The First Smart Gun May Not Be The Future Weapon We Expected
Developed in early to mid-2000s, The Armatix iP1 uses a special watch to determine whether or not the person holding the weapon is in fact the correct user. It’s straight out of James Bond. If the user does not have the watch or isn’t authorized, the gun won’t function. The watch and gun are both embedded with RFID technology that allows them to communicate with each other, according to Forgotten Weapons.
On a technology side, the iP1 fails because it’s not easy to use. Even firearms experts and historians claim the pairing process between the watch and the gun can take upwards of an hour due to the finnicky controls on the watch and the less than intuitive gun as it features no screen of any kind (via Forgotten Weapons). As an actual firearm, the iP1 couldn’t be adopted for serious use. For starters, it’s chambered in a .22 long rifle, a caliber typically suited for target shooting or small game hunting, making it ill-suited for personal defense or law enforcement roles. Secondly, the trigger mechanism was incredibly heavy to use and the sights on the top of the gun were ill-suited for accurate shooting.
If a lackluster user experience wasn’t enough, gun organizations vehemently lobbied against any kind of large-scale smart gun adoption, reports Wired. Overall, the iP1 was more of a proof of concept than a serious firearm aimed at a commercial, military or law-enforcement market.
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