Weapon startup turns to facial ID to reduce chances of accidental firing

But is technology really the problem here?
Ameya Paleja
Smartgun from BioFire
Smartgun from BioFire


Colorado-based BioFire Tech is trying to solve America's gun problem in a unique way – by adding recognition technology to the firearm. The company is now accepting pre-orders for a 9 mm handgun that will only fire when it recognizes that its authorized owner is handling it, Reuters reported.

Adding technology to ensure that only a verified owner fires the gun has been attempted before. In 2014, German company Armatix launched the iP1, a .22 Long Rifle semi-automatic pistol that connected through radio-frequency identification (RFID) to the owner's smartwatch before firing a round.

Free State Firearms, a U.S.-based company, is also working with RFID technology embedded in a wearable ring for authentication purposes, while LodeStar Works is banking on a paired smartphone to authenticate the owner before allowing rounds to be fired from the gun.

How does a facial ID smart gun work?

In the case of BioFire's weapon, the smart gun uses facial identification, much like how smartphones do these days, to unlock the gun and allow the bullet to be fired. Alternatively, the gun can also turn to fingerprint reading for confirmation, further reducing the chances of gun grabs from police officials or accidental shootings by children, or even preventing the use of a stolen gun.

The standard model of the smart gun, priced at $1,499, is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2024. Gun enthusiasts are not really convinced that the addition of such technology is fail-safe. How does one ensure that the technology does not become a hurdle to self-defense during times of dire need?

Although a fair point, it is not one that is really troubling the U.S. right now. There have been 160 mass shootings in the U.S. since 2023 began. Each of the past three years has seen a total of 600 mass shootings, roughly two per day. Data shows that more than fifty people are killed by a firearm in the U.S. each day, the BBC reported.

These deaths are not a result of unintentional or accidental firing. These are largely caused by individuals who choose to pick up a gun and shoot at people, whether on their own property or in a public place like a school or music festival, killing scores of people. No high-end technology can put an end to these violent acts.

What the U.S. needs are stricter gun control laws, which 57 percent of the population supports, and a reduction in the number of firearms available in the country. A Small Arms Survey conducted in 2018 found that the U.S. tops the global list of civilian gun owners, with 120 firearms available for 100 residents. Yemen ranks second on the list with estimates of 52 firearms for the same population of 100 people, less than half when compared to the U.S.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board