Evolv Technology AI scanners failed to detect knives used in hundreds of US schools

Weapons detection company that sells AI weapons detection system to schools is facing new questions about its technology after a student was attacked with a knife that cost $3.7 million cannot be detected. On Halloween last year, student Ehni Ler Htoo was walking down the hallway of his school in Utica, New York, when another student walked up behind him and stabbed him with a knife.

GIN learnt, the victim’s lawyer said the 18-year-old suffered multiple stab wounds to the head, neck, face, shoulders, back and hands. The knife used in the attack was brought into Proctor High School despite a multi-million dollar weapons detection system installed by a company called Evolv Technology.

This technology was develop to take over traditional metal detectors with artificial intelligence weapons scanners. Instead of just detecting metal, Evolv says its scanner “combines powerful sensing technology with proven artificial intelligence” to detect weapons.

When the system detects a concealed weapon – such as a knife, bomb or gun – the system will trigger an alert.
The company has publicly stated that its system is highly accurate and has previously boasted that its scanner can help create a “weapons no-show”.

The company’s CEO, Peter George, also said its systems “have the signatures of every weapon out there.” The system can fish out weapons that, includes firearms, explosive devices, and knives. Investigation conducted by independent bodies like the BBC last year shows that the system could not reliably detect large knives – after Evolv’s scanner missed 42 per cent of large knives in 24 hits.

The system is used at major stadiums in the United States and Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom. Testers say Evolv should let potential customers know. Even so, the company has expanded to schools and now claims to be in hundreds of schools across the US.


In March 2022, the Utica School Board purchased Evolv’s Weapon Scanning System for 13 schools. It was installed during the summer holidays. On October 31, CCTV captured attack perpetrator Ehni Ler Htoo entering Proctor High and passing through an Evolv weapons scanner, according to a school source who had seen the security footage.

“As we watched the horrifying video, we all asked the same question. Brian Nolan, Superintendent of Utica School District said ”How did the student brought the knife into the school?”

The knife used for stabbing is longer than 22.8 centimeters (9 inches). AI scanners used in hundreds of US schools are running out of knives

The attack sparked an internal investigation by the Utica School District. “Through investigation, it was determined that the Evolv Weapon Detection System… was not designed to detect knives,” Mr. Nolan said.

Proctor High School removed the scanners and replaced them with 10 metal detectors. Meanwhile Evolv system scanners are at work in the other 12 schools in the district. Mr. Nolan said the district cannot afford to phase out the Evolv system in the remaining schools.

Since that attack, Nolan said three more knives have been found on students at other schools in the district where the Evolv system continues to operate.

One of the knives is 7 inches long. Another is a curved blade with finger holes. Further more was a pocket knife. Nolan said they were all found because they were reported to staff, not because the weapons scanners detected them. “The kids with knives all said they went through the weapons detection system, we asked them about it… it really, really couldn’t find any knives,” he declare.

Evolv’s change website after the stabbing

Until last October, Evolv’s homepage had a bragging headline ‘Unarmed Zone’. The company later removed that wording and replaced the text with “Safe Area”. Now it has been changed back and reads “Safer Area”.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *