'Smart gun' requires owner's fingerprint

- A small Canadian company is developing a way to make handguns safer. Mytec Technologies of Toronto has developed a "smart gun" that includes a fingerprint scanner pad so that only the gun's owner can pull the trigger.

The gun's user simply scans their fingerprint on a template embedded in a module. Once authenticated, the module can be removed, allowing an ammunition magazine to be slid into place.

It's hoped that such a gun would reduce the number of child fatalities caused by children playing with their parents' guns.

The company has been working on the prototype with U.S. gun maker Smith & Wesson, which wants to avoid lawsuits from cities and states pushing for a safer product, especially around children.

The U.S.'s Clinton administration has earmarked $10 million US to help gun makers develop "smart" weapons. Smith & Wesson has applied for a U.S. federal grant.

Mytec Technologies develops fingerprint-based biometric solutions. The company also develops security devices that use biometrics, such as access control systems at entrances and desktop security in for finance corporations and government.

Mytec defines a biometric as"a measurable physical characteristic used to identify a person through automated means," such as a fingerprint, iris or voice.

Smith & Wesson also is developing a gun where the fingerprint scanner would be built right into the handle.