The devastating loss of life at Chardon High School recently inspired two University of Akron freshmen to create a new safety device for handguns.
"My cousin is a student at Chardon right now, and my uncle is a teacher there. ... They were there that day," recalled Niko Ruhe, a computer engineering major at the University of Akron. "After that tragedy occurred and then after I got wind of the Smart Tech Foundation's innovation contest, that's really what became the jump start."
Ruhe teamed up with his college roommate, Reed Jacobsen, to participate in the Smart Tech contest aimed at reducing gun violence through innovation.
During the competition, the pair developed a unique device that notifies a gun owner when their firearm has been tampered with or moved with a text message notification.
"Instead of disarming people like many companies were trying to do, we decided to go about it a different way," explained Ruhe. "We instead try to make responsible gun owners just aware whenever their firearms are moved or handled in anyway."
Ruhe says the safety device uses the same technology that most smart phones utilize in games that require movement. With the help of an accelerometer, or a little sensor, the device then sends a signal to an Internet unit, which then sends an SMS message to the gun owner's phone.
"Every time that sensor registers motion it'll send your cell phone a text message saying that your gun has been moved or handled," Ruhe continued.
Just three months in the works, the device has already won several contests and could soon be in a store near you.
The freshmen already have a provisional patent for the device and are now hoping with enough funding to have smaller prototypes ready for manufacturing later this year.
"If we were just able to put a fraction of a percentage of our sensors in these homes then we could save a countless amount of gun related tragedies," said Ruhe.
Visit the company's website at www.smartgunsystems.com.