What is the one item you always have on you?
For me, it’s my cellphone. So when I heard about the Yellow Jacket iPhone case, equipped with a built-in, battery-powered stun gun that can charge your phone at the same time, I had to try it out for myself and see what all the buzz was about.
At a glance, the Yellow Jacket, named after the predatory wasp, looks like any other hard-plastic protective phone case, just a lot bulkier.
But what is, eh, shocking about this case is what’s concealed inside. Flipping down the cover exposes sharp prongs that are capable of shooting 650 kilovolts of electricity through someone’s body. The electrical shock can drop the average person to their knees in about three seconds.
So what does it feel like?
I can tell you it didn’t tickle. Think about the worst pain you have ever felt and then multiply that by a thousand.
When I “tased” myself, I wasn’t able to move my arm. It felt like barbs or an extremely sharp needle penetrated my skin and sent a shock throughout my body. What is painful is the realization that you cannot control your body while your muscles feel like they are locked.
Luckily, I didn’t lock up and fall (a stun gun shock’s severity depends greatly on where it is applied on the body and how long it is applied), which usually causes more damage than the shock itself.
If used correctly, the tasing from the Yellow Jacket shouldn’t cause any lasting damage, because the case emits less than 1mA (this is below the lethal threshold of amperage). Ironically, the founders say, the more muscular you are, the worse it hurts.
If you are worried about accidentally butt-tasing yourself, the Yellow Jacket is equipped with a dual safety switch that must be engaged before the device is capable of stunning. There is a plastic electrode cover over the prongs and a switch button on the side of the case to activate the volts.
Once you fire down the trigger, it’s loud and bright.
Depending on who you ask, the Yellow Jacket can be either one of the most clever or dangerous cellphone attachments ever devised.
I found it practical and convenient. It also gave me a peace of mind. The case could stun a would-be-attacker and give me enough time to get away.
The case even gives your phone up to 20 hours of additional standby battery — adding at least one full recharge on the go.
It is bulky and heavy though. The case weighs in at about 4 ounces, which almost doubles the weight of the iPhone. Once the Yellow Jacket is attached to your phone, the device also becomes one inch thicker.
And due to the design of the iPhone 4/4s case, your pictures will come out blurry when you use your flash. The makers suggest taking the top clip off the case when you want to use your camera’s flash.
Unfortunately, it is not water-resistant, so be wary of using your case in the rain.
If you want to add some extra security to your smartphone this holiday season, the $99 case, which started as a crowd-funded project on Indiegogo, is available for iPhone 4/4S with more models coming in the next few weeks, including the iPhone 5, the HTC Evo and the Samsung Galaxy.
But before you go out and buy one, stun guns are illegal to carry in several states, including New York, Illinois and Massachusetts — and you have to be 18 years old to carry one.
So you’ll want to check on legality and restrictions for your area. Also, use caution.
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