Public Release: 

Leading U.S. gun manufacturer joins NJIT to develop personalized handgun

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Newark, Nov. 26 - An agreement to form a trilateral partnership to develop a unique personalized handgun was signed by New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc., Florida, and the Australian-based research and development company Metal Storm, Ltd.

"We are delighted to include Taurus in our development team" said Donald H. Sebastian, Ph.D., vice president for research and development at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Newark. Metal Storm and NJIT signed an agreement earlier this year creating the initial team. "The addition of a commercial producer to our technology partnership is vital to ensuring that our design reflects the combined influences of efficient manufacturing practice and consumer preferences. By working prototype and commercial product design in parallel we will shave years off the development cycle."

The partners will create a handgun that will instantly and reliably recognize its authorized operators. The new firearm will combine the developed and patented Dynamic Grip Recognition technology owned by NJIT with the patented handgun Electronic Firing System owned by Metal Storm Ltd. Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc. Florida, and Forjas Taurus, Brazil, will design a total handgun package to house the two new technologies.

The NJIT project picked up speed last spring when NJIT Associate Professor of Information Systems Michael Recce, Ph.D., received a patent for his behavioral biometric, Dynamic Grip Recognition. Recce's invention enabled NJIT researchers to embed multiple small electronic sensors in both sides of a gun's handle to identify the user. Recce sees his invention someday being used in other applications--perhaps the yoke of a plane or the steering wheel of a car.

In New Jersey, the project to develop a personalized weapon, better known as smart gun, has been an ongoing effort since the spring of 2000 when NJIT received the support of the New Jersey State Legislature. To date, NJIT has received $1.5 million in funding from the legislature for the project, said Sebastian. In December of 2002, New Jersey became the nation's first state to pass legislation specifying that three years after it is determined that personalized handguns are available for retail sale, dealers and manufacturers will not be able to sell, assign or transfer any handgun legally unless it is personalized.

The new handgun will incorporate Metal Storm's O'DwyerTM VLe® Technology in a platform to be built and integrated by Taurus with NJIT's patented Dynamic Grip Recognition. Recognizing a specific grip pattern exerted by individuals, the NJIT system will allow each firearm to be programmed so that only pre-authorized users will be able to operate the firearm instantly.

The O'DwyerTM VLe® system is a completely new and unique approach to firing projectiles. Entirely electronic, the system utilizes preloaded barrels holding multiple projectiles that are fired by electronic ignition. For the first time, interchangeable and multiple barrels can be made available to fire a range of both lethal and less-than-lethal projectiles of varying caliber from the same handgun.

Taurus will provide the platform that integrates the NJIT and Metal Storm technologies into a firearm using on-board electronics to recognize the operator and to fire the projectile while using a minimum of moving parts.

"Having the opportunity to partner Taurus firearms advanced engineering with the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Metal Storm, Ltd, presents the firearms world with a combined wealth of forward seeing science that will likely revolutionize ballistics, solid state technology and specific user identification," said Robert G. Morrison, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc.

"The agreement with Taurus is a significant step forward in our efforts to commercialize the O'DwyerTM VLe® handgun," said Charles Vehlow, Metal Storm chief executive officer. "We are excited to leverage Taurus' experience and reputation as a leading manufacturer of small handguns. Their participation is essential to our project with NJIT and reinforces our commitment to create a handgun that offers increased control and security."

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NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar physics. NJIT ranks among the top schools of U.S. News & World Report's list of national doctoral universities.

Metal Storm, Ltd., develops electronically fired weaponry suitable for used by military and police world wide.

Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc. is a Florida corporation that imports and distributes firearms manufactured by Forjas Taurus.

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