Five engineering students from the University of New Haven unveiled their senior project -- a gun lock that works with a smartphone.
Maryam Aljanobi is one of the engineering students who created the LAT lock, which stands for Lock it, Alarm it, and Track it. She and Franzel Pena demonstrated the prototype, which sends a notification to the user’s smartphone when someone tampers with the locking device.
“Everything is done through the phone, so the user has full control of the system,” Pena said.
Aljanobi is from Saudi Arabia, with a double major in computer engineering and computer science. Pena, originally from the Dominican Republic, is also a computer engineer major. He said it took two semesters working most days of the week to produce the lock.
“We had mechanical engineers, we had system engineers, we had electrical engineers, computer engineers, and computer scientists in our group,” Pena said. “So the challenge was to figure out a way where we can effectively communicate our ideas with each other in order to bring this idea into a physical form that we can utilize.”
The smart lock, roughly five inches long, is flat on one side and rounded on the other, with a U-shaped shackle that attaches through holes on each end of the device. It locks the gun through the magazine well and blocks the firing pin.
The project was sponsored by Terry Gilbert, a gun enthusiast and hunter, originally from Orange, Connecticut. Gilbert designed and patented a lock more than 20 years ago, but he wanted an updated design using today’s technology.
Gilbert’s original lock was inspired by a tragic accident.
“A friend of mine was a police officer,” he said. “His 12-year-old son got hold of a weapon. The 11-year-old neighbor boy came by, they were playing with the gun, it went off, and it destroyed two lives. So we set out with the original lock as a child safety locking device.”
Gilbert and the UNH students are talking to various manufacturers, and hope to have the product on the market within a year.