(NewsNation) — In a breakthrough for firearm safety, a company called BioFire has created a gun that uses 3D facial recognition so that only the owner or approved users can fire it.
BioFire CEO and founder Kai Kloepfer said gun owners should never have to choose between safe storage and instant access. Kloepfer demonstrated the weapon for NewsNation’s Nick Smith.
“As I pick that firearm up you see it goes green, right and that means it’s recognized my biometrics,” Kloepfer said. “It’s going to stay unlocked and I can take my finger off the finger sensor, I can adjust my grip.”
But once Kloepfer sets the gun down, it’s no longer operable.
“The most important part, though, is if I set this down the table you’ll see it locks,” he explained.
Kai Kloepfer is the founder of Biofire, a startup building a biometrically-authenticated handgun that instantly unlocks for users authorized by its owner
Biofire is now promoting the new 9mm smart gun, the first of its kind. Enabled by facial recognition, the gun is useless to anyone not recognized by the weapon’s face ID.
Kloepfer said preorders for the gun have been strong, despite the high price tag of $1,500.
“So at this point, really the focus is, we want to continue to ramp up manufacturing and start getting production units in people’s hands as fast as possible,” he said.
When someone whose biometrics aren’t in the gun tries to use it, it becomes nothing more than a paperweight. But once someone’s fingerprints and face are scanned into the system and authorized by the owner, it works.
When fired, the gun feels no different than any other weapon. But some gun owners are still concerned that the technology won’t be reliable.
Certified pistol instructor Luanda Hart said she has concerns about how the gun is controlled.
“It came down to something bigger, when it’s infringing on Second Amendment rights and those guns can be shut off. Those are just questions that need to be asked,” she said.
Kloepfer said the gun has no wireless communication of any kind. No WiFi, no Bluetooth, no GPS or cell service.
“The intent is that everything is happening locally within the firearm itself,” he said.
In fact, he said there are no external servers holding or saving data, meaning no one has access to a user’s biometric information.
Kloepfer said the gun is meant to be another option for gun owners, and the features should be used in addition to other security measures.
Owners are able to add up to five active users to the gun, with the option to add or delete those people at any time.
Kloepfer created the first iteration of the gun when he was just 15, inspired by the 2012 shooting at a movie theater showing “The Dark Knight.” Living just 45 minutes away from where that tragedy took place, his first iteration of the gun won 1st place in the electrical and mechanical engineering category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
He won a $50,000 grant to work on the gun and was later accepted to MIT. But he dropped out to focus on BioFire, which currently has 40 employees and $30 million in venture capital funding.