Anytime a police officer draws their weapon, it's likely to be a tense, confusing situation where split second decisions can be the difference between life and death. In an attempt to reduce some of the confusion, Yardarm has developed a wireless sensor that allows firearms to be tracked and monitored in real time thanks to a small electronics package that fits into the weapon's grip.
Developed by Capitola, California-based Yardarm Technologies, the Yardarm Sensor is billed as the "world’s first wireless sensor for firearms,” and is designed not just for the law enforcement market, but also private security firms and the military. The company says the device’s purpose is to not only improve the safety of officers on duty, but also build public confidence that weapons are being used responsibly.
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The induction-charged sensor sits in the bulge in the weapon’s handgrip behind the magazine. The streamlined unit contains a programmable microcontroller, a magnetometer, accelerometer, and gyroscope. These feed into a Bluetooth transmitter that pairs the device with the user's smartphone, which is turn connects to the device to the Yardarm Cloud where it is encrypted before being sent on to the user's superior or the organization's command center.
According to Yardarm, the Sensor integrates with existing systems and connects to computer aided dispatch (CAD) centers, real-time crime centers (RTCC), smartphones, tablets, or laptops.
The purpose of the Yardarm Sensor is to send real-time alerts whenever an incident involving an officer’s firearm occurs; even if the officer is incapacitated. The device lets the command center know when the firearm leaves its holster, where it is, when it is fired, and when the firearm leaves the officer's person. It can even record the direction of the weapon’s fire and provide evidence for crime scene investigations.
The Yardarm Sensor is actually an evolution – or devolution – of the company's Yardarm Safety First system unveiled in prototype form at the 2013 CTIA Conference in Las Vegas in May of last year. This technology allowed gun owners to remotely engage or disengage the trigger safety on their firearms from anywhere in the world. Like the Yardarm sensor, it also provided the current location of the weapon and sent an alert if it was handled or moved.
However, with "smart gun" technology falling foul of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which argued that they could infringe second amendment rights and eventually lead to a government ban of all guns that didn't posses smart gun technology, Yardarm was forced to rethink its strategy. This is why the company is targeting the law enforcement, private security and military markets rather than private gun owners.
The company says its Yardarm Sensor will complete field testing this year and will undergo final market trials early next year, with the first deliveries to follow shortly after. The price of the system has not yet been released.
The video below introduces the Yardarm Sensor system.