The Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino has begun testing new radar technology that can detect firearms, knives, and bombs based on the shape of the item.
The device—dubbed Patscan Cognitive Microwave Radar by the Canadian security company PatriotOne—is small enough to be hidden in existing infrastructure and can work without the knowledge of the individuals who walk past.
Westgate’s chief operating officer Mark Waltrip told Wired that while he supports the Second Amendment, he wants to make sure visitors are following the casino’s no firearms policy.
“I believe in people’s right to bear arms,” Waltrip said. “I have a concealed carry permit myself. But, you know, on our properties, we want to maintain a safe environment, and we don’t need guests bringing weapons on site. We really don’t want that kind of surprise.”
Las Vegas casinos are under pressure to ensure the safety of their guests following the attack last October. But Waltrip explained that, unlike airports or government buildings, casinos cannot impose inconvenient security measures on its customers, most of whom are there to cut loose and have a good time.
“People come to Vegas because it’s the fun capital of the world. They’re there to let loose, rock and roll, and do things they’d never do,” Waltrip said. “If they show up at their resort and they have to line up for metal detectors, or get wanded down, or walk through a gauntlet of security guards carrying rifles and pistols—that’s not going make them feel comfortable. It’s going to ruin their experience.”
The Patscan CMR works by emitting low-power pulses of electromagnetic radiation. When an object is hit with radiation, it resonates according to its shape and material composition. The system references PatriotOne’s database of radiation signatures. And when it senses a signature that matches a gun, knife, or bomb, it signals the operator.
PatriotOne assures its customers that the system can differentiate between a weapon and a cell phone or house keys. The system also provides a percentage rather than a simple yes or no—when it thinks it detects a weapon. It tells the operator the likelihood that it has identified the item correctly.
The company doesn’t address in any of its promotional material how the system will detect guns that can be carried in non-gun shapes or bags equipped with electromagnetic shielding, which, if this technology becomes widespread, will no doubt be used to evade it.
For now the Westgate is test-driving the new device at its employee entrance before it implements it throughout the hotel.
What are your thoughts? Do you like the idea of Patscan technology?