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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In a matter of seconds, your smartphone may be turned into a weapon.
In the latest — and also controversial — mobile craze, phones are being used as stun guns or pepper spray dispensers for self-defense, CBS 2′s Maurice DuBois reported Monday.
The Yellow Jacket, for instance, is a smartphone case that doubles as a mini-stun gun. It’s not strong enough to put someone in the hospital, but the inventors claim it will give the owner a fighting chance to escape a scary situation.
Simon Simone and Seth Froom came up with the concept for the Yellow Jacket, which sells for $140, after Froom was robbed.
“The idea for Yellow Jacket came to us through a traumatic event, but now we’ve turned that thought into a reality,” Simone said.
With the press of a button, two electrodes at the top of the case will deliver 650,000 volts of electricity. A regular stun gun delivers several million volts.
“We developed the Yellow Jacket to be able to take down a fully grown aggressive adult male,” Froom said.
The Yellow Jacket or any stun gun is not legal in New York or New Jersey. But another cellphone innovation called Spraytect — a smartphone case that includes a removable pepper spray cartridge — is legal. The Spraytect, which sells for $40, was developed by Scott McPherson, an Arizona dad who was nervous about sending his daughter off to college.
But some critics argue these mobile self-defense devices may give smartphone users a false sense of security.
“Just because you have something doesn’t mean you have trained yourself in how to use it,” said James Sherman, who specializes in the Israeli self defense technique of Krav Maga.
Sherman said an attack victim can use anything as a weapon of opportunity — from a simple pen to one of the smartphone devices — but it’s only effective if you can use it despite the surprise and pressure of an attack.
“They’re definitely beneficial, but you have to learn what to do with it,” he said.
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