The Department of Justice has awarded the New Jersey Institute NJIT $254,889 to continue developing childproof child-safe gun technology. The funding comes from a grant U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and US Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) earmarked in last year's annual Congressional appropriation bill.
"The money will help NJIT improve its patented dynamic grip recognition technology and move child-safe handgun technology closer to commercial consideration," said NJIT Senior Vice President of Research and Development Donald H. Sebastian. "Our researchers look forward to using this new grant to solve the challenge of adding firing control to produce a complete prototype weapon that fully validates the biometric authorization concept."
The gun currently tests with an accuracy of 95 percent with 32 electronic sensors embedded in the hand grip. Researchers have been evaluating the system using law enforcement professionals as test subjects to demonstrate that the technology works with a wide range of users, firing postures, under stressful conditions and even while wearing gloves.
The next step is to use the authentication signal from the biometrics to enable or disable the firing mechanism. While this was not part of the original NJIT research plan, it has been deemed a necessary step to secure private sector investment and commercialization of the technology.
Since 2000, NJIT has spearheaded efforts to develop a personalized handgun that can recognize, instantly and reliably, one or more pre-programmed authorized users.
In December of 2002, New Jersey became the first state to pass legislation specifying that three years after it is determined that personalized handguns are available for retail sale, dealers and manufacturers will not be able to sell, assign or transfer any handgun legally unless it is personalized.
"Too often, this program is perceived as a gun control issue, and it is not. This is about improved gun safety, and when the technology is perfected it will provide important benefits to every class of owner. It is clearly designed to safeguard unattended weapons in the home from unauthorized use by minors... but will also reduce the utility of stolen weapons, and offer safety benefits to sportsmen, law enforcement professionals and the military," Sebastian said.