American manufacturers are producing over 11M firearms annually, mostly handguns, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
Gun violence in America and recent tragedies are prompting both the public and private sector to looks for innovative solutions to make guns safer.
The White House has issued a call for research into “gun safety technology.” Likewise, Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway and participants in Conway’s Smart Tech Challenges Foundation are also betting on the potential for technology to transform the gun industry.
We used the CB Insights database to identify 10 companies leading the charge into better and safer guns. Some are offering biometric identification solutions that prevent gun theft and unauthorized use. Others track a gun after it is fired, enhance gun locking systems, and more.
Conway’s Smart Tech Challenges Foundation has funded 7 out of the 10 companies in this list.
Yardarm Technologies offers The Yardarm Sensor that connects firearms to a cloud service and provides real-time geo-location and other use data to give law enforcement, private security, the military, and other organizations the ability to track and monitor their firearms in real-time. The company has raised $3.1M in private equity.
SGTi (Safe Gun Technology)
SGTi develops kits that retrofit personal firearms with a fingerprint sensor, which means only an authorized user can fire the weapon. This helps prevent children and other unauthorized users from misusing or abusing guns they don’t own. In 2015, the company secured a $100K grant in the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation Firearms Challenge.
IDENTILOCK is a biometric fingerprint scanner that fits securely over the trigger of a firearm to prevent accidental or deliberate misuse. The company won a $100K grant in the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation Firearms Challenge.
SAAMO offers a patent-pending gun safety technology that is centered on ammunition rather than the gun. The company won $50K from the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation Firearms Challenge. The SAAMO “safety round” is a non-lethal ammunition cartridge with an electronics package containing a motion-sensor that triggers mobile alerts to notify gun owners of handling by children.
iGun Technology Corp.
The iGun is an access control system for firearms in which users wear a ring that unlocks the gun’s ability to fire. When the iGun senses that the ring is near enough, it compares a unique code from the ring to the gun and if there’s a match, the system actuates a mechanism to unblock the trigger. The company won a $100K grant in the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation Firearms Challenge.
The Geofenced Firearm is an experimental project to develop a GPS-enabled firearm that utilizes satellite and ground-based technology to determine specific locations or ranges of locations where it can be fired.
GunGuardian makes what it calls the Superimposed Hybrid Intelligent Electromechanical Locking Device (S.H.I.E.L.D). It is a manually closed, spring-loaded sheath that hides the gun’s trigger from unauthorized users. The sheath will only uncover the trigger when the correct biometric signature is read via the fingerprint reader or if the correct security code is entered. The company won a $30K grant in the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation Firearms Challenge.
Dual:Lock is an early-stage company that has developed a product called ETHOS, an advanced gun-storage safe that uses biometrics to prevent unauthorized users from unlocking it, and also provides a smartphone app. The company has secured two grants to date, one from the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation and one from the New York Business Plan Competition for $10K and $100K, respectively.
TriggerSmart has developed and patented a child-proof RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system that prevents unauthorized users from firing a gun. The company won a $100K grant from the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation Firearms Challenge. The second phase of the company’s R&D includes tech to remotely disable guns in certain zones such as airports, schools, universities and government buildings.
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