Acadiana Business

Zapped by an iPhone

by Patrick Flanagan

A new device born locally transforms the smart device into a weapon of self-defense.

Of the iPhone's countless capabilities, one element has been missing: The ability to use the device as a weapon.

That is no longer the case, says Pete Prados, chief idea officer for Inventure Works, a local company that helps turn ideas into reality by bridging the gap between inventors and investors.

ABiz recently met with the InventureWorks team for an interview inside their office in downtown Lafayette, where they unveiled a working prototype of the soon-to-be released Yellow Jacket, the newest and perhaps most electric of all the iPhone's accessories.

InventureWorks chief idea officer Pete Prados and product designer Michael Buquet can attest to the punch packed by the Yellow Jacket, as they both have felt the wrath of the device, a battery-powered case that transforms the iPhone into a stun gun.

To show the full-effect of the device, Prados - unlike this writer, who declined the offer to get zapped by the Yellow Jacket - rolled up his sleeve and took one for the team, allowing inventor Seth Froom to give him a little sting.

"It doesn't feel good," says Prados, after having 650,000 volts of electricity pumped into his arm by the Yellow Jacket's stinger.

Froom says unlike a Taser, which packs more amps, the Yellow Jacket is non-fatal, and even comes equipped with a safety pin to keep it from sending unwanted shocks.

"It will bring you to the ground though," adds Froom.

For Froom, a 24-year-old Houston native who lives in Baton Rouge, the concept came to him after he was robbed at gunpoint from the front door of his apartment.

"When I was robbed at gunpoint, I had guns in my apartment, I'm militarily trained, but none of that mattered," says Froom. "After, I kept going over it in my head and thought what is the one thing I always have on me that could also have been used as a weapon, and I realized, my iPhone. That's the one thing I almost always have on me." InventureWorks' role has been to help Froom refine the product and find investors. So far, Prados says the device has generated about $250,000 in investment capital.

The first line of Yellow Jacket cases will be compatible with iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s, and a model for the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 is also in the works, says Prados.

The Yellow Jacket is available online at It can also be purchased locally at Academy Sports on Ambassador Caffery Parkway.