Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

User-Authorized Handguns

PostedJanuary 29, 2006

Randy Atkins:  A leading option for making so-called "smart guns" is biometrics, which quickly identifies a unique personal trait like fingerprints, voice, or grip shape.  But Larry O'Gorman, an engineer at Avaya Labs, says it's beyond the experience of gun companies.

Larry O'Gorman:  The biometrics technologies that are being used now are very much electronics and computer technologies.  They're software as well, which hasn't come into the technology of guns for the most part.

Randy Atkins:  Adding them involves many engineering challenges:

Larry O'Gorman:  The weighting of the gun, the size of the gun to encompass this new technology, the fact that it's going to require a battery.

Randy Atkins:  And O'Gorman says adding complexity adds potential for failure—a chance some gun owners won't accept, no matter how small.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.