You may have heard about a new push for safety measures on guns coming from President Obama’s administration, but what is a “smart gun”? The idea has been around for a while, but as technology has advanced significantly in the past few years, the call for more extensive research has grown. Politics aside, we wanted to go over some of the basics.
At the simplest level, the goal of the electronic personalized safety technology put into the gun would not allow any unauthorized users to fire the weapon—meant to save children from accidentally firing the gun or someone stealing a weapon from a home or store. To accomplish this, there are general two types of technology used: proximity sensors and biometrics.
Proximity sensors use the combination of a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) sensor on the person in the way of a ring, wristband or badge and a reader within the gun that authenticates the user’s RFID signal. There’s typically about a half-second delay and most require a proximity of not much more than a foot.
Biometrics for smart gun technology typically involve the fingerprint, but there’s been recent exploration into new methods, including detection of the blood vessel structure beneath the skin and grip recognition that learns an individual’s reproducible pressure pattern on a gun.
It’s technology that’s moving fast and we’ll be interested to see where it leads.