New Smartwatch Prevents Smart Gun from Firing

The James Bond palm-reading gun doesn't have anything on the newest smart gun. Arms manufacturer Armatix's latest product combines a .22 calibre pistol with a 10 round magazine and an RFID smartwatch. The combination of devices would prevent unauthorized use of the weapon by disabling it when not within range of the companion watch. The products are a proof of concept for now, but Armatix says it is involved in "advanced licensing negotiations with several gun manufacturers" to bring the system to the masses. No pricing information has been released.

According to a statement by the company, the Armatix iP1 Pistol and companion watch must be within 15 inches of each other. If that's not close enough for you, there is a safety mechanism release if you enter a PIN code into the watch. The gun has been tested and approved by the ATF.

MORE: Mobile Security Guide: Everything You Need To Know

The waterproof black Armatix iW1 Active RFID Watch features four buttons on the face. Alternative watch straps would follow actual availability. In addition to displaying the date and time, as well as entering the gun's PIN number, you can see the battery level on the gun and the watch. The device's batteries should both last for 5,000 rounds or one year on standby. The company also touts "time-controlled weapon deactivation," but it is not immediately clear how this feature works. The company did not immediately return our inquiry.

RFID technology is the same as that used in some passports and credit cards that have in the past been hacked by people carrying RFID readers. Since this RFID connection in question doesn't transmit secure information other than an unlocking PIN, it isn't a huge security concern for now, but Bluetooth could provide a more secure connection.

Follow Cherlynn Low at @CherlynnLow and on Google+. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Cherlynn Low

Cherlynn is Deputy Editor, Reviews at Engadget and also leads the site's Google reporting. She graduated with a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University before joining Tom's Guide and its sister site LaptopMag as a staff writer, where she covered wearables, cameras, laptops, computers and smartphones, among many other subjects.