WiFi is widely utilized to connect smartphones and computers to the web, but may aid in identifying potential threats before a mass shooting. First Responder Technologies Inc. (CSE: WPN) utilizes WiFi-based technologies to detect and deter mass shooting and terror attacks involving concealed weapons. By extending the radius in which First Responder’s technology may detect threats as they approach vulnerable targets, the company’s technology may give a heads up to local security/ law enforcement on potential shooters.
“All we’re doing is hoping to get a magic 10-15 seconds, so that the on-site security officer or police officer get the alert and they can do something about it,” said First Responder Technologies CEO anddirector Robert Delamar. “Whether that’s something as simple as locking a door or interdicting the shooter.”
Two dark fence posts that are inconspicuous to common folk act as WiFi antennas that’s transmit and receive. Multiple in one area can increase the field of coverage. The distance between these posts create an “invisible mesh” where constant signals ping back and forth as WiFi speeds of 2.4 GHZ to 60 GHz are utilized. When a individual moves through the signal, the patent pending technology can detect metals of certain sizes and the artificial intelligence will detect weapons whether they are guns or knives and determine if it could be a threat.
If a possible threat is detected, the system will enable a camera installed in the fence post of activate nearby surveillance equipment to confirm the identity of the person(s). “The AI we use is trained to tell the difference between a shooter and a good person. There’s also tagging technologies that you can utilize to tell friendlies from bad guys,” said Delamar. “Rather than having full-time surveillance and invading their privacy, what this system allows you to do is activate a probable cause tripwire.”
The prototype will begin its alpha-testing in May within Canada, the U.S. and U.K. The company is collaborating with New Jersey’s Rutgers University to further research on the technology. Previous federal public safety minister Stockwell Day is the lead advisor on the project.
Public areas such as shopping centres, stadiums, places of worship, schools and government buildings are targets for mass shootings. Back in 2014, Corp. Nathan Cirilla was shot by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau during a terror attack at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. Delamar stated that if the First Responder Technologies tech was implemented, posts would be set up around the National War Memorial. “When that terrorist ran through those posts, there would have been identification of a human being with a weapon and that would have set off the alarm if it was a person that wasn’t authorized to have a weapon in the area, certainly before he got to the building door,” he said. “If you think of the lawn on Parliament Hill, that’s a perfect example of the 10-15 seconds.”
Delamar stated that a pair of fence posts are priced below USD 10,000 and due to WiFi being unregulated, there are not as many regulations to hinder the availability to the public. There is a fine line between utilizing technological surveillance to detect weapons and disrupting people’s privacy. This can be abused with mining of personal data. “Absolutely, we’re monitoring it, but not personal information. We’re looking for dangerous objects,” he said. “Wifi is good at detecting metal. It is not as good for higher resolution frequency for imaging.”
Security expert Matt Torigian, the former Ontario deputy minister of community safety, said FRT’s prototype is an interesting concept, but more studies need to be done to make sure it’s used “in a way that’s consistent with the expectations of the public.” “I think there will be a number of public institutions that will want to look into this further,” he said. “The worst thing is having it taken away because it you used it improperly. That’s what we’re beginning to see with facial recognition. It’s a fabulous tool, but then why has San Francisco and some European communities startied to ban it?”