Even before the mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people, the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino was looking for new ways to detect concealed weapons without inconveniencing its guests.
The hotel, not far from where the shooting occurred, partnered with security company Patriot One Technologies to test a new screening system called PatScan, which can covertly perform a full-body scan. Check out the video to see how it works.
The key is that the system is discreet, unlike a metal detector, bag search or airport screening. The hardware can be hidden in walls or ceiling and can scan people as they're waiting for an elevator or checking in at the front desk.
Martin Cronin, CEO of Patriot One Technologies, says the technology is called cognitive microwave radar.
"It's combining low-power radar with machine learning to do real-time determination of concealed threats -- guns, knives, bombs -- as somebody's walking into a facility or building." Cronin explains. "There's no privacy concerns. No image of the individual is generated. It's simply saying, passing through the field of the sensor at the moment in time there is a threat. And then the facility can decide what's appropriate in their environment."
The radar helps identify the shape and material of a concealed object.
"The material composition on the shape of the weapon will give a unique resonant signature," Cronin says. "So as that signature comes back, that's where the power of computers comes in, because it gets to turn into a spectrogram."
A computer compares that information to a vast database of signatures of different types of weapons. If it calculates that there's a high probability the object is a weapon, it alerts the security team. And it does it all in a fraction of a second. It's then up to the client, whether it's a hotel or school or business, to respond how it sees fit, from locking down an area to approaching the person.
The Westgate emphasizes that it isn't currently using the PatScan system on its guests. Instead, it's converted a meeting room into a development center for Patriot One to test the technology is a more real-world environment.
Cronin says PatScan is always learning as the company works to update and build out as comprehensive a database as possible of weapons and other objects.
"So teaching what a hair dryer looks like, all different types of computers look like, prosthetic limbs -- you know, so we can make sure that we are always working to reduce false positives and increase accuracy."
Patriot One says it's also conducting tests in several schools and businesses around the world and hopes to launch the system toward the end of 2018.
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