator technologies may be used (e.g., circuitry of the type employed in a M26, X26, C2, Shockwave, or XREP product as marketed by TASER International, Inc.). Electricity enters and exits subject tissue by virtue of a conductor touching subject tissue or a conductor close enough to subject tissue (separated by a gap of air and/or clothing) for the voltage of a stimulus signal to ionize air in the gap. Source and return conductors and intervening ionized paths determine “contact points” on the subject for the entry and exit of electricity. The effectiveness of a stimulus signal may be enhanced by applying the stimulus signal across contact points that are separated by a shortest conduction path through subject tissue of at least 6 inches. Larger separations may be more effective because the current through a larger separation may affect greater pain and/or affect more skeletal muscles of the subject. A stimulator outputs across source and return conductors a voltage sufficient to deliver a current that delivers charge as discussed above. Where conductor contact with tissue cannot be assured, a stimulator may output across source and return conductors a voltage sufficient to ionize air in gaps of expected maximum lengths.
  • A drape includes any structure that facilitates draping one or more conductors onto a subject. A drape when in a hanging position may have a fixed end of a line (or fixed edge of a surface), a free end (or edge), and a length between the fixed end (or edge) and the free end (or edge). The fixed end (or edge) may be fixed relative to the position of an overhead structure so that the fixed end (or edge) does not move during deploying of the drape. Consequently, the fixed end (or edge) may support the drape in the hanging position. Any convenient point along the length may be used for supporting the hanging portion of the drape. For example, drape 104 may be installed over a region or over one or more borders of two or more zones. Drape 104 may include supports to elevate a portion of the drape to a point overhead with respect to subjects of the region or zones. Drape 104 may be attached to any overhead structure of a building. An overhead structure includes a door casing, an arch, a ceiling, a cover, a roof, a portico, a cross beam, an awning, a canopy, framework, ceiling suspension structure, or a truss.
  • In one implementation, a drape includes one conductor coupled to the source conductor of a stimulator. In another implementation, a drape includes several conductors, all of which are coupled to the source conductor of a stimulator. In yet another implementation, a drape includes two conductors, one coupled to the source and one coupled to the return of the stimulator. In still another implementation, a drape includes several conductors, some of which are coupled to the source conductor of the stimulator and some of which are coupled to the return conductor of the stimulator.
  • It is convenient to refer to a drape as any structure comprising all conductors that are simultaneously deployed. It is also convenient to refer to a drape as a set of conductors simultaneously activated (e.g., activated independently of other sets of the same deployment). It is also convenient to refer to a drape as a pair of hanging conductors that complete a circuit through a subject (e.g., joined or separate). It is also convenient to refer to a drape as a single conductor that is capable of being deployed and activated. The term ‘drape’ as used in any particular instance herein is understood to comprehend, in turn, each of these intended meanings unless such an interpretation cannot accomplish a practical result.
  • When a drape includes source and return conductors, a potential difference between the source and return conductors may ionize air in or across the drape and/or the conductors may come into contact with each other when the drape is activated. Such ionization and/or contact short circuits the stimulator output. Consequently, these conductors may be located (kept apart) and/or insulated along portions of the length to minimize short circuiting.
  • The flexibility of the drape may be substantially uniform or non-uniform. Non-uniformity may reduce the likelihood of short circuiting. Uniformity is preferred for draping any portion of the drape in a similar manner onto a subject. When a stimulus voltage sufficient to ionize air in a gap up to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) is output by the stimulator (e.g., up to 50 kilovolts) separation of source and return conductors in the drape generally must be more than 2 inches (5 cm).
  • A positioner allows modification of the position of the hanging portion of one or more drapes. Any conventional control technologies for the control of hanging objects may be used. A positioner may support or hold a drape in a stored position, release a drape (e.g., discontinue supporting or holding) so that the drape moves by gravity to a hanging position, move a drape vertically or horizontally to other hanging positions, return a drape to its stored position, and/or discard a drape (e.g., release the fixed end (or edge)). Releasing and deploying as used herein do not include discarding the drape; though reloading may include discarding as a prerequisite. A positioner may support the drape in the hanging position. For example, the positioner may attach to the fixed end (or edge); or attach to a supporting point along the length of the drape. Deploying a drape includes releasing a drape so that a hanging portion of the drape moves by gravity and may further include moving a hanging portion of a drape to other hanging positions. Deploying may be complete when the drape is hanging with relatively little movement. A positioner may control the releasing and/or reloading of a drape to avoid or damp movement of the drape. For example, positioner 141 supports a portion of drape 104 and cooperates with the positioners of subsystems 130-150 to move drape 104 between a stored position and a hanging position. Positioner 141 may include a release mechanism that supports drape 104 until a release command is received. On such a command, positioner 141 discontinues supporting drape 104 and drape 104 falls to the hanging position. Positioner 141 may include a reloading mechanism to move drape 104 back to the stored position. Reloading may be accomplished manually.
  • A reference may provide contact between the subject and a return conductor. A reference may support a subject, for example, when formed as a walkway. A reference may include a floor or be placed on top of a floor. For example, reference 105 includes a return conductor on which subject 151 stands. By standing on reference 105, tissue of the subject is within the ionization path length capability of stimulator 131. The return conductor of a reference may be coupled to a stimulator via a path that includes one or more of a facility ground or conductor, a power distribution system ground, a fluid distribution system (e.g., water pipe), and/or earth. For example, the return conductor of stimulator 131 is coupled to earth ground 161. The return conductor of reference 105 is coupled to earth ground 162.
  • When using reference 105, a complete circuit for a stimulus current through a subject may include stimulator 131, drape 104 (for the source conductor), subject 151, reference 105 (for the return conductor), and earth ground 162, 161 back to a return conductor of stimulator 131. Use of a reference may simplify drape 104 design by lowering the risk of short circuits in the drape. Use of a reference may improve reliability because only one conductor of a drape must be proximate to the subject.
  • Reference 105 may be omitted when drape 104 includes at least one conductor coupled to a stimulator source conductor and at least one conductor coupled to a stimulator return conductor. For example, a complete circuit for a stimulus current through a subject may include a stimulator of subsystem 130, drape 104 (for the source conductor), subject 152, drape 104 (for the return conductor), a return conductor of the stimulator of subsystem 140, and a coupling 163 between the remaining source and return conductors of the stimulators of subsystems 120 and 130 (e.g., outputs are coupled in series). For another example, a complete circuit for a stimulus current through a subject may include a stimulator of subsystem 150, drape 104 (for both source and return conductors, suitably insulated from each other), and subject 153.
  • In the case of subjects 152 and 153, the source and return conductors may be joined (though electrically insulated from each other) in drape 104 to avoid having to arrange for two independently hanging portions of drape 104 to likely be within range of subject tissue. Source and return conductors may be physically separated so that a sufficient distance through air provides isolation instead of or in addition to insulating materials applied to either or both source and return conductors. Joining source and return conductors with insulating materials may also reduce short circuiting.
  • A stimulator and positioner may cooperate according to a minimum of commands. For example, a combined deploy and activate command may be received and interpreted by bus interface 121 that passes signals to stimulator 131 and positioner 141. Timing of activation suitably after deployment is complete may be accomplished by bus interface 121. In another implementation, positioner 141 receives a deploy/activate signal from bus interface 121 and, at a suitable time after deployment is complete, outputs a suitable activate signal to stimulator 131. In yet another implementation, stimulator 131 receives a deploy/activate signal from bus interface 121 and delays activation for a period. During the period, stimulator 131 outputs a signal to positioner 141 to begin drape deployment. The end of the period may be determined by positioner 141 and reported to stimulator 131; or a predetermined time may be used by stimulator 131 to determine the end of the period.
  • A method for demotivating one or more subjects, according to various aspects of the present invention, may be performed by a system, such as system 100 of FIG. 1. Method 200 of FIG. 2 includes get-status-and-controls process 202, detect-subject process 204, notify process 206, deploy process 208, activate process 210, localize process 212, and reload process 214. Processes may be performed serially, concurrently, and/or simultaneously. Each process may be performed at any time that sufficient data for the process is available. Instructions for performing method 200 may be stored in memory 115 and performed by processor 114.
  • Get-status-and-controls process 202 enables area denial functions of system 100 in accordance with a user control (e.g., safety off) or in response to status (e.g., an event) reported to the system (e.g., preset date and time of day, detecting intrusion by a conventional intrusion alarm system). For example, a manually operated safety switch of controls 113 when set to “off” may enable interfering with locomotion of a subject. In a variation, not shown, deploy process 208 deploys drape 104 in response to area denial functions being enabled.
  • At any time after enabling area denial functions, the system detects (204) a subject (151, 152, or 153). Detecting may include identifying the position and/or direction of movement of the subject with respect to one or more zones. The height of the subject may be detected. The position of the subject's head may be detected (e.g., using conventional video image analysis). Detecting a subject may also include sounding messages and/or illuminating lights or signs in an attempt to guide the subject toward or away from one or more zones. Cooperation of the subject may enhance further detection or persuade the subject to leave the region.
  • Detecting may include detecting an identification or credential of a human or animal that is otherwise detected. When the identification and/or credential indicates that the human or animal is not to be treated as a subject, detection is not completed as to that human or animal. In this way, authorized personnel may enter, move about, and/or exit a region without affecting system operation to stop their entry, movements, or exit. For example, conventional radio frequency identification (RFID) may be used to detect credentials and/or identifications of humans and animals wearing suitable RFID tags.
  • Detecting may include responding to a control operated by a user, an output of another system, or a trigger type control operated (inadvertently) by a subject. For example, a trigger or control of controls 113 may be operated in response to detecting entry of a subject into a zone protected by drape 104. A trigger (113) may have RFID capability as discussed above to permit authorized persons to traverse the region protected by drape 104 without action taken by system 100.
  • A subsystem (120) may include a trigger for a zone or portion of drape 104. For each zone or portion of drape 104, such a trigger may detect presence, identification, and/or credentials of a subject or other human or animal as to that zone. When subsystem triggers are used, a general trigger control (113) may be omitted with commensurate simplifications of bus 106 and bus interfaces 112, 121, and the bus interfaces of other subsystems.
  • A detect-subject process responds to a system ready condition, for example as reported by a get-status-and-controls process 202. After detecting each subject as described above, detect-subject process 204 reports the zone in which each subject was detected.
  • In response to detecting (204), system 100 may emit one or more notifications directed to a user and/or to a subject. Notifications may be audible (e.g., recorded messages, tones) or visual. Notifications may be emitted from a drape in hanging position (along the length, from the free end (or edge)). Lights (not shown) may illuminate a drape, illuminate one or more borders, and/or illuminate one or more zones as a notification.
  • A notify process responds to notice of detected zones by emitting suitable notifications. For example, notify process 206 provides a notice to the user via speakers and/or displays (not shown) associated with controls 113. Notify process 206 may also provide notice to the detected subject and to other subjects via speakers. Notify process 204 may issue commands to positioner to effect notifications emitted by a drape.
  • In response to detecting (204), one or more drapes for one or more zones are deployed (206). Deploying a drape may include releasing a drape to fall from a stored position to attain a substantially known hanging position. Deploying a drape may include moving a drape. For example, a drape may be released when the system safety is set to off; later, when deployed, the drape may be moved to sweep through a region. Deploying may be complete, for example, when the drape is within operating range of a subject (e.g., less than about an inch from an exposed conductor to subject tissue). Deploying for a particular border or zone may be responsive to the detected position and/or direction of movement of the subject. Detecting and deploying may continue as to one or more borders or zones in any sequence. For example, further detecting (204) and deploying (208) may follow one subject. For another example, detecting and deploying may consequently deny the region to more than one subject at more than one time.
  • A deploy process responds to detected zones and releases and/or deploys one or more drapes. For example, deploy process 208 responds to detected zones and, after deploying, reports deployed drapes, borders, or zones. Deploy process 208 may issue suitable commands to one or more positioners 141.
  • In response to notice of each deployed zone activation is delayed until an activate or re-activate event occurs. An activate or re-activate event may be reported due to operation of a control of a user interface. For example, get-status-and-controls process 202 reports an activate event on operation of an activate control; and reports a re-activate event on operation of a re-activate control of controls 113. Activation includes activating a stimulator and at least one conductor of a drape for applying a current to a subject, as discussed above. Activating may continue for a predetermined period (e.g., 30 seconds in duration), for example, to allow time for authorized personnel to arrive at the scene and complete an arrest of the subject. After lapse of the predetermined period, another period may be delayed until a re-activate event occurs.
  • An activate process controls one or more stimulators as needed for one or more borders and/or zones. For example, activate process 210 issues one or more commands to stimulators 131 and the stimulators of other subsystems (e.g., 130, 140, and 150). Activate process 210 may determine whether an ionization voltage should be used or omitted, for example, on the basis of test results, discussed below. Activate process 210 may activate all or a selected subset of deployed drapes. Activate process 210 may report which drapes, borders, and/or zones are activated. Notify process 204 may respond to reports of activated drapes, borders, and/or zones with any suitable notifications, as discussed above. For instance, if only a portion of a drape proximate to one subject is activated, and the risk of other subjects is low, drapes that are not in operating range of the subject may be omitted from activation (or deactivated). When not activated, path testing may still be performed with respect to drapes and portions of drapes that are not activated.
  • An activate process may perform a reactivate function. A reactivate function may be initiated in response to action by a user via a user interface (113), initiated in response to failure of a user to take action (e.g., within a prescribed time period) against a subject (e.g., unattended reactivation), or by movement of a subject detected by a sensor (not shown). Reactivating may include all or a portion of activate process 210 for a repeated effect on all or part of drape 104.
  • After activation of a drape or portion of a drape, it may be desired to deactivate as many drapes in the region as possible to permit unrestricted movement of authorized personnel into and within the region to accomplish a speedy arrest of the subject. Deactivation is accomplished by a localize process. A localize process may determine which drapes and portions of drapes are needed to assure safety of authorized personnel and the security of the region. Activation may be limited to one or more drapes in operating range of the subject, one or more drapes nearby to the subject, and one or more drapes beyond the subject to protect access to a suitable remainder of the region.
  • Localizing may be implemented in control circuitry of a controller cooperating with a stimulator; or in control circuitry that is part of the stimulator. Assuming that localization is performed by a controller, the controller may issue a request to a stimulator to perform path testing between specified source and return conductors. The results of such path testing may be reported to the controller and localization process and be the basis for further deactivation and/or further path testing. Localize process 212 may issue commands to stimulators 131 and stimulators of other subsystems (e.g., 130, 140, and 150) for directing path testing and for receiving reports of the results of path testing. Methods of path testing employed in localizing may be of the type described as electrode testing in U.S. Pat. No. 7,057,872 to Smith.
  • For example, activate process 210 may respond to path testing requests from localize process 212 and supply path testing results to localize process 212. In response to localize process 212 reporting the identity of one or more borders and/or zones that are not local to the subject, activate process 210 may deactivate non-local borders and/or zones; and notify process may provide notifications for local and/or nonlocal zones that differ from the notifications provided before localization. Notifications may remain for local borders and zones that remain activated. Notifications may be discontinued for nonlocal borders and zones. Further, nonlocal zones may be returned to stored positions.
  • Deactivating drapes or portions of drapes may be desired to avoid completing a circuit for the current through the subject's head. After an initial exposure to the current, the subject may move suddenly and/or fall to the floor, changing position as to which draped conductors are useful for continuing the current through the subject. Selecting drapes to deactivate may proceed from human observation of the subject, aided by lighted notifications provided by the drapes. When video images taken from cameras monitoring the region are available for analysis by a controller (e.g., processor 114), conventional graphics and pattern recognition analysis may provide a basis for identifying and deactivating drapes presently or likely to be near the subject's head. On analogous bases, deactivated drapes that are no longer near the subject's head may be reactivated.
  • Reloading may include returning one or more drapes or portions of drapes to their stored positions. The stored position may conceal a drape or a portion of a drape from subjects. For example, reload process 214 may receive notice of a general or specific reload event from get-status-and-controls process 202; and/or receive a report from localize process 212 specifying drapes or portions of drapes to be reloaded. In response to such a notice or report, reload process issues commands to one or more positioners to initiate and/or control reloading. Reload process 214 may also issue commands to stimulators to assure that drapes or portions of drapes to be reloaded are deactivated prior to reloading. Reload process may also issue commands to positioners to issue notifications to a user to correct any abnormal conditions prior to reloading (e.g., clear obstacles, untangle drapes).
  • In other implementations of system 100 and method 200, detecting a subject may not be fully automated, reloading may not be fully automated, and/or localization may not be fully automated. For example, a user operating suitable controls may perform some of the functions attributed to the detect process (e.g., by human observation); some of the functions of the notify process; and some of the functions of the reload process (e.g., manual reloading). Commensurate simplifications of the positioner 141 and processor may be made. Additional manual controls may be added to controls 113 (e.g., inputs to deploy process 208). Where reloading is not automated, localize process 212 may be simplified to omit reloading of drapes and portions of drapes not local to the subject. Localization may omit path testing where the user by observation can identify and deactivate nonlocal drapes and/or portions of drapes using suitable controls for deactivating included in controls 113.
  • Processor 114 may include an assign-addresses process that assigns a unique address to each subsystem (e.g., 120, 130, 140, and 150). The wiring of bus 160 may establish a serial order of subsystems (e.g., a daisy chain network). A bus interface may include the capability to determine a unique address for itself. Any conventional address assignment and/or address determination technology may be used.
  • A processor may issue commands to subsystems. A command may instruct a subsystem via network 106 to perform a useful function (e.g., determine address, accept address assignment, enable subject detection, deploy, notify, activate, reactivate, enable localization, enable path testing, reload) as discussed above. A command may instruct a subsystem to initialize or change its configuration and/or accept software and/or data from the controller. A command may request a report from a subsystem via network 106 (e.g., report address, configuration, status). A command may instruct all subsystems to perform the useful function concurrently, simultaneously, or in turn (e.g., according to the role of each subsystem). A command may instruct all subsystems to change configuration and/or accept software and/or data in one broadcast from bus interface 112. A command may request a series of reports from subsystems. The series of reports may be transmitted in a sequence according to the role of each subsystem.
  • A user interface as discussed above may permit a user to initiate the issuance of one or more commands and/or affect the scope and content of one or more commands.
  • A bus may implement a network that couples components via links for communication. A network may permit any component of a system to communicate with any other component of the system. A network may support communication wherein any one component of system 100 (e.g., 102, 120, 130) may broadcast data to any number of other components (e.g., 140, 150). For example, bus 106 may include a network including any conventional medium (e.g., wired, wireless radio, wireless infrared), any conventional interface to the medium (e.g., cable driver circuits, sensors, receivers, transmitters), and analog and/or logic circuitry (e.g., modulation/demodulation, message formatting/parsing, protocol handling). The logic may be implemented with software to perform communication among similar or dissimilar components (e.g., any base station 102, any subsystem 120-150). Any conventional protocols may be used. Bus 106 may include one physical form and protocol stack or may comprise multiple physical forms and various protocol stacks joined, for example, by conventional bridge technology. In a preferred network, bus 106 includes a wired daisy-chain of identical cables.
  • A message communicated over a link may include a command and/or a report. A command issues from any base station or subsystem. A command may be recognized by any drape controller subsystem (e.g., by a command type field of the message) for reconfiguration, software transfer (to/from subsystem), request for status, safety-off (e.g., a request to reinitialize), safety-on, deploy, activate, and reload functions. A report may issue from any subsystem in response to a suitable request type of command.
  • A link couples a component to a network. A link may be wired or wireless regardless of whether the entire network is wired and/or wireless. A link may support communication continuously or at intervals of time. Intervals may depend on availability of network resources, extent of interference with the network (e.g., noise), and/or network traffic (e.g., link is operative when communication is necessary for a command or a reply).
  • A subsystem of an area denial system, as discussed above, may perform a useful function with respect to a border, drape, or zone and in further accordance with a role. A zone may include a physical area and/or a physical volume. A subsystem may affect humans or animals that may from time to time be within the zone. A subsystem may at any time or from time to time determine its role. For example, subsystem 120 may include a get-ordinal process, a count-commands process, and a perform-ordinal-command-per-role process of the type described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/118,657 filed May 9, 2008 by Beckwith, incorporated herein by reference.
  • System 100 may in addition or alternatively employ communication based on unique subsystems addresses. For example, subsystems 120-150 may each have the ability to selectively interrupt or maintain (e.g., repeat) command transmission on bus 106 to all down-stream subsystems. When bus 106 is a daisy-chain network, subsystem 120 is down-stream of base station 102; subsystem 130 is down-stream of subsystem 120; and so on due to the arrangement of conductors in links making bus 106 (e.g., each bus interface has an ‘in’ and an ‘out’ connector). An assign-address process performed by processor 114 may begin by commanding all subsystems to interrupt down-stream communication. Consequently, subsequent commands on the daisy-chain network are seen only by the first subsystem 120. Subsystem 120 is assigned a unique address (e.g., included in the command from base station 102) and may reply with its role. Subsystem 120 is then commanded to ignore further address assignment type commands and to reinstate down-stream command transmissions. An assign-address process then conducts a similar dialog with each subsystem 130-150, assigning a unique address to each subsystem 130-150. After unique addresses are assigned, a command may be directed to and performed by only one subsystem.
  • When system 100 does not employ ordinal based communication, then subsystems may omit a count-commands process.
  • When base station 102 or its controller is aware of the position (e.g., positional ordinal) of each subsystem 120-150 (e.g., as prescribed by a user at installation of system 100), it may accomplish salvo deployment, salvo activation, and/or salvo reloading. For example in response to a single trigger event, processor 114 may issue a suitable command or commands (ordinal based or addressed) to each subsystem having the same role as to the desired deployment (e.g., zones in first perimeter of a sequence of concentric perimeters), desired activation (e.g., spectrum of use of force from pain compliance to immobilization and duration of stimulus therefor), or desired reloading.
  • An area denial system, according to various aspects of the present invention, interferes with locomotion of a human of animal subject with respect to a border of a zone. Successful area denial may be complete as to a human or animal subject; or, incomplete yet sufficient as to a particular subject. Interfering may include deterring further voluntary movement with respect to the border or zone. Interference may include pain compliance (e.g. sufficiently interfering with locomotion or the will to continue voluntary locomotion) and/or immobilization (e.g., halting voluntary and involuntary locomotion). Force used to interfere may be applied to cause pain and/or to immobilize. Immobilization may include electrically disrupting the subject's voluntary control of its skeletal muscles. An amount of force applied may be determined with respect to a classification of the subject (e.g., kind of animal, human, size), a present location of the subject (e.g., more force at locations deeper within the zone), and/or a vector of the subject (e.g., velocity and direction of movement of the subject). In a simpler implementation, the same force may be used against all classes, locations, and vectors of subjects. The amount of force to be applied may be determined by a human operator of the area denial system based on the human operator's observation of the one or more subjects approaching or intruding in the zone.
  • An area denial system may take action to use force against a subject. A force used by an area denial system may be such as to have lethal effect to a high probability. Such force is herein called lethal force, for simplicity, realizing that unsuccessful uses may be non-lethal. A force used by an area denial system may be such as to have a non-lethal effect to a high probability. Such force is herein called non-lethal force, for simplicity, realizing that improbable uses may be lethal.
  • A lethal force may permanently halt subject locomotion through a border. A non-lethal force may temporarily halt locomotion of the subject so that conventional methods may be used to arrest the subject (e.g., a guard affixing shackles and/or handcuffs to the subject).
  • Functional goals of an area denial system, according to various aspects of the present invention, include adversely affecting every instance of a desired type of subject that intrudes an area designated as a denial zone so that the subject does not proceed across a border of the zone, interfering with (e.g., halting) locomotion sufficiently for the arrest of every instance of a desired type of subject that intrudes the denial zone, exhibiting a high degree of accuracy in deployment of non-lethal force, exhibiting a high probability of effective use of force, exhibiting a low probability of false alarm, exhibiting a low probability of insensitivity to the desired type of subject, and facilitating, as discussed above, the initial installation of the controller and subsystems, exchange of a controller or subsystems for maintenance, rearrangement of subsystems for different objectives, addition of subsystems, and removal of subsystems. Preferred implementations of systems and methods of the present invention accomplish several of these functional goals.
  • Passing a current through a human or animal subject may cause pain and/or halt locomotion. Preferably, the current through a subject halts locomotion by overwhelming voluntary control of subject skeletal muscles by the subject. Various examples of currents that accomplish halting of locomotion, circuits that produce such currents, and methods of producing such currents are described in the various subsystem descriptions herein. Systems and methods according to the present invention may include any of the described currents, circuits, and methods of producing such currents.
  • A command signals a subsystem to perform a particular function including any particular useful function with respect to the border. The set of commands designed for a subsystem may include several different particular useful functions related to a border. For example, a drape controller, according to its type or role, may respond to a particular deploy and/or activate command for each of several types of drapes. Types of drapes may differ in any suitable aspect, for example, length (e.g., effective distance from a fixed end (or edge) to the subject) and/or style (e.g., line, surface, net, sheet, open border, border that fully encloses the subject). As another example, commands may differ for different denial actions (e.g., notify the subject, pain compliance, halt locomotion). In accordance with ordinal based communication as discussed above, by repeating a particular type of command (e.g., forming a series of identical commands that are counted by each subsystem), each subsystem in turn by role will perform the action requested by the command.
  • A report may inform the base station of the current state and status of a subsystem. State and status may describe initialization complete/incomplete, configuration complete/incomplete, identification of installed software, types of available drapes, battery capacity, role, and/or built in test equipment test results. In accordance with ordinal based communication as discussed above, by repeating the command requesting a report (e.g., forming a series of identical commands that are counted by each subsystem), each subsystem in turn replies with its report.
  • A positioner may deploy and/or activate any number of drapes substantially simultaneously. For example, an environment 300 of FIGS. 3A and 3B includes a demotivator installation. The environment includes a floor 306, and ceiling 308. Supports 310 support conductors of the demotivator in storage locations out of view of a subject 302 who is approaching a door 304. A sensor, not shown, triggers deployment and activation of the demotivator. Deployment includes releasing drape 316 from its stored location by removing support for drape 316 formerly provided by supports 310. Drape 316 comprises 3 lines of 11 identical conductors. Conductor 318 falls by gravity out of a storage location in ceiling 310 to a maximum length ending at least 2 inches (5 cm) away from floor 306. A fixed end of conductor 318 (not shown) remains attached to an overhead structure above ceiling 308.
  • Conductor 318 is pulled away from its fixed end by tension caused by gravity acting on conductor 318 and on bob 328. Bob 328 provides a mass attached to the free end of conductor 318. For example, bob 328 may have a diameter of 0.5 to 4 inches (1 to 10 cm) and a weight of 1 to 8 ounces (28 to 227 g). To reduce the chance of injury to subject 302 caused by bob 328, bob 328 may be deformable, preferably with a construction of a type known as a bean bag. Bob 328 is not conductive. Conductor 318 may be made of flexible bare wire to drape easily onto subject 302. Floor 308 includes a reference conductor. All 33 conductors of drape 316 are driven by one or more stimulators to concurrently have the same voltage with respect to the reference conductor. Shorting between conductors of the drape thereby does not reduce the effectiveness of the stimulator(s) against the subject. A stimulus current flows through a few conductors of drape 316 that rest against subject 302, through subject 302, and through the reference conductor in floor 306. The voltage from a conductor of drape 316 to subject tissue may be sufficient to ionize air in a first gap that may exist between the conductor and tissue of the subject and a second gap that may exist between tissue of the subject and the reference conductor (e.g., up to 50 kilovolts for a sum of gap lengths of up to 2 inches (5 cm)). The current causes contractions of skeletal muscles in subject 302. Consequently, subject curls forward, is unable to maintain balance, falls toward floor 306 and while falling may change position and orientation with respect to conductors of drape 316. Because at least one conductor of drape 316 is at all times draped onto subject 302, inhibiting locomotion of subject 302 by the current continues as long as the current is sourced through a circuit that includes the subject.
  • A region may be divided into zones as discussed above. For example region 350 of FIG. 3C includes a room with exterior wall 351 enclosing an interior area and interior wall 359. Door 352 is protected by a demotivator having drape 316 which is deployed as 3 parallel lines in front of door 352. The remainder of the room has borders that define zones. Zone 354 lies within borders 361 and 362. Zone 355 lies within borders 362 and 363. Zone 356 lies within borders 361 and 364. Zone 357 lies within borders 363, 364, and 365. Zone 358 lies between border 365 and drape 366. Drapes when deployed hang over all of the aforementioned borders.
  • Drapes at various borders may apply different uses of force against subjects. For example, a drape over border 365 may provide a current intended for pain compliance. Drapes over borders 366 may provide a current for immobilization by skeletal muscle contractions. In another implementation, a drape over border 365 may provide immobilization for 5 seconds and drapes over borders 366 may provide immobilization for 30 seconds.
  • A system having several drapes may deploy any number of drapes in a sequence in accordance with manual controls or any number of triggers. For example, a trigger that detects a subject between walls 351 and 359 may in a first stage deploy drape 365 and one of the three line drapes at 366; and in a second stage deploy the remaining two lines of drape 365. Drapes 361-364 may remain in stored positions during the first and second stages. A system having several types of activation may activate any number of drapes in a sequence in accordance with manual controls or any number of triggers. Continuing with the above example, in a first stage drape 365 may emit notice (e.g., flash with light and or emit arcing sound) but not activate for delivery of current through the subject. In a second stage, drapes 366 and 365 may be activated for delivery of current through the subject.
  • Path testing may provide notice to a user or nearby authorized personnel that a current is being delivered through a subject. For example, since a view of zone 358 may be obscured by wall 359, notice of current delivery through a subject may alert a user to inspect the area for subjects, preferably while the current is being delivered. Any conventional notification technology may be used (e.g., audible alarm, visual alarm, radio broadcast, wireless network messaging, personal wireless paging).
  • In operation, for example, region 350 is a common area of a prison and a fight erupts in region 357. To take control of the region, an observing security officer initially deploys and activates drapes over borders 361-365 using a base station beyond door 352. The deployed and activated drapes emit flashing lights when activated and do not emit light when deactivated. Authorized personnel enter region 350 at door 353 desiring to clear zone 355. Because inmates are not likely to successfully traverse any of the borders over which activated drapes hang, the number of inmates involved in the disturbance in zone 357 is not likely to increase to include prisoners in other zones. After zone 355 is cleared, the drape over border 363 may be deactivated to permit authorized personnel to enter zone 357 and arrest the fighting inmates. After the arrests, all drapes may be deactivated and reloaded.
  • The source conductor(s) and/or return conductor(s) of a drape and/or reference may be arranged to facilitate deployment and/or activation in accordance with borders and/or zones. For a first example, a portion of a drape arranged on a line may include sets of parallel conductors of the same function (i.e., source or return). The portion of drape 400 of FIG. 4 includes 9 conductors hanging in parallel from overhead structure 440 and extending toward reference 430. For example, with an overhead structure 9 feet (2.7 m) from the floor, each conductor may be 8 feet (2.4 m) in length and separated from other conductors by 18 inches (0.45 m). The 9 conductors are identical and uninsulated for a majority of the length (e.g., 6 feet (1.8 m)), conductor 418 being exemplary. Proceeding away from overhead structure 440, conductor 418 includes a fixed end 420 at overhead structure 440, an insulated wire 422 extending below shoulder height of an average adult (to reduce the possibility of stimulus current paths through the head of the subject), a flexible and uninsulated wire 424 for draping the subject and conducting the current, a free end 426, and a bob 428 (e.g., a non-conducting mass with low risk of injuring a subject when falling from overhead structure 440). Bob 428 may be located to separate the uninsulated free end 426 at least 2 inches (5 cm) away from reference conductor 431. Drape 400 includes, from left to right, a 3-member set of conductors 402 hanging over reference conductor 431, a 3-member set of conductors 408 hanging over reference conductor 432, and a 3-member set of conductors 414 hanging over reference conductor 433. All 9 conductors are electrically connected to a common conductor 442 in overhead structure 440. Using conventional switching circuitry between one or more stimulators (e.g., one for drape 400 or one for each set 402, 408, 414), either the source or return conductor of the stimulator may be connected or selectively coupled to common conductor 442 and the other conductor (return or source) connected or selectively coupled to one or more reference conductors 431, 432, 433. Each reference conductor defines an individual border; or a line segment of a common border.
  • If a subject completes a circuit for a stimulus current to flow in one or more conductors of drape 408, for example, localization may result in deactivation of drapes 402 and 414. Deactivated drapes 402 and 414 may indicate a deactivated state by suitable notifications as discussed above. In alternative, or in addition, drape 408 may indicate a suitable notification that it is activated and may further notify as to a type of activation (e.g., sufficient to notify, sufficient for pain compliance, sufficient for current without ionization, sufficient for current with ionization, sufficient for pain compliance, sufficient for immobilization by skeletal muscle contractions).
  • Reference conductors (e.g., 431, 432, 433) may be installed in the grout lines between tiles of a tile floor. These conductors are protected from wear, being somewhat recessed from foot traffic.
  • The layout of drapes illustrated by one line drape 400 may be extended in the third dimension. The view of FIG. 4 is then interpreted as a cross-sectional view of a drape of the type illustrated at 316 in FIG. 3B. In particular, each drape 418 of set 402 may include a plurality (e.g., 11) drapes in a line perpendicular to the line of drapes 402 shown in FIG. 4. Drape 402 then includes 33 conductors similar to conductor 418. Reference conductor 431 may also be extended to lie under the plurality of 33 drapes of the extended set 402. Reference conductor 431, instead of defining a border as discussed above, now defines an area that may be an individual zone or part of a zone.
  • A conductor of a drape may include a series of insulated and uninsulated segments along its length to reduce the possibility of short circuiting. For a second example, drape 500 includes 12 conductors hanging in parallel from overhead structure 540 toward reference 530. Conductor 518, identical to the other 11 conductors, includes, proceeding from overhead structure 540 to reference 530, a fixed end 520, an insulated portion 522, a segment of wire where the insulation has been removed to expose bare wire only at several locations 524 that are spaced along the length of conductor 518, a free end 528, and a bob 528 attached to the free end 528. Bob 528 and insulated portion 526 of conductor 518 are dimensioned to separate reference conductor 532 at least 2 inches (5 cm) from the nearest uninsulated portion of conductor 518. Insulated portion 526 may also extend a suitable distance away from reference 530 to allow a subject's head to lie against reference 530 yet still avoid being included in stimulus current paths through the subject's head. The entire length of conductor 518 is preferably flexible to drape against the subject.
  • Drape 500 includes, from left to right, a 4-member set of conductors 502 electrically connected to conductor 541, a 3-member set of conductors 508 electrically connected to conductor 542, and a 3-member set of conductors 514 electrically connected to conductor 543. All 11 conductors are operable with return conductor 532. Using conventional switching circuitry between one or more stimulators (e.g., one for drape 500 or one for each set 502, 508, 514), either the source or return conductor of the stimulator may be connected or selectively coupled to common conductor 442 and the other conductor (return or source) connected or selectively coupled to one or more reference conductors 431, 432, 433. Each reference conductor defines an individual border; or a line segment of a common border.
  • Drape 500 may be operated (e.g., deployed, activated, localized) in a manner analogous to drape 400. Line borders are defined by conductors 541, 542, and 543 in overhead structure 540. In a way analogous to the discussion of drape 400, conductors 541, 542, and 543 may extend in a third dimension perpendicular to the line borders shown in FIG. 5 to define zones. One or more stimulators may, in a way analogous to the discussion of drape 400, be selectively coupled to common reference conductor 532 and one or more of conductors 541, 542, and 543 to facilitate activation and localization by border (or border segment) and/or by zone.
  • Two or more conductors of a drape may be joined as discussed above and include alternating insulated and uninsulated portions. By providing insulating material throughout the length of a drape, the tensile strength of the drape may be improved; and the flexibility of the drape uniformly maintained. Flexibility over the useful life of the drape assures uniform draping of subjects. The insulating material may prevent sharp bends in conductors, reducing working of the conductive material with resulting brittleness and breaking. For example, drape 600 of FIG. 6 comprises a pair of cylindrical, insulated conductors 602 and 604 joined along their length. Conductor 602 is insulated at portions (612, 616) adjacent to uninsulated portions (622, 626) of conductor 604 and vice versa (624, 614). Insulation may include any conventional materials, such as various types of plastic, rubber, and enamel.
  • A conductor may be formed on a single filament (e.g., strand) or multiple filaments. Multiple filaments may be stranded or braided in any conventional manner. Braided filaments are preferred for draping due to reliable flexibility and a resistance to shape memory (kinking, twisting, coiling).
  • Reloading of a drape may be accomplished by lifting the drape. Lifting a drape may be accomplished by applying a lifting force to the conductor of a drape, or to material(s) joined to the conductor of the drape. A drape may include fasteners that facilitate mechanically coupling a lifter to the drape. A lifter may employ tension to lift the drape, or employ vacuum to lift the drape.
  • The combination of a lifter and a container for the lifted drape is herein called a pod. A container may include a cover having an open position and a closed position to close the container. Closing the container may provide support for a drape stored in the container. When the container is opened, the drape may fall by gravity to deploy.
  • For a first of several examples, pod 700 of FIG. 7 includes motor assembly 702, container 704, line 716, and hook 720. Drape 718 includes fixed end (or edge) 722. Drape 718 may be formed as a line or surface (e.g., ribbon, sheet) similar in structure to drape 318, 418, 518, or 600. Pod 700 may be mounted in overhead support structure 706 or may be integral to overhead structure 706. Fixed end (or edge) 722 may be attached to pod 700 or overhead structure 706. Wiring of drape 718 at fixed end (or edge) 722 to a stimulator may be analogous to wiring discussed with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5 (omitted for clarity of presentation). Motor assembly 702 may include a conventional motor, clutch, and spool (not shown) for taking up and storing the length of line 716. Container 704 provides space for drape 718 in a stored position. Line 716 couples drape 718 to motor assembly 702 via hook 720 coupled to fastener 724. Fastener 724 may be a ring fastened (e.g., looped through or bonded) to an insulated portion (e.g., woven fabric) of drape 718 or to an uninsulated portion (e.g., soldered). Fastener 718 may be located at a midpoint in the length of drape 718. Additional lines, hooks, and rings may be used to reduce the size of container 704.
  • To deploy drape 718, motor assembly 702 may release its clutch to allow free fall of drape 718 to its full length, stopped by tension in the drape and fixed end (or edge) 722. A clutch may be omitted and motor 702 driven to pay out sufficient line 716 for deployment and for suitable braking of acceleration of drape 718 toward the end of its length. Gravity may maintain tension in drape 718 against the tension in line 716. Whether free falling or falling against line tension, the force of gravity deploys drape 718 (i.e., without gravity, drape 718 would not move out of pod 704).
  • To reload drape 718, motor assembly 702 engages its clutch and winds line 716 about its spool (not shown). Consequently, line 716 shortens, lifting drape 716 with two folds into container 704. Limiting the number of folds may decrease a risk of tangling conductors of drape 718 which may not be joined to each other over the length of drape 718. A portion of drape 718 may remain outside container 704. When all of drape 718 is contained within container 704, the opening of container 704 may be covered in any conventional manner (not shown) to conceal drape 718 from subjects. Motor assembly 702 may maintain drape 718 within container 704 by means of a conventional latch or brake (not shown). A cover, if used, may support drape 718 within container 704.
  • Motor assembly 202 may be omitted when line 716 is pulled manually, for example, over a pulley inside and at the top of container 704. A friction or ratchet type line control of the type for use with window blinds may be used in place of the pulley.
  • Pod 800 of FIG. 8 includes motor assembly 802, container 804, and line 816. Drape 818 includes fixed end (or edge) 822. Drape 818 may be formed as a line or surface (e.g., ribbon, sheet) similar in structure to drape 718. Pod 800 may be mounted in overhead support structure 806 or may be integral to overhead structure 806. Fixed end (or edge) 822 may be attached to pod 800 or overhead structure 806. Wiring of drape 818 at fixed end (or edge) 822 to a stimulator may be analogous to wiring of drape 718. Motor assembly 802 may include a conventional motor, clutch, and spool (not shown) for taking up and storing the length of line 816. Container 804 provides space for drape 818 in a stored position. Line 816 couples drape 818 to motor assembly 802 at fixed end 824 of line 816. Slip rings 832 that are attached to drape 818 and slide on line 816 may be used to force folds in drape 818. Attachment for slip rings 832 may be analogous to attachment of fastener 724.
  • Deploying and reloading of drape 818 may be in a manner analogous to deployment and reloading of drape 718. Drape 818 may require less vertical distance in container 804 due to multiple folds (13 shown) forced by slip rings 832.
  • Pod 900 of FIGS. 9A and 9B does not include a motor assembly. Instead, reloading is accomplished manually. Pod 900 includes container 904, supporting cover 908, latch 912, latch releaser 910, and cup 932. Drape 918 includes fixed end (or edge) 922 and free end 928. Drape 918 may be formed as a line or surface (e.g., ribbon, sheet) similar in structure to drape 718. Pod 900 may be mounted in overhead support structure 906 or may be integral to overhead structure 906. Fixed end (or edge) 922 may be attached to pod 900 or to overhead structure 906. Wiring of drape 918 at fixed end (or edge) 922 to a stimulator may be analogous to wiring of drape 718. Container 904 provides space for drape 918 in a stored position within cup 932. Cup 932 includes sufficient space within cup 932 to loosely coil drape 918 (e.g., if a line or ribbon) or to stack drape 918 (e.g., if a sheet). Cup 932 fits within container 904, rests on the inner surface of supporting cover 908, and is supported within container 904 by supporting cover 908. Cup 932 may fall free of drape 918 when drape 918 is deployed. Cup 932 may be fixed to drape 918 as a type of bob as discussed above.
  • Latch 912 maintains supporting cover 908 in a closed position. Releaser 910 opens latch 912 so that supporting cover 908 moves to an open, non-supporting position, allowing cup 932 and drape 918 to fall. Latch 912 and releaser 910 may be of any conventional electro-mechanical construction. For example, where operation of latch 912 to release supporting cover 908 includes twisting or sliding latch 912 on a rotary axis or a linear axis, latch releaser 910 may include a motor or solenoid to affect such motion. Latch 912 may include a conventional latch, catch, fastener, pin, hook, lip, hasp, magnet, or armature. Supporting cover may include a door, hatch, or plate. To open container 904, supporting cover may include a hinge, slide, or pivot.
  • Deploying drape 918 comprises operation of latch 912 by releaser 910 to permit supporting cover 908 to swing away toward an open position as shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B. Without support from supporting cover 908, cup 932 is pulled by gravity out of container 904. Consequently drape 918 falls to its full length. Cup 932 may be manually removed from the proximity of drape 918.
  • Reloading drape 918, performed by a user, includes scooping free end 928 of drape 918 into cup 932, manually lifting cup 932, and guiding drape 918 into a loose stack or coil inside cup 932. When most of drape 918 is contained within cup 932, cup 932 may be pushed into container 904 and supporting cover 908 moved against it to a closed position. Latch 912 may be positioned to hold supporting cover 908 in the closed position, consequently securing and concealing drape 918 in cup 932 and in container 904.
  • In another implementation, reloading includes manually transferring drape 918 at a position illustrated in FIG. 9B out of cup 932, moving supporting cover 908 to support drape 918, inserting drape 918 into container 904 by closing supporting cover 908, and then latching supporting cover 908 into a closed position. Cup 932 is not needed and may be stored elsewhere. In such an implementation, deploying drape 918 proceeds as discussed above, but cup 932 (not present) does not fall with drape 918.
  • Pod 1000 of FIGS. 10A and 10B includes suction assembly 1002, container 1004, and supporting cover 1008. Pod 1000 may be mounted in overhead support structure 1006 or may be integral to overhead structure 1006. Fixed end (or edge) 1023 may be sealed to container 1004 or to overhead structure 1006. Wiring of drape 1018 at fixed end (or edge) 1022 to a stimulator may be analogous to wiring of drape 718. Suction assembly 1002 may include a conventional motor, air pump, and valve (not shown). The air pump and valve may be in fluid communication with the interior of envelope 1016. Container 1004 provides space for drape 1018 in a stored position. Drape 1018 includes conductor 1020 mounted within envelope 1016. Drape 1018 includes fixed end (or edge) 1023 and free end (or edge) 1025. Free end 1025 is sealed with closure 1021. Closure 1021, in addition to sealing envelope 1016 may perform the functions of a bob as discussed above. Conductor 1020 includes an end 1022 located in container 1004 and another end 1026 located near drape free end 1025. Drape 1018 may be formed as a tube or box supporting one or more conductors 1020. Conductor 1020 may stack or collapse for storage as shown in FIG. 10B. For example, when envelope 1016 defines a tube (e.g., circular or regular polyhedron in cross section), conductor 1020 may be wound in spring like fashion on an interior and/or exterior surface of envelope 1016. In one implementation, conductor 1020 includes a helical form within envelope 1016. Envelope 1016 may be formed of flexible plastic sheet, fabric, paper, or conductive foil. Conductor 1020 may include an extension spring force toward an equilibrium when drape 1018 is deployed to its full length.
  • Deploying drape 1018 includes opening the valve to couple the interior of envelope 1016 to ambient air, and operating latch 1012 by releaser 1010 to permit supporting cover 1008 to swing away toward an open position as shown in FIGS. 10A and 10B. Without support from supporting cover 1008, drape 1018 is pulled by gravity out of container 1004 and fills with air through the open valve. Consequently drape 1018 falls to its full length. A spring force contributed by conductor 1020 may contribute to the force deploying drape 1018. In another implementation, the valve is omitted and envelope 1016 is inflated to its full capacity. Inflation may be by compressed fluid (e.g., air) from a holding tank (not shown) or from a compressor (e.g., suction assembly 1002 run in reverse).
  • Reloading drape 1018, performed by suction assembly 1002, includes closing the valve and removing by suction the fluid (e.g., air) from envelope 1016. Supporting cover may be returned to a closed position and held by latch 1012 in any conventional manner (e.g., manually and/or by a suitable mechanism). After supporting cover 1008 is latched, suction assembly 1002 is no longer needed and may be removed or disabled. The valve may be opened in preparation for a subsequent deployment.
  • The combination of a releaser and storage for a drape is herein called a reloadable cartridge. Reloading may be accomplished manually. Reloading may include discarding a deployed drape and installing a drape that is already prepared in storage position (e.g., a factory wound spool of drapery).
  • Reloadable cartridge 1100 of FIGS. 11A, 11B, and 12 includes releaser 1102, spool 1104, base 1208, and bob 1128. Reloadable cartridge 1100, as shown, deploys a line type drape for manual reloading. Drape 1118 includes fixed end (or edge) 1117 and free end (or edge) 1119. Drape 1118 may be formed as a line or surface (e.g., a ribbon) similar in structure to drapes 318, 418, 518, or 600. Reloadable cartridge 1100 may be mounted in (e.g., recessed) or on overhead support structure 1101 or may be integral to overhead structure 1101. Fixed end (or edge) 1117 may be attached to spool 1104. Wiring of drape 1118 at fixed end (or edge) 1117 to a stimulator may be analogous to wiring of drape 718.
  • Releaser 1102 includes a solenoid having a wound stator 1202 and a permanent magnet armature 1204. Armature 1204 is captive to stator 1202. When stator winding 1202 is not energized, armature 1204 assumes a position as shown in FIG. 12 where contact surface 1206 attracts and holds post 1126 of bob 1128. When stator 1202 is energized, armature 1204 retracts suddenly into stator 1202. In the retracted position, armature 1204 is not in contact with post 1126, and post 1126 falls away from releaser 1102.
  • A spool includes any structure for storing a drape in a wound manner. For example, spool 1104 includes an outer surface 1223 for windings, a central bore 1225, and a threaded stem 1227. Spool 1104 provides space for storing drape 1118 when drape 1118 is wound about outer surface 1223, as shown in FIGS. 11B and 12. On release of bob 1128 from releaser 1102, post 1126 drops out of central bore 1225 and pulls drape 1118 off of spool 1104.
  • Base 1208 is joins spool 1104 to releaser 1102. For example, threaded stem 1227 screws into a threaded bore of base 1208. Base 1208 is bonded or otherwise attached to releaser 1102 in any manner that permits operation of armature 1204 and post 1126, as discussed above.
  • Bob 1128 provides a deformable mass 1122 for reducing the likelihood of injury to a subject if deployment is initiated when a subject is under reloadable cartridge 1100. Bob 1128 further includes a post 1126 formed of ferromagnetic material. Fixed end (or edge) 1119 of drape 1118 may be attached to post 1126 where post 1126 meets deformable mass 1122.
  • Reloading drape 1118 includes manually winding drape 1118 onto spool 1104 and inserting post 1126 through bore 1225 until armature 1206 retains it in a stored position.
  • A processor may include any conventional hardware (e.g., analog and/or digital circuitry) and software for computing (e.g., performing methods automatically, performing mathematical calculations, responding in accordance with a result of a calculation), receiving data, and/or converting data. A special purpose logic circuit may replace a general purpose processor. A processor may further include data storage (e.g., circuits, drives), peripherals, user interfaces, protocol stacks, operating systems, particular application software, and configuration control software. User interfaces may be used for network node maintenance, performance evaluation, and monitoring during operation. Functions performed by a processor may include inter alia initiating and responding to network communication, monitoring zero or more borders, cooperating with drape controller subsystems for activating (or deploying then activating) one or more drapes (e.g., performing deployment controls, performing stimulus controls, obtaining status and deployment capabilities, commanding reconfiguration, commanding deployment, commanding activation, commanding reactivation, commanding reloading), tactical coordination among drape controller subsystems, and reporting use of force (incidents involving subject detection, drape deployments, activations, reactivations, descriptions of charge delivered to subjects, reloadings).
  • A stimulator may include a circuit to determine an effectiveness of an activation (e.g., a use of force) against a subject. A controller (or a user) in response to (or display of) such a status report may make adjustments to improve the effectiveness (or likely effectiveness) of a subsequent action. For example, adjustments may include selecting or changing drapes and/or criteria for deployment/activation as discussed herein. A processor of a base station (e.g., 114 or 102) may receive data that indicate, whether a current has been delivered through the subject, and a description of such current (e.g., duration of a series of pulses, pulse width, pulse separation, pulse rate, whether ionization potentials were used, charge delivered per pulse). A controller may use information indicating that subject locomotion has not halted and/or that no current was provided through the subject to adjust, inter alia, subsequent prediction of locations of draping (e.g., increase deployed length of drape, use other borders or drapes for predicted draping).
  • Status may include a description of a disturbance. Tampering with a subsystem may be a disturbance. Detecting tampering may include detecting vibration, shock, loss of communication capability on a wired link, loss of throughput on a wireless link, or a loss of power.
  • A drape controller subsystem may report its capabilities to a base station (e.g., processor 114). A drape controller subsystem may detect and report installed drapes, positioners, and stimulators of various types. A drape controller subsystem may report remaining deployment capabilities after a deployment or drape control command. For example, a positioner may disconnect the fixed end (or edge) of a drape to facilitate arrest of the subject or simplify reloading. A replacement drape may be packaged as a cartridge containing one or more drapes prepared for deployment.
  • Demotivating may result in movement of the subject to decrease a psychological or physiological effect of demotivating. Movement may be voluntary or involuntary. To effect a scaled movement of the subject, demotivating, according to various aspects of the present invention may also be performed in a scaled manner. To effect an unscaled movement, a demotivator is operated to encourage one expected movement by the subject. To effect a scaled movement, a demotivator may be operated according to scaled demotivation to encourage a series of expected movements. Member movements of the series may differ in direction (e.g., to corral the subject into confinement). Member movements of the series may differ in intensity along a range of intensities including, for example, moving to observe the source of a notice, moving to voluntarily stay out of range of a drape, moving the upper body in response to brief pain, involuntary movement due to inhibited control, interference, or loss of control of muscles (e.g., brief loss of balance). Member movements of the series may differ in expected muscles involved in the movement, for example, hand and arm muscles, trunk muscles, leg muscles, or a general skeletal muscle response. Movements of a series may encourage a subject to assume a seated or prone position.
  • To effect a scaled demotivation, a series of demotivating functions may be performed. Member functions of the series may differ in duration. For example, an increasing duration may be used: a short duration may be initially applied and longer durations applied subsequently. Member functions of the series may differ in intensity of the same form of demotivation: more or less apprehension, more or less pain, more or less interference with use of muscles, more or less inhibiting use of muscles, partial to full immobilization of the body of the subject. Member functions of the series may differ in form of demotivation. For example, demotivating by apprehension may be followed by demotivating by pain, followed by demotivating by full immobilization of the body of the subject. Member functions of the series may differ in the selection of drapes to be deployed. For example, by deploying drapes in a series, activating drapes in a series, and/or activating a notice function of drapes in a series, the subject may be encouraged to move in a desired direction, shown a path for escape, or corralled into a convenient region or zone. Member functions of the series may differ in deployed drape length. For example, a drape from an overhead structure may be initially deployed to a shoulder level for a first period with a current intended for a pain response and subsequently deployed to longer lengths for each of one or more periods to encourage movements of the subject toward the floor of the region. A region near the floor may be provided in which the subject may be out of range of current from the drape. Members of the series of functions may comprise demotivating techniques that are increasingly more difficult to escape.
  • A signal generator provides a current to interfere with locomotion of the subject. A signal generator may, in any order perform one or more of the following operations: select conductors for use in a stimulus signal delivery circuit, ionize air in a gap between the conductor and the subject, provide an initial stimulus signal, provide alternate stimulus signals, and respond to input (e.g., from processor 114) to control any of the aforementioned operations.
  • Current through a subject may be provided by any conventional waveform generator. For example, stimulator 131 may be of the type described as a signal generator or waveform generator described solely in any of the following U.S. patents or in any combination of teachings therein: U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,803,463 to Cover, 5,750,918 to Mangolds, 6,636,412 and 7,057,872 to Smith, and 7,102,870 to Nerheim.
  • A stimulus signal includes any signal delivered via conductors to establish or maintain a stimulus signal delivery circuit through the subject and/or to interfere with locomotion by the subject. The purposes of a stimulus signal may be accomplished with a signal having a plurality of stages. Each stage may comprise a period of time during which one or more pulse waveforms are consecutively delivered via a waveform generator and source and return conductors coupled to the waveform generator.
  • Stages from which a complete stimulus signal may be constructed include in any practical order: (a) a path formation stage for ionizing an air gap (e.g., forming an arc across the gap) that may be in series with the electrode to the subjects tissue; (b) a path testing stage for measuring an electrical characteristic of the stimulus signal delivery circuit (e.g., whether or not an air gap exists in series with the subject's tissue); (c) a strike stage for immobilizing the subject; (d) a hold stage for discouraging further motion by the subject; and (e) a rest stage for permitting limited mobility by the subject (e.g., to allow the subject to catch a breath). A repeated stage may have a repetition rate (e.g., to accomplish from 5 to 20 pulses per second, each pulse with arc formation).
  • The initial voltage may be a relatively high voltage for paths that include ionization to be maintained or a relatively low voltage for paths that do not include ionization. The initial voltage may correspond to a stimulus peak voltage (SPV) without ionization may be from about 100 to about 600 volts, preferably from about 350 volts to about 500 volts, most preferably about 400 volts. The termination voltage may be determined to deliver a predetermined charge per pulse. Charge per pulse minimum may be designed to assure continuous muscle contraction as opposed to discontinuous muscle twitches. Continuous muscle contraction has been observed in human subjects where charge per pulse is above about 15 microcoulombs. A minimum of about 50 microcoulombs is used in one implementation. A minimum of 85 microcoulombs is preferred, though higher energy expenditure accompanies the higher minimum charge per pulse.
  • Charge per pulse maximum may be determined to avoid cardiac fibrillation in the subject. For human subjects, fibrillation has been observed at 1355 microcoulombs per pulse and higher. The value 1355 is an average observed over a relatively wide range of pulse repetition rates (e.g., from about 5 to 50 pulses per second), over a relatively wide range of pulse durations consistent with variation in resistance of the subject (e.g., from about 10 to about 1000 microseconds), and over a relatively wide range of peak voltages per pulse (e.g., from about 50 to about 1000 volts). A maximum of 500 microcoulombs significantly reduces the risk of fibrillation while a lower maximum (e.g., about 100 microcoulombs) is preferred to conserve energy expenditure.
  • Pulse duration is preferably dictated by delivery of charge as discussed above. Pulse duration according to various aspects of the present invention is generally longer than conventional systems that use peak pulse voltages higher than the ionization potential of air. Pulse duration may be in the range from about 20 to about 500 microseconds, preferably in the range from about 30 to about 200 microseconds, and most preferably in the range from about 30 to about 100 microseconds.
  • By conserving energy expenditure per pulse, longer durations of immobilization may be effected and smaller, lighter power sources may be used (e.g., in a projectile comprising a battery). In one embodiment, a suitable range of charge per pulse may be from about 50 to about 150 microcoulombs.
  • Initial and termination voltages may be designed to deliver the charge per pulse in a pulse having a duration in a range from about 30 microseconds to about 210 microseconds (e.g., for about 50 to 100 microcoulombs). A discharge duration sufficient to deliver a suitable charge per pulse depends in part on resistance between electrodes at the subject. For example, a one RC time constant discharge of about 100 microseconds may correspond to a capacitance of about 1.75 microfarads and a resistance of about 60 ohms. An initial voltage of 100 volts discharged to 50 volts may provide 87.5 microcoulombs from the 1.75 microfarad capacitor.
  • A termination voltage may be calculated to ensure delivery of a predetermined charge. For example, an initial value may be observed corresponding to the voltage across a capacitor. As the capacitor discharges delivering charge into the subject, the observed value may decrease. A termination value may be calculated based on the initial value and the desired charge to be delivered per pulse. While discharging, the value may be monitored. When the termination value is observed, further discharging may be limited (or discontinued) in any conventional manner. In an alternate implementation, delivered current is integrated to provide a measure of charge delivered. The monitored measurement reaching a limit value may be used to limit (or discontinue) further delivery of charge.
  • Pulse durations in alternate implementations may be considerably longer than 100 microseconds, for example, up to 1000 microseconds. Longer pulse durations increase a risk of cardiac fibrillation. In one implementation, consecutive strike pulses alternate in polarity to dissipate charge which may collect in the subject to adversely affect the subject's heart. In another implementation, consecutive strike stages are of alternate polarity.
  • During the strike stage, pulses are delivered at a rate of about 5 to about 50 pulses per second, preferably about 20 pulses per second. The strike stage continues from the rising edge of the first pulse to the falling edge of the last pulse of the stage for from 1 to 5 seconds, preferably about 2 seconds.
  • In a hold stage, a voltage waveform is sourced and impressed across a pair of electrodes. Typically this waveform is sufficient to discourage mobility and/or continue immobilization to an extent somewhat less than the strike stage. A hold stage generally demands less power than a strike stage. Use of hold stages intermixed between strike stages permit the immobilization effect to continue as a fixed power source is depleted (e.g., battery power) for a time longer than if the strike stage were continued without hold stages. The stimulus signal of a hold stage may primarily interfere with voluntary control of the subject's skeletal muscles as discussed above or primarily cause pain and/or disorientation. The pair of electrodes may be the same or different than used in a preceding path formation, path testing, or strike stage, preferably the same as an immediately preceding strike stage. According to various aspects of the present invention, the shape of the waveform used in a hold stage includes a pulse with decreasing amplitude (e.g., a trapezoid shape) and initial voltage (SPV) as discussed above with reference to the strike stage. The termination voltage may be determined to deliver a predetermined charge per pulse less than the pulse used in the strike stage (e.g., from 30 to 100 microcoulombs). During the hold stage, pulses may be delivered at a rate of about 5 to 15 pulses per second, preferably about 10 pulses per second. The strike stage continues from the rising edge of the first pulse to the falling edge of the last pulse of the stage for from about 20 to about 40 seconds (e.g., about 28 seconds).
  • A rest stage is a stage intended to improve the personal safety of the subject and/or the operator of the system. In one implementation, the rest stage does not include any stimulus signal. Consequently, use of a rest stage conserves battery power in a manner similar to that discussed above with reference to the hold stage. Safety of a subject may be improved by reducing the likelihood that the subject enters a relatively high risk physical or emotional condition. High risk physical conditions include risk of loss of involuntary muscle control (e.g., for circulation or respiration), risk of convulsions, spasms, or fits associated with a nervous disorder (e.g., epilepsy, or narcotics overdose). High risk emotional conditions include risk of irrational behavior such as behavior springing from a fear of immediate death or suicidal behavior. Use of a rest stage may reduce a risk of damage to the long term health of the subject (e.g., minimize scar tissue formation and/or unwarranted trauma). A rest stage may continue for from 1 to 5 seconds, preferably 2 seconds.
  • In the path formation stage, a waveform shape may include an initial peak (voltage or current), subsequent lesser peaks alternating in polarity, and a decaying amplitude tail. The initial peak voltage may exceed the ionization potential for an air gap of expected length (e.g., about 50 Kvolts, preferably about 10 Kvolts). A subsequent stage immediately follows or overlaps in time so as to maintain the ionization. In one implementation, the path formation stage and strike stage are combined as one compliance waveform (e.g., one pulse), formed as a decaying oscillation from a conventional resonant circuit. One waveform shape having one or more peaks may be sufficient to ionize and maintain ionization of a path crossing a gap (e.g., air). Repetition of applying such a waveform shape may follow a path testing stage (or monitoring concurrent with another stage) that concludes that ionization is needed and is to be attempted again (e.g., prior attempt failed, or ionized air is disrupted).
  • The foregoing description discusses preferred embodiments of the present invention which may be changed or modified without departing from the scope of the present invention as defined in the claims. Listed items in parentheses may be used in the alternative or combined in any manner. While for the sake of clarity of description, several specific embodiments of the invention have been described, the scope of the invention is intended to be measured by the claims as set forth below.

Claims (52)

1. A system for demotivating a subject, the system operative with a first conductor, the system comprising:
a second conductor to hang from an overhead structure to drape the subject; and
a stimulator to apply a current through the first conductor, the subject, and the second conductor, the current for causing contractions of skeletal muscles of the subject to interfere with locomotion by the subject.
2. The system of claim 0 further comprising a reference for supporting the subject, the reference comprising the first conductor.
3. The system of claim 2 wherein the reference comprises a plurality of conductors, each conductor for a respective zone.
4. The system of claim 1 further comprising the first conductor to hang from the overhead structure to drape the subject.
5. The system of claim 1 further comprising a drape that includes the second conductor.
6. The system of claim 5 wherein the drape further includes the first conductor.
7. The system of claim 6 wherein:
the first conductor comprises first portions for passing the current through the subject and first insulated portions;
the second conductor comprises second portions for passing the current through the subject and second insulated portions; and
the first and second portions for passing current through the subject are separated in height in the drape for causing skeletal muscle contractions in the subject.
8. The system of claim 7 wherein first and second portions for passing current through the subject are separated in height in the drape by at least 5 cm.
9. The system of claim 6 wherein the drape comprises a first plurality of conductors coupled to the first conductor and a second plurality of conductors coupled to the second conductor each conductor of the first plurality and each conductor of the second plurality for independently draping the subject.
10. The system of claim 5 wherein the drape comprises a tube for supporting a helical winding of the second conductor.
11. The system of claim 5 wherein the drape comprises an optical fiber.
12. The system of claim 1 further comprising:
a support for supporting the second electrode; and
a release for removing support from the second electrode to hang the second electrode away from the support.
13. The system of claim 12 wherein the support comprises a spool onto which the second conductor is wound.
14. The system of claim 12 wherein the support comprises a container into which the second conductor is stacked.
15. The system of claim 1 wherein the second conductor comprises a bob for applying a tension to the second conductor to hang the second conductor.
16. The system of claim 15 wherein the bob cannot pass current sufficient to interfere with locomotion of the subject.
17. The system of claim 15 wherein the bob is deformable.
18. The system of claim 1 wherein the second conductor comprises a helical winding when hanging.
19. The system of claim 1 further comprising a control for applying the current to the second conductor in response to detecting a position of the subject.
20. The system of claim 1 further comprising a control for hanging the second conductor to drape the subject in response to detecting a position of the subject.
21. The system of claim 1 further comprising a retainer for maintaining the second conductor in a stowed position proximate to the overhead structure.
22. The system of claim 21 wherein the retainer comprises at least one of a fastener; a hook; a magnet; a latch; a spring; a door; a hatch; a pin; a plate; a solenoid; and a servo.
23. A method for demotivating a subject, the method comprising:
releasing a first conductor to hang from an overhead structure to drape a subject to complete a circuit that comprises a stimulator, the first conductor, the subject, and a second conductor for passing a current through the circuit, the current for causing contractions of skeletal muscles of the subject to interfere with locomotion by the subject; and
after releasing, storing the first conductor proximate to the overhead structure in preparation for subsequently repeating releasing.
24. The method of claim 23 further comprising concealing the first conductor until draping is desired.
25. The method of claim 23 wherein draping is accomplished by releasing.
26. The method of claim 23 wherein the first conductor includes a free end; and releasing comprises decreasing a height of the free end with respect to the subject.
27. The method of claim 23 wherein the first conductor includes a free end; and releasing comprises decreasing a horizontal distance between the free end and the subject.
28. The method of claim 23 wherein storing comprises winding the first conductor onto a spool.
29. The method of claim 23 wherein storing the first conductor comprises stacking the first conductor.
30. The method of claim 23 wherein storing comprises pulling at least one point along the first conductor toward the overhead structure.
31. The method of claim 23 wherein releasing comprises propelling at least a portion of the first conductor away from a stored position.
32. The method of claim 23 wherein:
the method further comprises covertly detecting the subject; and releasing is responsive to detecting.
33. A method for demotivating subjects within an area, the method comprising:
defining a plurality of zones within the area by identifying one or more borders between zones;
hanging a respective conductor from an overhead structure over each border, each respective conductor for draping the subject when the subject crosses the respective border under the respective conductor; and
after the subject is draped by a particular conductor, passing a current through a circuit that includes a stimulator, the particular conductor, the subject, and a first conductor, the current for causing contractions of skeletal muscles of the subject to interfere with locomotion by the subject.
34. A method for demotivating a subject, the method comprising:
storing a first conductor in a loaded position at an elevated point;
releasing a first end of the first conductor to fall from the elevated point toward the subject;
applying a voltage between the first conductor and a second conductor to pass a current for a period through the subject to cause skeletal muscle contractions in the subject to interfere with locomotion by the subject thereby permitting arrest of the subject during the period; and
after lapse of the period, returning the first conductor to the loaded position.
35. The method of claim 34 wherein the conductor is part of a drape; and the method further comprises, after releasing the conductor, illuminating the drape.
36. A method for demotivating a subject, the method comprising:
storing a plurality of drapes in respective loaded positions in an overhead structure;
releasing a respective free end of each of the plurality of drapes for the free end to fall away from the overhead structure;
determining a subset of the plurality of drapes that are part of one or more circuits, each circuit comprising the subject;
returning each drape that is not a member of the subset to its respective loaded position; and
passing a current through the one or more circuits for a period to cause skeletal muscle contractions in the subject to interfere with locomotion by the subject thereby permitting arrest of the subject during the period.
37. A system for demotivating a subject, the system comprising:
a drape to drape the subject;
a drape controller to position the drape and to activate the drape for demotivating the subject; and
a controller, coupled to the drape controller for performing scaled demotivating to effect scaled movement of the subject.
38. The system of claim 37 wherein performing scaled demotivating comprises performing each member demotivating function of a series of demotivating functions.
39. The system of claim 38 wherein performing scaled demotivating comprises performing for a respective duration each member demotivating function of a series of demotivating functions.
40. The system of claim 39 wherein increasing sequential members of the series are characterized by a respective increasing duration of performing the respective member demotivating function.
41. The system of claim 38 wherein member functions of the series differ in intensity of the same form of demotivation.
42. The system of claim 38 wherein the same form of demotivation comprises intended apprehension in the subject.
43. The system of claim 38 wherein the same form of demotivation comprises intended pain in the subject.
44. The system of claim 38 wherein the same form of demotivation comprises intended interference with use of skeletal muscles by the subject.
45. The system of claim 38 wherein the same form of demotivation comprises intended inhibiting use of skeletal muscles by the subject.
46. The system of claim 38 wherein the same form of demotivation comprises intended immobilization of the subject.
47. The system of claim 38 wherein member demotivating functions of the series differ in respective forms of demotivation from a set of forms comprising intended apprehension in the subject, intended pain in the subject, intended interference with use of skeletal muscles by the subject, intended inhibiting use of skeletal muscles by the subject, and intended immobilization of the subject.
48. The system of claim 38 wherein member demotivating functions of the series differ by a respective length of the drape.
49. The system of claim 38 wherein member demotivating functions comprise positioning respective drapes.
50. The system of claim 38 wherein member demotivating functions comprise activating respective drapes.
51. The system of claim 38 wherein a sequence of member demotivating functions is characterized by intended increasing difficulty by the subject to escape.
52. The system of claim 37 wherein the drape does not extend into a region near the floor provided for the subject to be out of range of current from the drape.
US12/172,066 2008-06-20 2008-07-11 Systems And Methods For Demotivating Using A Drape Abandoned US20090316326A1 (en)

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