Las Vegas Casino Tests Gun-Detecting Radar System

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posted on December 19, 2017
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The Westgate Las Vegas Casino and Resort is testing a Patscan Cognitive Microwave Radar system, which is designed to detect firearms—even those concealed or in luggage—and alert staff to their presence. Unlike airport-familiar metal detectors and scanners, the units are allegedly effective without patrons or their bags being required to pass through any sort of an electronic door/portal or undergo wanding.

Produced by Canadian firm Patriot One, the system’s visual signature is small enough that it can be mounted virtually anywhere in the hotel—the emitting antenna is roughly poster sized—with the algorithm-monitoring CPU hidden behind the check-in desk or nearby security office. Wired Magazine reports, “Most people will never realize they’re there—and that’s exactly the way the way Westgate wants it.” 

The near-field radar system radiates 1,000 pulses a second at a frequency between 500 megahertz and 5 gigahertz—putting it somewhere in the microwave band. The system’s transmitter is limited in power to minimize health concerns or interfering with cell phones and other electronics. Similar approaches are harnessed in today’s vehicular collision-warning systems and adaptive cruise controls, according to the company.

When the system received FCC approval in February, company CTO Dinesh Kandanchatha stated in a press release, “Our system, which relies on machine learning algorithms, has graduated from the lab and is about to enter the arena of commercial distribution.”  The company’s installation guide, provided as part of the government review process, gives a glimpse of the system and its discreet profile. Effective distance is allegedly around six feet.  

The system isn’t limited to check-in locations, either. Hotel security can place the scanners at various choke points where guests are expected to pass through during their stay. “Right now, we’re looking at four or five where a Patscan unit could be very viable,” Westgate chief of security operations Tim Cook told Wired.

The operating manual indicates the system is web based, and the example provided therein includes a photo of a person passing through the scanner. Westgate’s terms state, “Any and all weapons, including but not limited to, firearms, knives, and/or explosives, concealed or not concealed, with or without a concealed weapon(s) permit, are not permitted by any person and/or for any reason except as expressly detailed here on any and all premises owned and/or operated by Westgate Resorts.” It goes on explain certain law enforcement personnel, military, patrons of its shotgun course, those with permission and some others can have a firearm on its property.

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