A police officer in Michigan has used a thermal imaging device to locate a firearm in the trunk of a suspect’s car. Police received a report of shots fired at a Saginaw restaurant.
A nearby Saginaw Township police officer who was leaving Covenant HealthCare received a suspect vehicle description and stopped the vehicle on Woodbridge near Cooper, Gerow said.
When city police showed up, Gerow said, a new thermal imaging device was used and detected what appeared to be a firearm in the trunk of the silver rental car.
Given that the officer reportedly had a description of the suspect, it can be plausibly argued that he had probably cause to search the vehicle. The imaging device then detected the heat signature of the recently-fired weapon. So this isn’t a “gun detector” and wouldn’t reveal a cold concealed firearm.
Some phone cases give you more battery life or wireless charging. But how about a case that can scan people for hidden weapons?
That’s exactly what Royal Holdings, a Los Angeles-based startup focused on real-time intelligence and threat detection, and run by former intelligence contractor Barry Oberholzer, aims to do with its SWORD smartphone attachment.
The company has created a case that goes around either an iPhone 8 Plus or Pixel 2 XL and uses the phone’s audio sound waves as a sort of sonar to detect whether someone is carrying a gun, knife or explosive device. The case includes an array of 18 antennas that can create an image profile based on the radio frequency waves.
Assuming this thing isn’t vaporware, a cynic could think up all kinds of ways something like the SWORD could be mis-used. Police officers could use it as a stealthy way around Fourth Amendment protections. Criminals could use it to make sure no one in a store is armed before committing a robbery. Or to target someone who is before they do.
We’re living in interesting times.