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CNET News Video: Tech competition takes aim at smarter, safer guns
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CNET News Video: Tech competition takes aim at smarter, safer guns

3:35 /

It's kind of like the X-Prize, but participants aren't trying to land on the moon. The Silicon Valley-backed Smart Tech for Firearms challenge aims to fund innovators creating technologies that help curb gun violence. Could biometrics and RFID tech succeed where the government has largely failed?

-One year after the Sandy Hook massacre, public shootings are still regularly in the headlines. While many look to government to pass gun control legislation, one organization is taking a different approach and trying to innovate their way to a solution. -Part of the beauty of innovation is it's apolitical, and cuts right at the core of the American process. We're believers in free markets. -A group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is tackling gun violence with technology. -The Smart Tech Foundation is outlined to create four incentive challenges. This can be thought of as X PRIZE-like challenges where we foster innovation through grants and prize money. The first challenge is on smarter, safer firearms. -What does a smarter firearm look like? It may resemble the spy tech seen in films. -Walther PPK/S 9-millimeter short. It's been coded to your palm print so only you can fire it. Less of a-- -They're everything from biometrics, like the gun seen in Skyfall, to dynamic group recognition. Turns out how you grip a gun is rather individual. -Similarly, bullets could become smarter. -By placing small electronic devices, micro devices, within the ammunition itself, it can figure out whether or not the person using the firearm is authorized. -The Smart Tech Foundation says future challenges will focus on other areas such as community safety and mental health. -One possible application is the nature of how people play video games. Their neuromuscular-visual coordination can detect changes in brain performance. That's been shown to detect concussions, initial evidence around detecting cognitive defects. -Others in the tech industry are also exploring gun safety. German company Armatix has developed Smart System, a gun-and-watch pair that incorporates radio frequency identification or RFID. The gun only fires when in range of the watch. SST recently launched ShotSpotter SiteSecure, which could be used in airports or schools. It utilizes SST's gunfire detection technology to determine the location of shots fired, and then automatically notifies law enforcement. -[unk] Priority one. 415 gunshot -Not only could this shave minutes off the response time, it could give first responders valuable information, such as the whereabouts of a shooter. Gun proponents have also made technical advances in the past year. In the spring, Defense Distributed successfully fired a plastic gun made with a 3D printer. TrackingPoint integrated sensors into a rifle, greatly improving a user's ability to accurately shoot a target from a thousand yards away. -So, you can place a lock on your target. It will persistently track that target as it moves. It will give you the velocity of that target up to 10 miles an hour. It'll allow you to make that shot on that target while it's moving. -No matter what form gun safety takes, its success depends on firearm users. -It doesn't make sense to create a new gadget, a new firearm itself that nobody wants. And so understanding the existing customer needs, understanding the requirements for the marketplace itself are really important, and that's why we're leveraging firearm industry experts itself to help us guide and shape the nature of the innovation. -The Smart Tech Firearms Challenge begins in January. Participants will be competing for $1 Million and counting. In San Francisco, I'm Sumi Das, CNET for CBS News.
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