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Our proposed device aims to prevent gun-related suicide through a low-cost and easy to use layered defense approach. The goal of the DuoBox is to increase time to weapon access and encourage access with two or more people present. Created by a team of veterans and gun owners, the system is designed to provide a cheap, secure, and reliable means of weapon storage that requires no external power and encourages responsible weapon access.

DuoBox is entirely mechanical and uses a minimum number of individual parts to both improve reliability and decrease cost and complexity. It consists of a low-carbon steel rectangular box with eight recessed buttons in its corners. The device size is scalable to the customer desire with a maximum height of six inches and a weight of approximately seven pounds for a handgun size and 14 pounds for a rifle size.

A multi-layered approach is used to provide a secure storage capability for the weapon and ensure that it is accessed only in the right way at the right time. DuoBox is designed to allow immediate weapon access when two or more people are present: upon depressing all eight recessed corner buttons simultaneously, the device is unlocked. This action requires a minimum of two sets of hands based on the physical placements of the buttons, ensuring that immediate weapon access is only available with another person present. The buttons are recessed to prevent them from being able to be simply depressed by a flat surface. If non-emergency weapon access is required with only one person is present, a thirty minute mechanical timer is initiated by pressing two side buttons, after which the weapon is accessible. This accomplishes three things: it lowers the chance of weapon access by unintended users such as children, ensures that the weapon is available in a reasonable amount of time for activities like recreational shooting, and ensures that the weapon is not accessed during the period of time when most suicidal impulses tend to pass (Kresnow, M.-j., Ikeda, R. M., Mercy, J. A., Powell, K. E., Potter, L. B., Simon, T. R., Lee, R. K. and Frankowski, R. F. (2002), An Unmatched Case-Control Study of Nearly Lethal Suicide Attempts in Houston, Texas: Research Methods and Measurements. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 32: 7–20. doi:10.1521/suli.

DuoBox provides several incentives for its use. Its reliable and low-cost design ensures that it provides both an economical way to store a weapon and ensure that it is accessed responsibly. Maintaining the design as simple and intuitive to use as possible is key to producing it cheaply on a large scale and increasing the chance of widespread adoption based on cost and ease of implementation. It can also be used in tandem with any traditional gun or trigger locks that the user desires in order to add another layer of safety.


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  • Name:
    Barret Schlegelmilch
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Steven Link
  • Profession:
  • Barret is inspired by:
    Our team is comprised of MIT graduate students with over 10 years of combined Navy service including explosive ordnance disposal and nuclear submarine operations. We have all been affected by suicide in some way and understand both the magnitude and difficulty of the epidemic among veterans especially. We aim to combine our entrepreneurial, product development, and engineering experience to continue to give back to a community that has given so much to us.
  • Software used for this entry:
  • Patent status: