Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Downgrading the gun debate...  

As fast as folks seem to be buying weaponry, they may be becoming lame. In an outcome I certainly didn't imagine, the macho-ness of personal firepower could become quaint, like being able to chop a tree with an ax or cultivate corn.
TrackingPoint, a startup tech company in Austin, Tex., has just started selling the most advanced long-distance rifle available on the civilian market. The weapon incorporates laser and computer technology, as well as a three-dimensional color graphics display, to allow even a novice shooter to hit moving targets at 500 yards (five football fields) or farther. Its Wi-Fi transmitter permits the user to stream live video and audio to an iPad (AAPL) and post impressive kill shots on Facebook (FB) or YouTube (GOOG).
“This is a weapon that will get the Call of Duty generation into the real shooting sports,” says TrackingPoint’s chief executive, Jason Schauble, a 38-year-old decorated special-ops officer who formerly served in the Marines. A genial, smooth-talking ballistics pro who retired from the military after being seriously wounded in Iraq, he is making the rounds in New York and elsewhere to promote TrackingPoint. Schauble readily acknowledges that to make the transition from pretend shooter games to the real-life range or hunting grounds will require serious money. TrackingPoint’s customized rifles sell for $22,000 to $27,000 apiece, depending on just how tricked-out consumers want their weapons.
The gun part of the TrackingPoint system resembles a modern military-style bolt-action rifle. The science-fiction part looks like a three-headed long-range scope. Shooter tracks targets on the graphics display. By pushing a small button near the trigger, they lock a red laser dot on their quarry—a deer or bear, for example. The red laser tag remains on the target, even if it moves. Shooters then align the red dot with a blue cross-hair, or reticle, which also appears on the screen. They depress the trigger. The gun “decides” exactly when to fire. That happens only when the cross-hair aligns perfectly with the red dot, taking into account the distance, barometric pressure, temperature, the curvature of the earth, and other variables. [More]
So as I understand it, you find the target in the scope, pull the trigger, and wave the gun until it passes the optimal firing point. Kinda takes the sportsmanship out of hunting, I would say.  It reminds me of straight rows nowadays - just not a big deal or the sign of ag prowess it used to symbolize.

Or worse still, why bother to pick up the firearm at all?
The Super aEgis 2 is an automated gun tower that can find and lock on to a human-sized target in pitch darkness at a distance of up to 1.36 miles (2.2 kilometers). It uses a 35x zoom CCD camera with 'enhancement feature' for bad weather, in conjunction with a dual FOV, autofocus Infra-Red sensor, to pick out targets.
Then it brings the pain, either with a standard 12.7mm caliber machine-gun, a 40mm automatic grenade launcher upgrade, or whatever other weapons system you want to bolt on to it, including surface-to-air missiles. A laser range finder helps to calibrate aim, and a gyroscopic stabilizer unit helps correct both the video system's aim and the direction of the guns after recoil pushes them off-target. [More]
Knowing the South Koreans, there will be  a home model available someday, and then we'll see an interesting Supreme Court case. For that matter, I wonder what the NRA will do about such advanced weapons. While they seem to be OK with laser weapons, taking the human out of the firing decisions doesn't strike me as the best membership program ever conceived.

Like so many seemingly intractable public debates, maybe this one will simply fade into irrelevance as technology advances beyond what we think are the defining parameters.  After all, think of all those knights who were good at riding down peasant while wearing tons of armor and wielding a whacking sword. Did we think guns were the last word on killing?

1 comment:

Dave said...

John I know you don't much like guns and I agree with the view point as it relates to Fully Automatic weapons. On the other hand if these extremist muslim continue to chop off heads might just become an arguement for carrying a sidearm ALL the time.