Even though it was a bit off topic, David Benjamin's blog Need a Reminder? Prohibition Doesn't Work! has generated a lot of discussion. The topic is guns, and there actually is a high-tech angle to this debate: smart guns.
Technology exists, or could exist, that would make guns safer. The idea of a safe gun might seem to be the ultimate oxymoron: guns are designed to kill. But something missing from the gun-control debate that has followed the killing of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., is the role of technology in preventing or at least limiting gun deaths.
Biometrics and grip pattern detection can sense the registered owner of a gun and allow only that person to fire it. For example, the iGun, made by Mossberg Group, cannot be fired unless its owner is wearing a ring with a chip that activates the gun.
This is the same kind of technology used for security systems and other identification-sensitive applications. It's also big bucks for the high-tech market. According to research published in November by ASDReports.com, the biometric technologies market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 18.7 percent to $13.89 billion by 2017.
The NYT reports that gun manufacturers are not interested in adapting the technology, because of certain sales practices. Private gun sales do not require background checks, and linking an ID to a specific weapon would discourage the secondary market.
However, the applications for biometric technology remain vast. Government, banking and finance, travel and immigration, defense, consumer electronics, home security, commercial security, and healthcare are some of the targeted markers. Government applications alone include voting, personal ID, licensing, building access, border access control, immigration, and detection of explosives at airports.
The idea is still a little too Orwellian for me. What do you think?
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.