This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
There is a growing demand for automating weapon detection at scale, be it at airports, shopping malls, or sports stadiums. In fact, the weapons detection systems industry is expected to hit $7.5 billion by 2025, up from $4.9 billion today, with public venues constituting around one fifth of the market, according to a HSRC research.
Artificial intelligence could play a role in preventing gun crime, particularly mass shootings. X-ray is already used in many security scenarios, such as for scanning bags in airports or other venues, and it can also provide 2D scans of a person’s exterior. Millimeter wave scanners are also used in some locations for 3D body scans. But a new radar imaging technology leverages AI and deep learning to identify concealed weapons.
Hexwave 3D imaging technology, developed by Liberty Defense, will be beta-tested with German soccer giant FC Bayern München inside the Allianz Arena stadium in Munich.
The company claims that it has secured an exclusive license from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in addition to a technology transfer agreement, for patents relating to 3D radar imaging technology.
The technology can detect potentially dangerous weapons while an individual is in motion. It’s all about speed.
“Hexwave provides 3D imaging at a rate that is in real time — it can assess for threats while the person is still walking, which means it is well suited for higher, faster throughput,” says CEO Bill Riker.
According to the company, their ability to deploy the technology in either indoor or outdoor settings with both covert and overt applications has been driving increasing interest from the market.
The 3D imaging technology sends low-energy radar — 200 times less powerful than Wi-Fi, according to Riker — through materials, including clothing or bags, that then bounces back off a person’s body to generate “images of threats” on the outside of the body, rather than images of the body itself. This technology is capable of displaying the outlines of guns, knives, suicide vests, and other weapons, according to venturebeat.com.
Hexwave is built on technology developed at MIT: the antenna array and transceiver, which is what makes it capable of capturing real-time data, and the 3D image generation technology for converting the captured data into images.
But Liberty Defense is adding its own user interface and AI smarts. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) (designed to replicate the way humans learn and recognize objects) are trained and built into Hexwave.
A number of companies are leveraging AI to help detect weapons, including Athena Security, which uses computer vision to detect guns, though its system doesn’t work on concealed weapons. Elsewhere, a Canadian company called Patriot One develops technology similar to Liberty Defense’s, while Bill Gates-backed Evolv Technology also operates in a similar ball park.