RFID Helps Keep Guns out of the Wrong Hands

smart-gun-safety-rfid-blogGun safety has long been an issue in the United States, with almost 100,000 people shot or killed with guns each year. Some of these cases happened due to unintentional shootings or by guns stolen.

Smart-gun technologies aim to reduce gun violence by ensuring only an owner can fire his or her weapon, but so far they have failed to solve the problem.

In the trailer for the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, Major Boothroyd (Q) presents Bond with a smart gun. “It’s been coded to your palm print,” Q explains, “so only you can fire it.” The problem with it, however, is that it takes time to analyze biometric data like fingerprint or palm print, so that while the gun is attempting to figure out whether it is Bond or someone else holding the trigger, he’d likely to be shot dead.

Radio frequency identification, however, holds promise for smart guns. A company called TriggerSmart, in Limerick, Ireland, may have a solution based on radio frequency identification technology.

Here’s how it works: A tiny high-frequency (HF) RFID reader module is embedded in the handle of the gun. The gun owner is issued a passive HF transponder — which could be located in a ring or a wristband — that communicates with the reader. The instant the reader receives the correct ID number from the HF transponder, the safety disengages and the gun can be fired.