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'Smart Gun' Firm Wants You To Fund Its Prototype 558

Lucas123 writes "After striking out at getting private investors to fund a new prototype, Safe Gun Technology (SGTi) is hoping it can generate $50,000 through a crowdfunding effort to build an assault-style rifle with fingerprint biometrics technology. Handgun and shotgun prototypes would follow shortly thereafter, the company said. SGTi, which is using the Indiegogo crowdfunding site for its Fund Safe Guns campaign, has so far raised just over $1,600. Several companies are working on developing smart gun technology, which can identify an authorized user through fingerprint, handgrip or RFID recognition techniques. Last week, a Massachusetts congressman submitted a bill that would require all U.S. handgun manufacturers to include smart gun technology in their weapons." I'm looking forward to the best car analogy that anyone can come up with on this topic.
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'Smart Gun' Firm Wants You To Fund Its Prototype

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  • This solves ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @01:43PM (#43863013) Journal

    What problem does this solve?

    I realize that stolen guns are a big item in criminal circles, but my guess is these will be "hacked". Additionally, if these guns prove less than reliable (doesn't fire by the "owner"). And finally who is actually clamoring for "smart gun" weaponry, besides the anti-gun nuts?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kk49 ( 829669 )

      It solves (probably poorly) the problem of police officers being shot with their own guns and kids getting shot by guns their stupid parents left accessible.

      • Re:This solves ? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @01:49PM (#43863121)

        Do you think any parent irresponsible enough to leave their guns out around their kids is going to spring the extra $ to buy a smart gun?

      • Provided that discovery channel immediately stops reruns of the Mythbuster episode on "how to beat a fingerprint reader". Because kids will never try to get around technology.
      • It just means that I'm going to cut off the officer's hand and use his hand to shoot him with his own gun. And I get to keep the hand as a trophy and wear it around my neck.
      • by Znork ( 31774 )

        Somehow I don't think the parents leaving their ammo and guns around their kids will be the ones buying safe guns. On the other hand, it might be a good excuse for a responsible person to get such a gun so they can leave it lying around for the kids to play with.

        And really, trying to create a safety sensitive to fingerprints is overengineered idiocy. A safety incorporating, for example, a combination lock would accomplish the same thing for most purposes and it could be trivially made as a simple and highly

    • This solves nothing. It attempts to placate an irrational fear of lethal technology.
    • Fingerprint scanning technology isn't even very good for DOORS yet. Why would anybody try to apply it to guns, at this stage of the technology?

      Maybe when it gets to the stage that the Mythbusters can't beat them ridiculously easily with photocopies and gelatin, it might be appropriate. Now? Not a chance.
    • Re:This solves ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by quietwalker ( 969769 ) <> on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:11PM (#43863439)

      Most of the anti-gun or gun-control measures being suggested appear to have little thought behind them. Assault weapons aren't involved with crime - they're just ~scary~. Massive restrictions on suppressor ownership didn't fix a non-existent assassination problem. So on with these trite changes that ignore the cultural or societal problems that are the root cause of gun issues such as safety and firearms crime. As the parent poster points out, what will this new functionality 'fix'?

      This lack of foresight is endemic in gun debates, and we so often end up spending time, money, political capital and voter interest on or fighting non-functional 'solutions'. We appear to lack answers to even basic questions like "How much time and money is being spent to correct those few situations this technological fix claims value in?" or " Is this an efficient application of our resources?"

      This is not a case of 'every little bit helps' - time and money are finite resources, and they should be spent where they achieve the best outcome. If you had a goal of reducing crimes involving handguns, spending on weapon modifications, regulations, certifications, and registrations may very well achieve your goal. It's not the only way to achieve it though - compare spending that money on education, which also has a statistical association with crime reduction. How about strengthening cultural value of marriage (single-parent homes produce more criminal children, committing more severe crimes, especially when the father is absent)?

      The problem is most gun legislation right now is completely irrational. On one side we have those who are conditioned to be terrified of guns, and on the other, we have people who fear any regulation - even reasonable regulation - as a threat to their way of life, an unacceptable lockdown by big brother. Both scramble for facts, but the heart of both sides is driven by some irrational terror.

      Is asking for a popular democracy to resort to fact-based reasoning too much of a stretch?

      • by mmcxii ( 1707574 )
        Is asking for a popular democracy to resort to fact-based reasoning too much of a stretch?

        If people use fact-based reasoning even for a few decisions a day entire markets would collapse, there would be social upheaval and politicians would have to run for their lives.
  • by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @01:44PM (#43863031)

    I'm pretty sure anyone who feels the need to own or carry a gun is also pretty damned adamant about having it reliably and unquestionably work when they actually need it. The first time one of these things fails (even in a test) will be the last time anyone buys one.

    • The very fact that it has to rely on batteries -- even very good batteries -- means they simply cannot come even close to being sufficiently reliable to justify their existence.

      How can the electronics claim to be 99.99x% reliable, when the batteries it relies on aren't?
    • I'd also like the ability to hand one of my handguns or rifles to a friend and allow them to use it. I don't, for example, like the idea of having swap magic RFID bracelets, or program in new fingerprint scans (or take off gloves!) in the middle of an emergency. Honestly, the people who think this stuff up (in terms of requiring all gun owners to have such) have obviously never actually imagined a gun-handling situation outside of a press conference.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        in terms of requiring all gun owners to have such

        It's interesting how rampant gun fan's paranoia is. This story isn't about forcing everyone to have the technology, it is about a company trying to get funding to develop the viable first version. It's like you won't even entertain the idea that the technology could exist or be trialled. Maybe some people might even want to buy it if it works. Is that so terrible, so frightening?

  • But what if I cut off the owner's hand and use it to fire the gun with? Huh?! Didn't think about that one, did you technology people? Then I could go around committing mass acts of violence and it'll look like the guy who got his hand cut off did it all. And you won't be able to prove it in court. See?
  • When is the government going to mandate smart cars, smart kitchen knives, smart tree branches, smart rocks, smart lightening bolts, smart light sabers [], smart hammers, smart chainsaws, smart door knobs, smart electrical outlets, smart rivers, smart rain, smart earthquakes, smart bridges, and most importantly, smart politicians?

  • by washort ( 6555 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @01:49PM (#43863111) Homepage
    This is the sort of thing that sounds like a great idea to people who don't know much about computers or guns, and the ways that they can fail.
    • This is the sort of thing that sounds like a great idea to people who don't know much about computers or guns, and the ways that they can fail.

      Maybe that's what they're counting on. What dictator wouldn't love to EMP a rebel army and disable all their weapons?

  • Proposal : the only validation method I think is usable is an implanted RFID tag with encryption. I don't think these exist yet, the current ones that can be implanted can be "cloned" because they emit a fixed data string when queried.

    Why not fingerprints/palmprints? Validation is too slow, too many ways for the sensor to get obscured or some other failure to happen to cause the gun to not register the user instantly. Also, fingerprints/palmprints can be hacked easily.

    Anyways, it would use implanted RFID

    • You also need a powered RFID scanner to query the tag, which means either the owner's hand or the gun needs a power source to operate. I do not foresee these selling well if it only has a shelf life of a few months to a few years. The people who want a gun, want one that is reliable and can sit in a case for years and still work at a moment's notice. Swapping out a battery doesn't sound like something people will want to need to do....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 30, 2013 @01:50PM (#43863135)

    Fingerprint ID for a gun won't work for obvious reasons. You can't guarantee fingerprints can be read if your finger is dirty or injured. Further more when you need to pull a trigger on a gun you need it to go off right then and not have to mess around with it.

    Lots of government money has already been wasted on this concept only to conclude its not practical

  • I won't be contributing.

    All this will do is add a piece of technology that is more prone to breakage than the gun itself. One purpose of the weapon is to defend yourself, almost always, quickly. The last damned thing I want on my gun is another locking mechanism that could fail when I need it most.

  • by PseudoCoder ( 1642383 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @01:53PM (#43863177)

    Because nobody in their right mind is going to want a "smart" gun. I advocate for smart gun owners. In fact, I help train them. It is much more effective than the "smart gun" will ever be, and the cost will be about the same. Trying to fix stupid with technology is a losing bet.

    Reliability is a sticking point when people ask advice for which gun to buy. You want it to shoot every time you pull the trigger. I'm not going to add a layer of uncertainty to a life-critical mechanical device. What if I need to use it during the winter when I'm likely to be wearing gloves? Or if it's raining and my hands are wet? No thanks; we'll pass.

  • Car Analogy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sehlat ( 180760 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @01:56PM (#43863207)

    A google car which detects whether you're upset and refuses to start even if your wife's water just broke.

  • Lets look at some extra smart features
    a) RF signal to disable the gun around schools, malls and movie theatres
    b) ID + location beacon that is transmitted for 1 hour after any firing
    c) write only GPS time and location log of all firings. Anything within 5 minuts and 50m is logged as single event with total rounds fired count
    d) Friend of Foe ping with identification.
    e) remote disable using secure key, this must be active on all privately owned guns
    f) ability to turn off features (a,b,d,e), but the gun will t

  • ...on something that can easily hacked and never will work reliably, why not spend money on something much better, which can also easily hacked and never will work reliably? A gun, which refuses to shoot unarmed people?
  • This using crowdfunding to pay for your own personal hobby-horse [] is getting real old.

    I'm going to start a kickstarter to send me on a research expedition to Aruba.
  • Car Analogy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by saynt ( 19633 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:05PM (#43863363)

    If your car doesn't start immediately on the first turn of the key, you die of multiple gunshot wounds.

  • It's a bad idea and I forbid you to proceed. I'm out. -Mr. Wonderful
  • Car analogy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Teun ( 17872 )
    Anyone driving a car has to do a test to get a licence.

    In most US states you can just go out and buy a gun, no licence needed to own or use it.

    Such a gun licence, with or without a prior test, would do away with the discussion about buying guns a shows, you don't have licence, no sale.

  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:08PM (#43863403)

    Fingerprint approaches just are not going to work, because the environment is insufficiently controlled.

    Why not either design the assault rifle to use a small implantable RFID key device, that is coded to you and works every time? If it's implantable, it's always there..

    That strikes me as a simple and elegant solution. You're always going to need a battery, but the power level might be low enough to measure the lifetime in years.


    Another approach would be to code the ammunition not the rifle, and electrically detonate it. That way you could have a fresh "battery" every time. Likely cost prohibitive, however.

    There's a few hundred million weapons in the US now anyway, millions more sold every year. I think the horse left the barn some time ago.. making this kind of moot.

    If I ran the kingdom in light of the above, I'd have mandatory practical firearms training for every high school student. That'd make too much sense, though..

  • Car analogy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:09PM (#43863409) Journal
    Best car analogy? Okay, how about this:

    You leave work late one evening. You notice a group of trashy teens across the parking lot, but see similar groups often enough so think nothing of it. You start walking toward your car, and as soon as you've gotten committedly-far from the safety of your office building, the teens start moving quickly toward you. You notice two now have knives out.

    You start running toward your car, and make it with a good 10+ second buffer before the thugs reach you. You press your thumb to the door lock and...

    Bzzzt. Damn that paper cut you got right after lunch! You try again: Bzzzt. Third time: Bzzzt.

    The thugs reach you, stab you 27 times, rape a few of the new holes, and take your iphone and wallet. They leave you to die, which you obligingly do roughly twelve minutes later.

    Whether you "like" them or not, if you acknowledge that guns have any legitimate use, they need to just plain work when needed. Period. No papercuts preventing them from recognizing your fingerprints, no batteries to die, no "instant background check" to take 30 seconds to verify that you haven't started taking Prozac in the past few days.

    And if you don't think guns have any legitimate purpose, well, too bad - Because the authors of our constitution did.
  • For a Pledge of $1000, Jaqen H'ghar will kill 3 people of your choosing using this product. Just don't waste it on the wrong 3 people that could have ended the book series quickly.

  • It takes a smart guy with a dumb gun to stop a dumb guy with a smart gun.
  • Not going for 'funny' points here, but still.

    In plenty of juristictions, you can be in trouble if you're in possession of car keys whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.
    (BTW, are they not the same thing? Why the distinction? But I digress...)

    How would this work with a 'smart' gun?

    Your car keys are on the table when the cops bust the bar. You've just finished your 10th strong drink. No problem; someone (sober) in your entourage was going to drive you home.
    Your 'smart' gun, (why do I dislike that te

  • are not gun owners.

    I can't imagine any reason that I would want their project to succeed.

  • to build an assault-style rifle

    Much like the double rainbow guy, I can't help but ask...
    "What does it mean? I don't know what it means..."

    Really. What the fuck is an assault-style rifle? Have we not muddled the language enough yet?
    An assault rifle is a fully automatic rifle that is designed for tactical operations.
    An assault weapon is a semiautomatic rifle that is specifically named in the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, or has a certain combination of cosmetic features specifically identified in the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons B

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      An assault weapon is a semiautomatic rifle that is specifically named in the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, or has a certain combination of cosmetic features specifically identified in the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.

      Not necessarily. Go to the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (or the newer one, if you prefer), and you'll find a list of rifles that CANNOT be considered "assault weapons". If you take one of those rifles and add the cosmetic features you mentioned, they're still NOT assault weapons.

      An assa

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:44PM (#43863881)


    A woman is crossing a dark parking lot at night; she sees someone in a hoodie on the other side of the parking lot. The person in the hoodie obviously notices her with a predatory pause and tarts moving towards her Her car is between them. She runs for the car, the bad guy starts running towards her. She gets in RFID range; the car notices the keys in her purse. She reaches the drivers side of her car just as the bad guy reaches the passengers side. She opens the door because the RFID has authorized it. The bad guy opens the passenger door, because the RFID has authorized it.

    Isn't she happy she had the RFID?


    You get into your house. You hear a crash from the bedroom. You run to investigate. A burglar has just successfully opened your gun case. He tries to shoot you; the gun fails to go off. You rush over. You struggle. You get in RFID range. The gun goes off during the struggle, and you're shot.

    Aren't you glad you had the RFID?

    • RFID keys are not uncommon on new cars now. Our new car has one (and it's not particularly high-end). What you suggest there is plausible, although the sensors may be sensitive enough to tell which door you are at. I'm not sure about that. I'll have to try it sometime.

      We've been annoyed by it once when my wife wanted to leave her purse (with car keys) in the car. The car won't actually let you lock the doors in that situation because it realizes that the key is still present.

      In case you're wondering the ign

  • yea right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:05PM (#43864161)

    Last week, a Massachusetts congressman submitted a bill that would require all U.S. handgun manufacturers to include smart gun technology in their weapons."

    Which will get struck down by the supreme court the second it hits their docket. Lets just stop pretending like the gun control lobby isn't trying to change the constitution. Because the ONLY way to achieve their goals is to do so. Lets have a vote, so we can all see it fail miserably and get on with our lives.

    A lot of people think the framers didn't foresee the advanced weaponry that we have today, and would have never included it in the right to bare arms. This is a ludicrous argument. At the time the constitution was written, they had CANNONS. Cannons are still legal to this day! Later, with the invention of primers somehow the right to bare arms was a bit too much... because if you could just slide a shell into the cannon it was somehow a lot more dangerous than blackpowder. So clearly they never thought of repeating rifles! Ah ha! That's the problem, they never thought people could rapidly fire a gun, over and over... oh wait, let me introduce you to the Girandoni air rifle. []
    It could fire 22 rounds without reloading or refilling the air reservoir. It had no muzzle flash, no smoke, was nearly silent and fired a ball equivalent to a modern 45 acp that was deadly at over 150 yards. This gun was in many ways superior to modern assault rifles and was in wide production and in use by the Austrian army 8 years before our constitution was adopted. There were plenty of Austrian mercenaries carrying them in the states as well and it was a hanging offense to be caught with one by the British military because they were so deadly.

    So tell us again how the framers had no idea how dangerous guns would become. Or how in Chicago, where we have the strictest gun laws in the country, the rate of death by firearm is higher than it is in Afghanistan, and active war zone, where it's common for people to carry full auto AK's.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong