Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Dr. Reda Ammar, Dr. Ashwin Dani, Dr. Jinbo Bi

Field of Study

Computer Science and Engineering


Master of Science

Open Access

Campus Access


Since 2006, there have been more than 200 mass killings in the United States. Tragic images from Newtown, Fort Hood and Virginia Tech capture the nation’s attention, but similar bloody scenes happen with alarming frequency. Access to weapons seems to be very easy. Accidents could happen in unexpected places and surroundings. Severe regulations might help but may not be politically feasible. Given this state of affairs, in this thesis we provide a novel solution to avoid disasters in public areas that could happen with the unauthorized use of weapons. In particular, we propose novel techniques to designate and assign safety zones which are weapon-free. These zones can be campuses, hospitals, churches or any public building.

The first stage involves the creation of a software prototype which can be programmed onto any microcontroller on a weapon/device which renders them inactive in safe zones. The location coordinates of the safe zones are fed into the program and the area is designated as safe in the map. Selection of the sensors to be used on weapons was made after careful consideration. A filtering technique (modified EKF) for the combination of sensors to be used on location-safe devices is also explained. A novel algorithm for handling situations that arise for location-safe weapons in various scenarios like presence of multiple weapons, presence of security officials is proposed.

The second stage involves creation of safety zones in schools, hospitals, and other public buildings using wireless sensor networks. Ways to build a cheap sensor network around campuses, which communicates with the weapon and locks it down when it enters the premises, is explained. Efficiency of existing algorithms for optimal sensor placement in the sensor networks and to find a 'leader in the network’ is evaluated. The environment is simulated and the results are validated

Major Advisor

Dr. Sanguthevar Rajasekaran