This smart pistol only fires when in proximity to a RFID wristwatch

armatix-ip1

Detailed by the Washington Post earlier this week, the Armatix iP1 is a handgun that is only capable of firing when in range of the included waterproof wristwatch. Utilizing a RFID chip with a proximity of about ten inches, a light just above the grip will turn green when the gun is ready to fire. When the watch is more than ten inches away from the pistol, the light on the handgun will turn red and nothing will happen when the trigger is pulled. In addition to displaying the time, the watch also shows the charge level of the device, can be set for timed weapon deactivation and includes a PIN system for managing the weapon.

The downside to the Armatix iP1 is the exorbitant cost when compared to handguns of the same caliber or even a greater caliber. While a typical, mid-range .22 pistol can run between $300 to $600, the .22 caliber Armatix iP1 is being sold at about $1,399 in the United States and that doesn’t even include the watch. The RFID wristwatch costs an additional $399, so the entire package will be at least three times the cost of a standard .22 pistol. For the moment, only the Oak Tree Gun Club in Los Angeles is selling the weapon according to the Post. 

Of course, Armatix isn’t the only company that’s building smart technology into weapons. A company called TriggerSmart has created a detachable piece on the handgun grip that contains a RFID chip. When the piece is attached, the gun is capable of firing within a quarter of a second. However, the handgun is incapable of firing without the RFID chip locked in place.

armatix-ip1-rfid-wristwatch

There are also development teams pursing research into other forms of smart guns. Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway put up a $1 million dollar prize last year for the creation of something similar to the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S. Presumably, this technology would be sold or licensed to gun manufacturers. Speaking about the tech, Conway said “You let the free enterprise system take over. Just like everyone opted into the iPhone and abandoned the flip phone and BlackBerry, consumers will vote with their feet. We want gun owners to feel like they are dinosaurs if they aren’t using smart guns.”

There are a number of concerns with integrating smart tech into weapons. For instance, someone that forgets to swap out the battery within a RFID accessory could end up with a useless weapon when it’s needed the most. There’s also the potential for losing the RFID device. In a more sophisticated scenario, RFID jamming or hacking to respectively disable or enable the weapon without the need for the RFID accessory could be an issue.

Alternatively, proponents of the technology like the fact that the weapon would be useless if stolen by a criminal during a robbery or discovered by a member of the household that’s not allowed to handle the weapon. Taking the technology a step further into a hypothetical future, these smart functions could end up being tied to our mobile devices, thus providing functions like location tracking using GPS or remote disabling if the gun was stolen along with the RFID device.

Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Mobile

Declutter your life with our favorite wireless chargers for Android and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Gaming

Find the perfect weapon in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' multiplayer with our guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has several different guns to choose from in its multiplayer mode, and they're split across multiple classes. Here's a guide to all of them and when you should use them.
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop duster’ robot is helping reseed the Great Barrier Reef with coral

In a world first, an undersea robot has delivered microscopic coral larvae to the Great Barrier Reef. Meet Larvalbot: the robot "crop duster" which dispenses coral babies on troubled reefs.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Features

Cities looking to get smart take a lesson from an iconic shopping mall

From Disney World to the Mall of America, public venues are becoming microcosms for smart city projects. We dove into both, to show what government officials can learn – and what you can expect from your city.