Detection and Identification of Firearms Upon Discharge Using Floor-Based Accelerometers Conference Paper uri icon


  • Vibration monitoring and analysis techniques have significant potential to improve security and threat detection in the built environment. The cornerstone of the Virginia Tech Smart Infrastructure Laboratory (VTSIL) is the highly instrumented Goodwin Hall on the VT campus. This 5-story classroom and laboratory building is instrumented with over 200 accelerometers hard-wired throughout its 160,000 square feet, providing a platform for research and education in structural health monitoring, dynamic model validation, and occupancy studies, among other smart building applications. One of the major research goals for VTSIL is to utilize vibration data to develop advanced security strategies, including threat detection, identification, and localization. Toward realizing this goal, a mobile cement and I-beam platform was built and instrumented with accelerometers. This test-bed recorded vibration signatures during the event of a person discharging a firearm while standing atop the platform. This paper includes initial results that demonstrate there are detectable differences in sensor measurements between a handgun, rifle, and shotgun. Initial analysis of this vibration data using the singular value decomposition demonstrates that one can deduce the type of firearm discharged regardless of differences in the shooter (male, female, weight, etc.), thus justifying the pursuit of advanced vibration-based threat detection and identification systems.

name of conference

  • Special Topics in Structural Dynamics, Volume 6

published proceedings

  • Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series

author list (cited authors)

  • Kasarda, M., Tarazaga, P., Embree, M., Gugercin, S., Woolard, A., Joyce, B., & Hamilton, J.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Kasarda, M||Tarazaga, P||Embree, M||Gugercin, S||Woolard, A||Joyce, B||Hamilton, J

editor list (cited editors)

  • Di Miao, D., Tarazaga, P., & Castellini, P.

publication date

  • May 2016