White Paper

January 29th, 2014

08/14/15 Prototype is now in development for the building alarm system peripheral sensor. The body worn device will have to wait. Alarm system manufacturers will be pleased with the development of this device.

Concerning Gunshot Detection Technology

Firearm violence is a daily occurrence in the United States. With the proliferation of firearms, firearm violence will not dwindle anytime soon. Even more disturbing are the many instances where persons with varying violent mental conditions appear to be those killing our children in schools. Of course, the violence is not restricted to schools, but schools are definitely of great concern.

There have been some attempts to make schools safer through armed teachers, armed security guards, police officers, panic buttons and even hardened shelters in each classroom.  Some are controversial, but all have merits and each are considered layers of security which are helpful.

The use of Gunshot Detection Technology is a passive way to protect those in our schools, banks, restaurants, supermarkets, business offices, 24 hour convenience stores, etc.  The detection of a firearm event will immediately report the event to police via alarm systems within the building. Gunshot detection technology already exists in long range applications. Why not utilize it in short range applications?

In a building scenario, Gunshot Detectors (GSD) resemble typical smoke detectors mounted on ceilings or walls.  They detect the audio properties of a muzzle blast. Through the filtering process ambient sounds other than the distinct audio properties are filtered out. Only true audio characteristics would be processed through the detector and if the event is verified, an alarm condition is sent to the alarm company or directly to the police. Because each device is zoned through location, mapping for responders could be available.  Tactical responses would expedite removing the threat and potentially saving lives.

Because the GSD is basically a smart switch, the potential use of GSDs could be definite a lifesaver.  Imagine not only using it as a passive alarm peripheral device, but also as an automated proactive action to deny the shooter his intended victims. GSD would be used in conjunction with electromagnetic door technology, which has been very successful in securing buildings.

So in this scenario a shooter enters a building and fires his weapon. The following would happen:

  • GSD sends a signal to the alarm panel for notification and to electromagnetic door controller panels.
  • All doors are normally held open with an electromagnetic door holder during normal conditions. Once the signal is received all electromagnetic door holders release the doors being held and the door closing mechanisms close the doors automatically.
  • As the doors are released and closed, a large electromagnetic door lock now holds classroom doors, office doors and restroom doors closed with over 1,000 lbs of holding power.
  • This is called compartmentalizing. In essence, the office or school complex becomes a secure complex. This will preserve life and create safe havens for students, teachers and employees.
  • If the shooting begins in a hallway, all doors leading to rooms will be locked. If the shooting occurs in a room, occupants can escape through the door when the building is in lock down mode. Passive infrared detectors over each inside door allows exit. All other doors remain locked, thus denying access to any other students, teachers and employees.
  • Classrooms or some select rooms, could be set up with a keypad to temporarily unlock a secure room for those caught in hallways. Also, the locked doors can have bypass methods built in. The doors should be hardened to be able to resist physical attack for at least 15 minutes. A master control shunt and activation switch could be setup for supervisory and police personnel in a secured location.

While this scenario is only fiction, it is possible to achieve this protection through this technology.

Additionally, this very same technology (miniaturized) could be body worn by primarily police officers. Each year, many police officers are killed in the line of duty by firearms. The concept is to make it safer for officers and with this technology bring aid to the officers much quicker. It would give officers an edge in the apprehension of the shooter through early notification the officer is in need of aid. Here are some points of a Firearm Event Detector (FED):

 Firearm Event Detector (FED) is a body worn system.

  • Primarily for law enforcement officers, but could be used for judges, bailiffs, school teachers, store clerks and many others who might need the additional protection. The device would give officers an edge if they are involved in a shooting where additional police or medical support is needed and they are unable to call for help. Several officers are ambushed each year by assailants with firearms.
  • Attached to the upper uniform or make it a wearable tech device.
  • Battery powered. Quick change battery. Rechargeable. Indicator light for low battery.
  • Hardened case and water resistant with optional ways to attach to clothing or to the upper body.
  • Detection range approximately 60 feet. Consider using a microphone gain adjustment control. The majority of officers killed by firearms are killed within 50’ or less.
  • The device would contain Bluetooth to interface with the wearer’s cell phone. Other telemetry could be added for unique needs.
  • An alarm condition (firearm event) activates Bluetooth.
  • The Bluetooth sends alarm condition to the smart phone or even the police cruiser computer system
  • Through a specially designed software for an I-Phone, Android phone and/or computer could send the location of the incident and other determined conditions to the police dispatcher or monitoring center.
  • The system could be upgradeable via firmware
  • The system to be controlled by encryption to ensure proprietary control, which opens up leasing options and maintenance.
  • For the sake of simplicity, peripheral components such as filtered acoustic microphone(s) and/or filtered light detection sensor(s) could be interfaced with a Smart Phone to achieve a body worn FED. The most expensive cost in producing the Smart Phone version would be in the development of the phone application. The same components could be used for a building/room mounted unit as well.
  • Imagine mobile body worn devices by pedestrians in urban settings where shooting are everyday occurrences! The more pedestrians with the phone app, the better. It could actually help enhance building mounted devices or perhaps even make them unnecessary. It should be about accuracy to help police respond more efficiently to render aid and to apprehend the shooter(s).  Small and inexpensive and weather resistant devices could be mounted by concerned businesses to better serve and protect their customers.  

U.S. Patent Publication for this technology

In conclusion, we live in fear everyday of a new Columbine, Sandy Hook or Foot Hood  tragedy. With the aforementioned technology, we can make our school buildings smarter through certain forms of automation. We can make immediate notification the second a shot is fired, compartmentalize each room immediately, thus protecting our children and young adults. We can give better odds an officer will survive a firearm attack. 

Active shooters must be met with extreme force as soon as possible. We should consider armed guardians on premises. Shooters seek condensed areas of potential target/victims where there is the likihood of no weapons and no escape. The alarm must go out as soon as possible. The concepts in this paper address solutions to this continuing problem.

All that is needed is a serious manufacturer that shares this dream to step forward to make this technology a reality. 

Now, if you are seriously considering these concepts, please feel free to look at this additional info. Yes, a great amount of block diagramming to show how simple this is.


Personal note:

I might be imagining this, but it looks to me that police officers are being ambushed by firearms more frequently. In the cases where they are found later deceased, I believe wearing a gunshot detector would summon lifesaving assistance could save the officer's life.

I'm glad to hear some schools are authorizing teachers to carry firearms. I believe layers of security like this will be a deterrent to would-be shooters. I could see where the designated teachers could become priority targets. There are some great phone applications which could be helpful in summoning assistance.

I will argue the advantage for my gunshot detector concept(s) no human interaction is required. Will an armed teacher or human controlled phone app make a difference? At what point of a shooting? It might be minutes into an active shooter event. These gunshot detectors are actively in a monitor mode without human interaction and the second it receives and verifies a gunshot, assistance would be on the way.

We must make our building security smarter through technology to keep our children safe. We must give our police officers all possible technology to ensure they survive their shifts.

While these concepts are still on the drawing board, it wouldn't be hard to quickly get them off the ground. I'm still hoping to see one or more of the top US tech companies embrace the idea(s) and run with it. I will also consider foreign companies if there are no USA company takers. Imagine rolling the Body Worn Device into cities where firearm violence is out of control?

This concept was actually conceived in 1994. Read more about it here

Vince Cowdry, Inventor
Cell 314-323-3333
Fax 636-284-2977













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I'm looking for some serious manufacturers interested in licensing one or more of these concepts.

My patent attorney is:

Robert W. Gray, Sr.

Attorney & Counselor-at-Law

The Gray Law Group, Ltd.

9219 S. Indianapolis Blvd.

Highland, IN 46322

(888) 355 – 9529

fax (866) 277 – 8885


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These  concepts are protected by Patent Pending status.


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