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Can Biometrics and Smart Guns be a Better Option for Law Abiding Gun Owners?


CES is far more than ultra high definition TVs, high end audio, tricked out cars, drones and virtual reality.  It’s a place where consumer technology is finding its way into guns.  Most everyone has an idea or uses biometric technology in one form or another (iPhone users anyone?).  Imagine a “smart” gun where the safety deactivates only for the gun owner by using the biometric information on the owner’s handprint?  The weapon would only fire with a positive match, eliminating the tragic toddler shootings that are too often in the news.

CES 2016 in Las Vegas had some of this technology on display last week.

From the trade publication “Biometric Update,” this excerpt:

“After three years of development, the Identilock smart gun lock by Sentinl is now available for online purchase from the company’s web site. The device uses fingerprint technology to allow only authorized users access to a gun. Sentinl created Identilock with a grant from Smart Tech Challenges Foundation Firearms Challenge, a Silicon Valley-based organization cofounded by Ron Conway, and with the backing of IncWell venture capital firm.

This week also saw the introduction of Kodiak Industries’ smart gun which also uses fingerprint technology for access control and identity verification. The company says the ‘Intelligun‘ can recognize a fingerprint and fire within a second. Kodiak Industries will start selling the Intelligun once they get enough pre-orders.”

Here’s a summary of some key announcements at CES:

Sentinl launched its Identilock smart gun, a device that uses fingerprint technology to allow only authorized users access to a gun. Lenovo VIBE K4 Note and Hisense A1 smartphones and Huawei’s Android tablet, the MediaPad M2, have integrated fingerprint technology from Precise Biometrics and Fingerprint Cards (FPC). Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint authentication system is featured in the new Letv Le Max Pro smartphone and IDEX demonstrated a full suite of fingerprint technology and held private meetings with investors, customers and industry partners.

EyeLock demonstrated a proof of concept that validates the driver and authorizes the start of a vehicle using EyeLock’s iris authentication technology. The solution can also offer individual user authentication as well as a fully customized driving experience with personalized driver settings including seat and mirror positions, radio presets, and other features.

EyeLock also demonstrated a new screen-less, self-service ATM concept developed with Diebold that uses emerging biometric technology to show what the future banking experience might look like.

Biometric technology isn’t perfect.  It’s been around a while and doesn’t always work, but it works better than it ever has before.  Sometimes, even your iPhone won’t recognize your fingerprint so rapid authentication would be required by gun owners using a weapon to protect themselves.  The goal is technology that recognizes biometric triggers in less than a second.  But the first life that could be saved because a child wanted to play with a loaded weapon would be immeasurably important.

If Uber and driverless cars are about to disrupt the automobile industry, perhaps biometric technology and new requirements could disrupt America’s gun industry in a similar manner that protects an individual’s second amendment rights but makes guns safer should the wrong people come across them.