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Utah native invents AI gun detection technology that can be used in schools

Posted at 10:15 PM, Aug 16, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — One Utah native quit his job to work full-time on creating an artificial intelligence gun detection system. 'Omnilert’ can tell the difference between a cell phone, a handgun and a rifle.

School shootings hit close to home for Chad Green.

“My cousin's daughter was actually killed in the Newtown Connecticut shooting," he said.

The Utah native had worked on defense technology for years.

“I worked for a company that built active protection systems for the military, and we're protecting soldiers from rockets and missiles and things like that," said Green. "I just had this thought: why aren't we doing more to protect our kids?”

In 2017, Green quit his job to work full-time on creating an artificial intelligence gun detection system. 'Omnilert’ can tell the difference between a cell phone, a handgun and a rifle, he said.

“Cameras are already placed in schools," said Green. "They're very common, and it's a great idea to have, but nobody's looking at them, so all day every day the cameras are there watching what happens, but we only use them to go back in time and see if we can figure out what happened.”

AI gives schools the opportunity to have eyes on potential threats 24/7; if Omnilert detects a gun, within seconds, pre-planned responses kick in, like locking doors and calling the police.

“With the AI enabled, we can take one security guard that previously maybe only could have watched four cameras and now he can monitor 1,000," said Green.

It breaks his heart that his innovation was born out of numerous tragedies, said Green.

“It's unfortunate that this technology is needed," he said. "Obviously I didn't come up with it as a product that I was excited to sell. It came out of necessity.”

In March of this year, Governor Cox signed a bill into law called 'School Safety Requirements.' It does a few things, like creating the 'School Security Task Force,' requiring public schools to do threat assessments and have a School Safety Specialist and requiring the state Board of Education to contract with a vendor for firearm detection software, like Omnilert. The board, however, recently decided to contract with a similar vendor called ZeroEyes.

The bill specifies that the board of education will have grants for school safety and security services and materials; $72 million dollars has been allocated to the ‘School Safety and Support Grant Program.’ Schools need to apply for the grant by September 15.