Dear Friends, Network Evergreen Radio Stations, together with the respectable jewelry store The Goldingstones ( https://www.goldingstones.com) , has been a commercial Group since November. In our blog, we will give more attention to new scientific and technical achievements, besides the topics that we have worked on till now. In addition to jewelry, our joint program also includes smart devices, such as smart bracelets, which you can see in the picture (you can find more information about it by clicking on the link).
Personalized guns, trigger locks, and safes can prevent suicide, stop unintentional shootings, and discourage gun thefts.
Many people were introduced to the concept of gun safety technology in the James Bond movie Skyfall, where 007 carries a gun that unlocks with his own palm print. When the villain steals Bond’s gun, he can’t shoot it, so Bond survives what could have been a deadly encounter. This is a classic example of a personalized gun (often called a “smart gun”), which uses technology to ensure only authorized users can fire it. Personalized guns like the one in Skyfall are one type of gun safety technology. However, the term defines a broader category of gun safety advancements that guard against unintentional and criminal shootings by unauthorized users. Gun safety technology includes personalized guns, but also accessories like safes, locks, and retrofit kits that similarly help keep firearms secure. It could also include mechanical innovations that exclude child access more effectively than existing trigger locks.
Personalized guns, or smart guns, use technology to give owners the ability to control who may access and use their firearm. The methods used to give owners this type of control vary, with the most common methods being radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which uses radio waves to automatically identify objects, and biometric sensors, such as fingerprint readers.
Personalized guns are an immensely promising development for gun safety. The technology could transform gun ownership by helping mitigate some of the risks owners and their families face every day. For example, unlike traditional handguns, which can be fired by toddlers as young as two years old, personalized guns cannot be discharged by children. Personalized guns also cannot be used in a suicide by an unauthorized user, and they are rendered useless if stolen by an assailant. Some have used the palm-print scene from Skyfall to dismiss personalized guns as science fiction, available only in a distant future where humanity perfects the phasers from Star Trek that can be set to “stun.” In reality, the technology needed to personalize firearms is basic and has been available for years. Many smartphones already use fingerprint sensors, though newer sensors exceed the speed and reliability of those currently used in phones.79 And many reliable everyday devices—including car keys, building access cards, clothing security tags, and pet identification microchips—employ the same RFID technology that can be used to secure a gun.80 In fact, far from being science fiction, personalized guns have already been designed and built. One model, a personalized shotgun, is equipped with an RFID chip that fires only if the shooter wears a matching ring. A fully functional version of this shotgun was completed nearly 20 years ago. It has since passed a rigorous battery of durability tests and been tested by a dozen police departments.81 Once technologically advanced firearms enter the market, the gun industry will almost certainly regret its initial rejection of personalized guns as the stuff of fiction. In 1970, the inventor of the RFID chip showed his technology to General Motors, which dismissed the technology as “too Buck Rogers.”82 Today, RFID technology generates $6 billion in annual worldwide revenues,83 and the auto industry has many applications for it, including in rental cars, toll payment systems, and key fobs.
Personalized accessories would add an extra layer of security beyond a traditional gun safe or locking device. Even if a gun is stored with a conventional lock and key, there is still a danger that children, teens, or other unauthorized users will find the key or break the lock—with tragic results. Think of Alicia, the 12-year-old girl who killed herself after picking a lock to the room where she knew her family members stored a loaded gun. In Alicia’s case, a locked door was not enough to prevent her from firing the gun, so an extra layer of security on the firearm itself could have saved her life.84 Gun safes and locks undoubtedly help secure firearms, but these devices have critical limitations. Traditional safes and locks are not always used properly, such as when owners keep the key close to the safe, in plain sight, or in another location children can find. Moreover, the locks themselves may be flimsy and easy to break. There are no current federal design standards governing firearm locking devices, and a number of gun locks have been recalled for failing to work as intended.85 Product designers have long recognized the opportunity to enhance the security of gun safes with fingerprint sensors or mechanical codes. These smart safes are harder to hack or crack than a typical lock and key, and versions that open with fingerprints have been sold for about 10 years and are widely available.86 In recent years, substantial progress has also been made to develop biometric trigger locks. One company, Sentinl, sells a portable lock, the Identilock, that fits directly over a handgun’s trigger. The lock’s fingerprint sensor is located where users’ hands fall when picking up their gun. Once a print is recognized, the lock opens like a clamshell and drops off the weapon in a matter of milliseconds. Since June 2017, thousands of these biometric locks have been sold.87 Advanced safes and trigger locks like the Identilock may be poised to have an even wider impact than all-in-one personalized guns, given that hundreds of millions of traditional firearms are already in circulation in the United States. Personalized accessories could greatly improve the security of existing firearms without requiring consumers to purchase brand-new weapons.
WHAT TECHNOLOGY CAN MAKE GUNS SAFER?
The basic premise driving the development of personalized guns and accessories is the idea that technology can make firearms more secure, bring peace of mind to owners, and save lives. It’s important to remember that the technology needed to do this is not light-years away from us. Rather, all that’s required is pairing a firearm with existing security technology capable of identifying authorized users. The two leading types of security technology, RFID chips and biometric sensors, are already in widespread use. RFID technology was invented in the 1970s and is used today in many car key fobs and building access cards.88 Similarly, biometric fingerprint sensors are already used in gun safes and in smartphones, though fingerprint recognition technology has advanced since the version first included on the Apple iPhone. A smartphone is both more complicated and less dangerous than a gun, yet consumers have been able to secure their phones with fingerprints for years.
LESSONS FROM HISTORY: SEAT BELTS, MEDICINE CAPS, AND POWER WINDOWS
It is helpful to contextualize gun safety technology alongside other lifesaving innovations. This is not the first time that relatively simple design improvements, relying on established technology, were poised to transform a consumer product and save lives. It’s actually a familiar pattern throughout history.
A BETTER SEAT BELT
One of the best-known examples of consumer safety innovation is the three-point seat belt, invented by a Volvo engineer in 1959. Existing seat belts, namely two-point lap belts, were ineffective at high speeds and failed to stop many deaths and injuries. In order to absorb force at high speeds, an engineer had the simple idea to combine a lap seat belt with a diagonal belt that fit across the wearer’s chest.89 This belt turned out to be incredibly effective and easy to use, increasing the likelihood people would wear it. Today, virtually every car uses three-point seat belts, and the invention is estimated to have saved more than one million lives, with likely many more people being protected against severe injury.
SAFER MEDICINE BOTTLES
In the mid-20th century, drug companies saw an opportunity to change medicine packaging in order to prevent children from ingesting adults’ prescription drugs, which can be lethal to kids even in low doses. The answer was the child-resistant cap, designed to only open with a pressing and twisting motion that is difficult for children to perform. Since its widespread adoption in the 1970s, the cap significantly reduced child prescription drug overdoses, cutting deaths by 45%.The simple design is still familiar to the hundreds of millions of Americans who take prescription drugs today.
FIXING POWER WINDOWS
Another simple yet lifesaving development gained public attention in the early 2000s, when several young children were killed after getting their necks trapped in automatic car windows. These children had unintentionally raised the power windows in cars by pressing a button, known as a “rocker switch,” without realizing it. In the mid2000s, some carmakers adopted a straightforward fix to address these easily preventable deaths, replacing rocker switches with switches that must be pulled upward to close a window, which is harder to do unintentionally.
SIMPLE SOLUTIONS ARE IN REACH
Three-point seat belts, childproof medicine caps, and lift-up power window switches were relatively easy and inexpensive solutions to develop. All it took was manufacturers realizing that elements of their products were causing avoidable deaths and resolving to change this. Gun safety technology falls into the same category of innovation. The advancements profiled in this report are not complex or prohibitively expensive. They rely on basic technology or, sometimes, mechanical design changes. The two most common means of making a gun personalized—RFID and biometric recognition—are not cutting-edge methods, but tried-and-true technology that’s been around for decades, and the cost of implementing these features is only falling the older the technology gets.
(Soon) HOW CAN GUN SAFETY TECHNOLOGY SAVE LIVES?