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Security check at the airport Cologne / Bonn, Check of a passenger with a metal detector.

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In the wake of October’s Mandalay Bay shooting that left 59 dead, a hotel in Las Vegas has begun testing a discreet weapon-sensing security device. The device is called the Patscan Cognitive Microwave Radar and is currently installed at Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino’s employee entrance.

The Patscan CMR units are small enough to hide inside existing building structure such as walls, doorways and turnstiles without being noticeable – a feature many Vegas casinos and resorts prefer, as it provides a security solution without disrupting the guest experience.

The device uses short-range radar and machine learning algorithms to scan individual guests for weapons without having them walk through large metal detectors. It emits electromagnetic radiation that makes microwaves in a certain frequency range and monitors for electromagnetic patterns inside the device’s two-meter detection range.

Weapons such as pistols, grenades, knives, rifles, machine guns, machetes and pressure-cooker bombs all resonate according to their shape when hit with electromagnetic radiation at this frequency, allowing them to be detected. The Patscan uses PatriotOne’s database of known radar signatures to tell random objects from weapons and notify security staff as needed.

“When somebody is entering a building or public facility, the device can detect whether they’re carrying a knife or a gun or a bomb,” said Martin Cronin, CEO of Patriot One Technologies, the Patscan’s manufacturer.

The device doesn’t require an active operator either, as they can “network the alarms, integrate the camera systems [and] integrate with access controls,” Cronin said.

The call for inconspicuous ways to screen for concealed weapons in Vegas has been renewed since authorities searched the Mandalay Bay gunman’s hotel room after the incident and found 23 firearms. Resorts and casinos have struggled to balance the fun of Vegas with the very real security concerns their businesses require.

“People come to Vegas because it’s the fun capital of the world,” said Mark Waltrip, Westgate Resort’s chief operating officer. “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 to make them feel comfortable. It’s going to ruin their experience.” But safety is still the priority, Waltrip said.

“On our properties, we want to maintain a safe environment, and we don’t need guests bringing weapons on site,” he said. “We really don’t want that kind of surprise.”

Article By Jessica Davis

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