Thursday, August 03, 2006
Automating the silent alarm in bank robberies
I have an idea about how to automate the pressing of the silent alarm when a bank robbery takes place without any of the bank staff having to actually take the risk of pressing the alarm.
I assume that bank robbers are always armed and one of the dangers of pressing the silent alarm when there's a bank robbery is that the robber(s) will see the bank employee do it and injure or kill the staff member. So the trick is to have the alarm automatically triggered without anyone having to touch anything.
Here is my amazing idea:
All of the employees wear heart-rate monitors which transmit their heart-rates via wireless technology to some monitoring equipment in the branch. The machine self-calibrates each employee to a heart-rate range. You can see where I'm going can't you?
If a gang of bank robbers storm the bank then everyone's heart-rates are going to go way above their normal range. The monitoring equipment would see this and automatically and immediately trigger the silent alarm.
So far so good. An employee's heart-rate jumps way out of the range and the alarm is tripped.
But there are problems with this. If we base the silent alarm auto-trigger on the rate of one employee then it may go off accidentally if an employee's heart-rate started racing for an innocent reason. Say the teller sees a customer that they thought was really hot and then started flirting with the customer. Heart-rates could race under this condition.
Okay, so we modify the system such that at least two employees need to have racing hearts to trigger the alarm. Again we hit another problem. What if two of the bank's employees slip into the bathroom together and have sex and forget to disable or remove their monitors? That would trigger the alarm - I'm guessing.
To combat that we could configure the system such that the majority of employees (or at least a large number relative to the number of employees that would be in the robbery vicinity) would have to have racing hearts to trigger the alarm.
That works but there is a type of bank robbery that this would fail on. I believe that many bank robberies involve a single robber approaching a single clerk with a gun and doing it very quietly without anyone else in the bank noticing.
To get around this you would probably need a hybrid system. If one person's heart started racing (especially someone who could be robbed like a teller) then other people in the bank would be alerted via a silent or other type of system. These people would be any security personnel, other tellers, and managers. A paging device would vibrate in their pockets letting them know which employee's heart was on the go. The employee's pager would not vibrate because the signal would not be transmitted to the source of the fast heart. That way the other personnel in the bank could look over in the direction of the high-heart-rate employee and take appropriate action if necessary. If the employee's spouse is there with a large expensive gift then no action necessary.
I think that I have improved the potential security of banks in high tech countries with a simple blog post. Unfortunately, I have not found a solution that will allow bank employees to slip into the toilets together and have sex while wearing their devices. My advice is just to take them off with your clothes before you do it.
The heart-rate monitors could be tiny devices that you wear like a watch so are not obtrusive or uncomfortable.
The heart-rate monitoring machine could also be used to improve the health of employees by watching their heart-rates over time and alerting to unusual changes.