More than 15 years ago, Nic van Zyl started developing an “Intelligent Firearm” that would operate only if it identified its user as legitimate.

Now, science and technology has caught up with his dream, and he hopes to see it become a reality by the end of the year, incorporating biometrics and cameras into the finished version.

The idea to create a smart gun to combat firearm misuse was inspired by the high crime rates in van Zyl’s home country, South Africa.

Fed up with hearing of stories about guns falling into the wrong hands, including children and police officers being robbed of their firearms, van Zyl decided to do something about it.

Since then his whole family has worked on the project, securing patents throughout the world and working with companies and governments to develop the idea.

Van Zyl, a former civil engineer, said his aim was to address shortcomings of ordinary firearms, making them safer and reducing the number of accidents.

“The problem with the firearm is that it is a dumb killing machine. It has no recognition of the identification of its owner and no accountability.”

His objectives included personalizing the weapon, so that it could be used only by its owner and other identified users, to record the history of the weapon’s actions making it more accountable, and to make firearm licenses renewable.

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