There have been 119 school shootings since 2018 and 27 so far this year. A practical and effective solution to prevent school shootings is threat awareness technology. One US tech company, Iterate, has developed a system that leverages AI-based image recognition to identify guns and knives to prevent shootings and threats to schools and other businesses. The technology can detect weapons by constantly analyzing 100s of video streams with almost instant reaction times (<30ms).
Iterate.ai is an innovation platform co-founded in 2013 by Jon Nordmark and Brian Sathianathan. Its Threat Awareness technology is currently being used in businesses worldwide and in a Colorado school to monitor weapons to prevent violence like mass shootings and attacks.
Iterate’s Threat Awareness technology can detect more than just visible weapons. Currently, it can detect a human walking 45 feet away with a field of view of about 120 degrees. An add-on technology uses extra tiny hardware sensors and radar to detect even hidden knives and guns.
Once a threat is detected with Iterate.ai’s system, it follows the rules school administrators or business owners set up. It can automatically notify security guards and activate other school alert systems.
The technology uses image recognition, which detects weapons, not faces. This means that privacy is respected while prioritizing public safety.
Iterate.ai’s threat awareness technology is incredibly affordable, which allows more schools and businesses to be protected across the United States. A recent New York Times article estimates that US schools spent $3.1 Billion in 2021 to try and prevent more school shootings, but many schools have no current solution due to a lack of funds.
“The costs for Iterate’s AI solution costs as little as $1,000 a year to power 16 cameras, which is easily workable into any school budget,” says Brian Sathianathan, co-founder and CTO of Iterate.ai. Brian has formerly worked for Apple’s New Product Introductions division, having worked on Apple’s first iPhone.
The technology can also be implemented using existing technology available, which works to keep the costs down.
“The AI can work with existing cameras that are already owned and installed by the school,” adds Jon Nordmark, CEO of Iterate.ai. “We can also monitor hundreds of cameras at a time if needed. The system is very flexible, and if a school needs extra cameras, Iterate.ai can also add them for roughly $75 each.”
A private elementary and middle school in Colorado, just minutes away from the devastating Columbine shooting, has already implemented Iterate.ai’s technology to protect its students.
As a society, we need to act to protect each other from mass shootings. AI technology is a viable solution that can help prevent and stop school shootings from taking place.
“Enough is enough,” said Matt Frary, the parent of a middle school student in Colorado and the founder of DigitalGood. “Maybe a catastrophe could have been proactively prevented if a camera identified the shooter as he approached the back door at Uvalde. It’s time to use the latest technologies to identify threats before they happen. A value can’t be placed on saving just one life.”