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What is MuzzleSafe™?
The concept is simple. Using a proximity sensor (a.k.a. rangefinder), the device measures the distance between the firearm's muzzle, and the object likely to be struck by the bullet if the firearm is discharged. This information is fed to a microcontroller, which makes a decision to either allow or disallow fire.
In the proof-of-concept prototype, the proximity sensor is an ultrasonic sonar rangefinder, and the "firearm" (airgun) is enabled and disabled using an electromechanical relay switched by a transistor. The response time is somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 milliseconds (1/20th of a second). This is much faster than any human reflex arc, and makes it nearly impossible for a person to shoot themselves; even deliberately.
MuzzleSafe™ allows for several modes of operation: The first and foremost is disabling fire when an object is considered to be too close to the muzzle. This is useful for several reasons, from nearly eliminating the risk of shooting oneself, to greatly reducing the risk of accidentally shooting someone else. Through mathematical models and CAD simulations, it was discovered that the chances of a stray bullet hitting a person increase dramatically with that person's proximity to the muzzle of the gun at the moment it fires. By disabling fire in the "point blank" regime, MuzzleSafe™ protects innocent bystanders while still facilitating normal target practice.
Think locking up your guns is enough?
We researched this matter thoroughly, and we found that the vast majority of gun accidents don't even involve young children. Children ages 0-14 are actually among the least likely to have a gun accident, based on an age breakdown of annual deaths. The highest risk age range is 15-24, with victims being in their late teens and early 20s. This probably coincides with an increased level of interest in guns being exhibited by young adults, combined with the fact that parents and society begin trusting such young adults with firearms for the first time.
Locking up guns when not in use remains the best practice for those with small children. We do not claim that MuzzleSafe™ is an alternative to this or any standard gun safety practice! But it is important not to delude ourselves into thinking that every gun accident involves a toddler finding an unsecured gun in a sock drawer. Yes, that does happen, but no: most fatal gun accidents do not fit that mold. Most fatal gun accidents involve adults being shot at close range by a loaded firearm whose muzzle was not being properly controlled. Therefore, locking up your guns -- while a good idea -- is simply not enough to reliably prevent an accident, since you or others will presumably load and fire them at some point, thereby incurring inherent risk. That's the bad news. The good news is, MuzzleSafe™ can help prevent the vast majority of gun accidents. When used in concert with safe gun handling practices, MuzzleSafe™ severely reduces the likelihood that an honest mistake will inflict tragic consequences.
DISCLAIMER: All MuzzleSafe™ firearms and airguns should be treated as if they are ready to fire at all times. Like any safety device, MuzzleSafe™ should not be relied upon to prevent injury or death from accidental discharge. Proper muzzle control and trigger finger placement must be observed when handling any firearm. The creator of MuzzleSafe™ will not be held liable for injuries or deaths caused by negligence on the part of the end user. Use of any MuzzleSafe™ product shall signify acceptance of these terms, and of all liability stemming from the handling of any firearm or airgun. Demonstrations of the technology are conducted under controlled conditions and should not be attempted.
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt