Miami Tech & Startup News

This UM professor’s startup uses the power of light to combat violent threats

This UM professor’s startup uses the power of light to combat violent threats

By Riley Kaminer

Brian Arwari is a father – and a concerned one. Ever since the Sandy Hook shooting, Arwari has become increasingly frustrated by what he sees as the “cycle” of mass shootings followed by thoughts and prayers. The CDC reports that in 2020 alone, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the United States, excluding suicides.

Three years ago, Arwari decided to try to make a difference in breaking this cycle. Luckily, he had some special skills to bring to the table. 

On top of being a father, Arwari also happens to be a professor at the University of Miami. There, he researches on and teaches about psychophysiology, which is the study of the relationship between physiological signals recorded from the body and brain to mental processes and disorders, and electrophysiology, the branch of physiology that studies the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues.

Arwari [pictured above] has developed a product called Lightguard: a technology that uses intense flashlights as non-lethal defense from violent threats. This light-based defensive device temporarily impairs an attacker’s vision when triggered by producing a flashing pattern of thousands of lumens in output. 

The device looks like a small light panel that you might put in your closet. It is modular in design, meaning that users can stick a bunch of them together to maximize impact. The idea is that places like convenience stores, shopping malls, schools, and offices would install an array of these lights in high-risk areas like hallways. When needed, an employee at one of these establishments could trigger the lights to turn on and temporarily stop an aggressor. 

Lightguard is a smart device that has upwards of 125 different functionalities, including customizations for alerting public safety officials when the light gets illuminated. It also acts as a ‘black box,’ recording events that happened to provide clarity to future investigations.

Lightguard reports that it has already deployed pilot projects in a few different states across a diverse range of businesses. “It’s a no-touch deterrent and it’s immediate,” Arwari told Refresh Miami, highlighting that it deters all types of violence, not just gun violence.

Installations cost anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, based on how many panels are required. Currently, the company is only selling to institutions. “We can reach more people by selling the same quantity of devices” through this B2B approach, Arwari explained.

Ernest Bachrach, who was formerly a Managing Partner at Advent International, led an initial round of funding for Lightguard. 

“I am proud to support the groundbreaking innovation of Lightguard and its potential to address the pressing issue of gun violence,” commented Bachrach, who is also the chairman of Endeavor Miami. 

“The team led by Professor Brian Arwari has developed a truly disruptive solution that can make a tangible impact on enhancing public safety,” Bachrach continued. “We believe in their vision and are excited to be part of this critical endeavor.”

“Now we’re in the phase of raising additional capital to further ramp up production,” Arwari said.


Riley Kaminer