Kai Kloepfer, MIT freshman and BioFire founder, has developed a new “smart gun” which uses fingerprint technology for a security feature which forbids anyone whose prints are not authorized from shooting the weapon.
Kloepfer says that in one year alone, nearly 600 people died in firearm accidents. There were thousands more suicides, many committed with guns that did not belong to the victim. While he realizes that he cannot stop mass shootings, he believes he can still save lives.
The college freshman started his company, BioFire, in his parent’s house in Boulder, Colorado, as part of a science project when he was just 15-years-old. The company’s headquarters still remains there today.
CBS News Correspondent Tony Dokoupil asked Kloepfer why the gun took him so long to develop.
“Why did it take four and a half years to put a fingerprint reader on the side of a gun?” Dokoupil asked.
“Well, it’s not as simple of a process as you might imagine,” Kloepfer replied. “It’s also not something anybody has ever done before.”
Also, in addition to the Smartphone-like sensor on the gun itself, the weapon also charges in the same fashion.
Ron Conway, an early investor in Google and Facebook, called Kloepfer “The Mark Zuckerberg of guns,” adding that he is also making the decision to invest in Kloepfer’s company.
“What Kai has done is used all of the latest technology available us to innovate a truly authenticated gun,” Conway said. “You couldn’t do this five years ago.”
There have been past attempts to create what Kloepfer has developed, including one in the 90’s that failed miserably.
“What has changed from then until now to make it possible to make a smart gun like the one you’re working on?” Dokoupil asked.
“I would argue pretty much everything,” Kloepfer said.
Stephen Sanetti, the President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation said “good intentions don’t necessarily make good inventions” and expressed concerns about the fingerprint safety feature, as well as the battery, failing to work properly.
“The firearm has to work, and a firearm is not the same as a cell phone,” Sanetti said. “The consequences of a cell phone not working are inconvenience. The consequences of a firearm not working could be someone’s life.”
Kloepfer said his gun is “relatively reliable,” adding that when he’s using it it functions “almost every single time.”
“I’m now to the point where… I’m able to start raising money, building a team, sort of really transitioning it to a real company, a real startup – instead of just a kid in his garage working on a science project,” Kloepfer continued.