Escaping an Active Shooter with an App

Imagine escaping an active shooter by following evacuation commands on your phone.
A man wears a virtual reality visor

Innovators at UT Knoxville are partnering with Iowa State University to develop technology to detect and track active shooters in schools using cameras and microphones. The technology then pairs shooters’ locations and movements with building layouts and individuals’ locations to calculate—in real-time—the best path to safety for each student, teacher and staff member. Alerts and commands can be broadcast on digital screens, over public address systems or sent through an app—much like driving directions in a car. Depending on shooters’ locations, commands can instruct individuals to shelter in place or guide them through classrooms and corridors to safety.

“Most school districts in the U.S. dedicate significant resources to safeguard against active shooters,” said Subhadeep Chakraborty, project lead and associate professor in the UT Knoxville Tickle College of Engineering. “However, when such an active-shooter event is in progress, only vague guidance is available to students and school personnel.”

That’s where the work of Chakraborty and his team comes in. Once fully developed, the software has the potential for universal application—ranging from schools and universities to hospitals, malls and public buildings. Consider the life-saving possibilities.

Subhadeep Chakraborty
Subhadeep Chakraborty
researcher using a game controller and VR helmet