Sociological implications aside, what interests me here is the nod to the animal kingdom...
To prevent accidental discharges, the wearer must arm the jacket before it can deliver a shock. A lock on the sleeve must first be opened with a key, and then the charge is built up by holding down a button inside one of the sleeves.
The idea is to charge it only in threatening situations or when the wearer feels vulnerable, Whiton said. A woman might arm it when she's walking to her car at night, for instance.
When charged, the jacket crackles audibly. A pair of slits in the outer lining shows the electric arcs that course across the entire middle layer. It's an impressive display of the jacket's power.
Sweet! Like electric eels!
Seriously though, imagine. Like a scene out of X-Men, no? Crackle crackle crackle...
Adam Whiton, one of the jacket's inventors, said the "really evil crackling sound" makes him flinch involuntarily: The shocks he received testing the jacket conditioned him to associate the sound with pain.