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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

The Man Behind Smart Gun: NJIT’s Michael Recce, Inventor of Dynamic Grip Recognition

Michael Recce, Ph.D., associate professor of information systems at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has been involved in a broad range of technology-oriented research projects since he arrived on campus in 1997.  His primary research interest has been the development and application of statistical pattern recognition methods. Pattern recognition is an evaluation of the measurable properties that best distinguish something from related things. Along with developing these pattern recognition systems, Recce has focused on developing multi-sensory integration systems, special purpose computer hardware for real-time systems and mechanical design. 

(Attention Editors:  To interview Recce, call Rosalyn Roberts, 973-596-3433 or Robert Florida, 973-596-5203.)

One of Recce’s most visible projects has been the development of a  behavioral biometric called dynamic grip recognition. In May of 2003, Recce received a patent for this research.  Recce’s invention has enabled NJIT researchers to embed multiple small electronic sensors in both sides of a gun’s handle to identify the user.  Based on this research, Metal Storm Limited, Brisbane, Australia, a research and development company, signed in Sept. of 2003 a formal partnership agreement with NJIT to commercialize the technology and apply it to the O’Dwyer VLe, an electronic handgun developed by Metal Storm. 

The project, better known as smart gun, has received the financial support of the New Jersey Legislature, since the spring of 2000. In December of 2002, New Jersey became the nation’s first state to pass legislation specifying that three years after it is determined that personalized handguns are available for retail sale, dealers and manufacturers will not be able to legally sell, assign or transfer any handgun unless it is personalized.

Recce has managed $2.8M in grants from the European Community, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the NJ Commission on Science and Technology.  He also has participated in industry collaborations to develop special purpose computer hardware for real-time pattern recognition. 

Other projects Recce has worked on have included the design of a control system for a space-based robot for Diamler-Benz, the German carmaker. The robot is being developed to run scientific and engineering experiments in the space station. Recce has also created a robot inspection system for Thomson CSF, which is used for inspecting three-dimensional components on a conveyer belt.  Another of his inventions has been an orange harvesting robot and a video grading system for oranges.

Earlier in Recce’s career, from 1982-1986, the inventor held the position of product engineering manager at Intel Corporation in Santa Clara, where he led the development of new non-volatile memory products.  Recce has been a lecturer at University College, London. Recce received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California-Santa Cruz and his doctorate in neuroscience from University College, London.

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls approximately 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2012 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.