This Newly Created Smart Gun Can Be Activated By Facial Movement

It was designed for a man with limited use of his body.

Jul 15, 2018
smart gun

Photo by Hans Berggren/Getty Images

In 2014, Bill Binko, founder of ATMakers, witnessed Michael Phillips deliver a keynote speech using only the muscles in his forehead. Last month, Phillips fired a smart gun using his right eyebrow in Prescott, Arizona.

Phillips has type one spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) which has resulted in the almost complete loss of his muscle use. At birth, doctors told his parents that he wouldn’t live past his first birthday. Now, 37 years later, Phillips continues to beat the odds. He’s created a list of things that he wants to accomplish, which is currently posted on his website.

His most recent completed accomplishment was to “fire [a] gun using a switch.” It was made possible by Bill Binko, who approached Phillips to help him achieve his goal.

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Photo courtesy of ATMakers.org

Binko is the founder of ATMakers, a company designed to ease activities for people like Phillips. It took Binko four years to design the smart gun, defined as a gun with modern safety features. During this time, Binko also managed to clear the project past the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). 

Binko created an interface for Phillips’ use, stating that the most challenging aspect of the project lied in the task of making the smart gun remain firmly in place and safe for use. Phillips uses a forehead sensor to navigate his computer. The same sensor was used to control and fire the smart gun through Binko’s modulated interface.

Recreational shooting ranges are a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. A smart gun interface like Binko’s could provide possibilities for persons with cognitive or physical impairments to participate in recreational shooting activities.

Jul 15, 2018