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Point-and-Shoot: TrackingPoint's New Linux-Controlled AR-15s

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the future-is-now dept.

Linux Business 219

Ars Technica takes a look at the next generation of TrackingPoint's automatically aimed rifles (not "automatic" in the usual sense), and visited the shooting range where they're tested out. Like the company's previous generation of gun (still in production, and increasingly being sold to government buyers), TrackingPoint's offerings integrate a Linux computer that makes acquiring and tracking a target far easier and more accurate than it would otherwise be. Unlike the older models, though, this year TrackingPoint is concentrating on AR-15s, rather than longer, heavier bolt-action rifles. A slice: The signature "Tag-Track-Xact" system has gained additional functionality on the AR models, too. With the bolt-action guns, there was only one way to put a round onto a target: first, you sighted in on the thing you wanted to hit and depressed the red tagging button just above the trigger. A red pip would appear in the scope’s crosshairs, and you’d place the pip onto the target and release the button. The scope’s rangefinding laser would then illuminate the target to measure its distance, and the image processor would fix on the object; if you moved, or if the target moved, the red pip would remain atop the target. Then, to fire, you squeezed the trigger and lined the crosshairs up with the target’s pip. When the two coincided, the weapon fired. This method works fine for a bolt-action rifle where every round has to be manually chambered, but it’s less than ideal for a carbine, which one might want to fire off-hand (i.e., standing up and aiming) or from the hip. With this in mind, the AR PGFs have a new "free fire mode," in which you can tag a target once and then shoot at it as many times as you want by pulling the trigger directly, with all the shots using the ballistic data from the first shot’s tag. That means, says writer Lee Hutchinson, a rifle "with essentially 100 percent accuracy at 250 yards."

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Now do that with an AA-12 (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 3 months ago | (#47644855)

Because being able to do that with a fully-automatic heavy weapon will be the new level of warfare.

Re: Now do that with an AA-12 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644953)

my brother wrote one of these more than 15 years ago. it was designed to be mounted on the corners of the roofs of embassies.

Re:Now do that with an AA-12 (2)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 3 months ago | (#47644999)

I don't think there will ever be such a thing as a 100% accurate shotgun.

Re: Now do that with an AA-12 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645031)

correct.

Re:Now do that with an AA-12 (2)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 3 months ago | (#47645137)

Re:Now do that with an AA-12 (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 months ago | (#47645249)

Its still not gonna be terribly accurate with a smoothbore barrel.

Re:Now do that with an AA-12 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645391)

Re:Now do that with an AA-12 (5, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 months ago | (#47645029)

Aaah, a true killer application, the year of GNU/Linux on your favourite weapon of choice :)

Re:Now do that with an AA-12 (5, Interesting)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 3 months ago | (#47645321)

will be the new level of warfare.

Yes, and not in a good way.

It used to be the case that you needed experienced, diciplined soldiers to make snipers. If you tried to fight a proxy war by arming insurgents the way the U.S. armed the Mujahideen (al Quaeda), or the way Russia is arming Ukranian separatists, then you got a pretty inefficient force that could only win by war of attrition.

These new weapons will make it much easier for anyone with money (like the IS) to recruit people out of the slums and quickly turn them into effective fighting units.

Also it will increase the efficiency of child soliders, and therfore lead to more recruitment.

Re:Now do that with an AA-12 (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 3 months ago | (#47645441)

You mean give some insurgents a Buk and they'll shoot down a civilian plane?

Re:Now do that with an AA-12 (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 months ago | (#47645601)

AA-12? [wikipedia.org] Sort of an overkill for a personal weapon, I'd say...

now graft it onto a grunt's arm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644859)

Remote controlled troops will kill the terrists for US! And they be doped up with alertness droogs so they see wat they do! God Bless 'Merica!!!!!

Re:now graft it onto a grunt's arm (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645051)

Remote controlled troops will kill the terrists for US!

Other way around. This is the perfect assassination weapon.

Politicians will be queuing up to ban it as soon as they realize how big a threat it is to them. All the "terrists" need to do is to set the suitably disguised receiver and barrel of the rifle on an intentionally randomizing mount pointing where a politician is speechifying, tag the legislator via a phone link as soon as they're in sight, then walk away. A timer on the trigger can keep clicking away after a preset interval to get the job done.

Who knows, this might be the Colt Peacemaker of our day?

a rifle with 100 percent accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644861)

RMS must be tearful with pride.

Re:a rifle with 100 percent accuracy (3, Funny)

_merlin (160982) | about 3 months ago | (#47644907)

Get your FLOSS personalities right: Eric S Raymond is the gun nut.

Re:a rifle with 100 percent accuracy (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644931)

..and a pedo-looking creepy old ass.

Re:a rifle with 100 percent accuracy (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47645101)

Get your FLOSS personalities right: Eric S Raymond is the gun nut.

Is he a member of Geeks with Guns [geekswithguns.com] ? I have never seen him at any of our shoots.

Linux Fuck Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644871)

It's awesome being a Linux hacker. I used it to shoot off this first post.

Re:Linux Fuck Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644891)

Looks like the kernel has a scheduling bug then.

Re:Linux Fuck Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645499)

Nah, I was just waiting for the choppy desktop animations to settle.

Zorg? (4, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 months ago | (#47644881)

With this in mind, the AR PGFs have a new "free fire mode," in which you can tag a target once and then shoot at it as many times as you want by pulling the trigger directly, with all the shots using the ballistic data from the first shot’s tag.

With the replay button, another Zorg invention, it's even easier. One shot...and replay sends every following shot to the same location.

Although I guess in this case you actually want to push the little red button.

Re:Zorg? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645089)

Mah favrit.
 
.

Apply liberal amounts of gloss. (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about 3 months ago | (#47644883)

So, okay, rifle, take a picture through a scope, assuming the target doesn't move, it's quite possible to get some fairly nice help on activating the trigger only when your "mark" is in your sights with some hard coded ballistic information to help with ranging.

Throw real world movement of the target, change of the landscape, and now you're talking something freakishly hard.

I might enjoy something like this target shooting, but other than some fairly narrow sniping applications against static targets, this isn't anywhere near ready for primetime.

Re:Apply liberal amounts of gloss. (2)

sribe (304414) | about 3 months ago | (#47644929)

Throw real world movement of the target, change of the landscape, and now you're talking something freakishly hard.

Don't forget variable winds between you and something 250 yards away... 100% accuracy my ass...

Re:Apply liberal amounts of gloss. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644965)

Cross winds at the end of the barrel have more of an impact than those down range, research how tank gunnery is setup.

Re: Apply liberal amounts of gloss. (4, Informative)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 3 months ago | (#47645059)

250 yards is not particularly far away with a fast/flat cartridge like 5.56 NATO.
My ballistic calculator says that given the torso is, on average, 18" across, this system could aim dead center/upper chest (zeroed for 100 yds) and with no correction at all, hit its target correcting for elevation and windage for +/- 17mph wind with M855.

I am actually fairly unimpressed by this. Any dope can make a 300 yard shot with an AR on a head sized target and telescopic sights. If this was able to make those shots at 500+ yds, that would really be something.

Re: Apply liberal amounts of gloss. (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 months ago | (#47645649)

Perhaps this is not about accuracy at these kinds of ranges; eventually, weapons like this might be able to give you much faster reactions. E.g., you see four enemies, you press the trigger (the weapon doesn't fire), you swing the weapon across the general direction of the enemies, and it fires automatically four times at just the right time as the barrel is passing over the targets (or, more accurately, the proper aiming points).

Re: Apply liberal amounts of gloss. (5, Informative)

pehrs (690959) | about 3 months ago | (#47645727)

You would be surprised how bad people shoot in the real world... I hunt. I fire about 50 shots on big game (mostly boar, deer and moose) a year, and well over thousand if you count small game. I compete, primarily in sporting and skeet but also 300 meter rifle.

In my experience the wast majority of shooters have a hard time hitting a deer sized targets with a rifle at 300 meters without special training. Add any sort of complication, like a little bit of stress, moving target, bad light or the like, and most people won't hit a deer sized target consistently (that is, 10 out of 10 in the heart-lung area) at 100 meters. The performance of the cartridge barely matters. Most people simply need a lot of training to aim and fire a rifle well, especially under stress.

I spend a considerable amount of my spare time tracking down deer which were wounded by people with the "Any dope can make a 300 yard shot" attitude. They are typically not quite so tough at 4 am in the morning when we have spent a few hours tracking down the deer they wounded. While it is good training for the dogs, and it is very rewarding work, it would be better if people learned how hard it is to shoot well on distances over 100 meters.

Re:Apply liberal amounts of gloss. (0)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47645195)

Politicians holding a speech don't really move that much, they make great application cases for this tool...

Re:Apply liberal amounts of gloss. (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 months ago | (#47645327)

So does a stinger. Better warhead. Heat seeking is easy with all that hot air and inflated sense of importance.

Re:Apply liberal amounts of gloss. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645487)

"I might enjoy something like this target shooting, but other than some fairly narrow sniping applications against static targets, ..."

Politicians love to give speeches and deliver statements in a static positions.

Re:Apply liberal amounts of gloss. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 months ago | (#47645623)

So, okay, rifle, take a picture through a scope, assuming the target doesn't move

Motion tracking isn't exactly an untested idea. In fact, years ago, I "invented" (well, "conceived" would perhaps be a better word) almost exactly the same thing as this rifle, only mine had a target discriminator, tracker, and a 2D actuator (for automatically swinging the barrel towards the target by a modest amount).

Robot (4, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 months ago | (#47644909)

At this point, the main problem seems to be putting the human into the mix. I could see putting a laser distance gauge, and some rudimentary calculator to automatically adjust for distance; I am sort of thinking, highlighting the correct location in the scope instead of actually adjusting it. But if you you are going to design complete tracking tech, put the gun on a tripod with a few motors. Hell, you could probably even mount it on a guys backpack.

Re:Robot (4, Informative)

baKanale (830108) | about 3 months ago | (#47644969)

The summary doesn't explain well, but TrackingPoint isn't a robotic gun or anything like that. It is a system that uses rangefinders and other sensors built into a scope that allow a user to designate a target, and then, when the trigger is pulled, only allows the weapon to fire when it's aligned with an optimal firing solution. This lets novices shoot on target at extended ranges. They've previously done this with bolt action rifles, but apparently they've developed it for use in AR-15s, as per the article. Here's a link to their page about the original system: http://tracking-point.com/prec... [tracking-point.com]

Re:Robot (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 3 months ago | (#47645667)

So it's basically aimhack for real life.

Re:Robot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645197)

"On a tripod with a few motors" is not entirely simple.

You need a servo mechanism that is fast enough to be useful and stable, and for that they're using human arms. Human arms (when controlled by a reasonably sober brain) are very very good servomechanisms. Duplicating them with motors seems trivial - Until you run into stability problems.

And having a weapon about to discharge going into oscillation is, as they say, a "bad thing".

AC

Re:Robot (1)

swedishsax (3694669) | about 3 months ago | (#47645497)

And having a weapon about to discharge going into oscillation is, as they say, a "bad thing".

It's not too bad as long as it can be accurately compensated for, as is the case in naval gunnery, or any other type of platform-mounted gunnery for that matter.

The problem, as you point out, is one of stability, or rather, stability versus portability. So while it wouldn't work very well on a guy's backpack, for fixed installations, Aliens-style shoot-at-anything-that-moves robot sentries are perfectly realisable with today's technology.

But as the current debate on robotic weaponry (and indeed the Ottawa treaty) show, this type of indiscriminate, human-out-of-the-loop weapons are not very popular at the moment, so I'd be surprised if we saw them deployed anytime soon.

Re:Robot (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 months ago | (#47645683)

You need a servo mechanism that is fast enough to be useful and stable, and for that they're using human arms. Human arms (when controlled by a reasonably sober brain) are very very good servomechanisms. Duplicating them with motors seems trivial - Until you run into stability problems.

What stability? What do we have computers, dynamic system state prediction, and feedback control for? In fact, a certain lack of stability might be exactly the thing you might need for a truly smart weapon. Imagine a soldier holding a weapon with the second grip being not too far forward and held somewhat loosely (so that the end could swing slightly). In that case, a reaction control system near the end of the barrel ought to be able to exercise limited adjustments in azimuth and elevation to swing the barrel over the computed aiming point, or to shift an imprecise swing only approaching the aiming point onto the point. Because everyone is holding the weapon differently (regarding the stiffness of the grip), the dynamic parameters of the system can't be preset statically, but they can be measured right before the point of initiating the movement of the barrel towards the aiming point. In addition, even if these parameters are changing as the weapon is aiming itself, the error imparted by these parameter deltas is decreasing exponentially as the weapon is approaching the firing point, because inertia is playing a role here.

So let me get this Straight. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 months ago | (#47644913)

First, you need to perfectly accurately sight the target, with no help. Then after you have done that, the computer will track for you. And if you screwed up the first step, and tagged a plant instead, you are screwed.

Re:So let me get this Straight. (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 months ago | (#47644933)

Yeah, that seems to be the case.

It's just a regular gun that waits to fire until you've lined up with where you tried to shoot initially.

Nothing too new on the image processing front... but it runs Linux and pisses off the peaceniks, so Slashdot runs the story.

Re:So let me get this Straight. (2)

aXis100 (690904) | about 3 months ago | (#47645149)

It's easier to aim a laser tag with a small switch - and correct it if you've got it wrong - than to aim and fire using the trigger perfectly the first time.

It's all about repercussions and sensitivity - the target probably wont get alerted by the tagging beam, and you can correct it as many times as you like whilst maintaining stealth. Once you have it right, the first real bullet will hit it's mark and the show is over.

Question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644915)

How many more children will die because of this invention?
Must we have something worse than Sandy Hook for people to wake up and say "no" to gun violence

Re:Question (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 months ago | (#47644979)

How many more children will die because of this invention?

I'm going to go with "none in the foreseeable future".

Must we have something worse than Sandy Hook for people to wake up and say "no" to gun violence

How about the Bath School disaster [wikipedia.org] , where 45 people died, mostly children? Or perhaps looking away from human causes, we could consider infant diarrhoea, which kills a couple million children per year and can be cured with a few pennies' worth of salt? How about political violence and genocides, which kill thousands of civilian children?

The simple answer is that there is no simple answer. The Bath School disaster was done with explosives. Infant diarrhoea is mostly a problem because parents don't have access to medical care, or realize that they need it. Political conflict is never so simple as having the good guys fight the bad guys - all sides think their righteous virtues are worth dying for, and worth having innocent people die for.

The reality of life is that it's trivial to kill someone. A human body is an incredibly complex machine, with billions of interacting parts, and it's just so easy to screw it up fatally. Sure, you could ban guns with fancy sights, but it's still just as easy to build a bomb, grab a knife, or slip a bit of poison into a meal.

Let's say "no" to pithy slogans and short-sighted politically-convenient campaigns.

One simple answer. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 3 months ago | (#47645255)

The simple answer is that there is no simple answer.

There is one simple answer.

People (on average) are less afraid of things that they are FAMILIAR with and that they FEEL they have more control over. So people are comfortable driving to the airport but worry about the flight.

People are scared of "terrorists" killing them but are, statistically, more likely to be killed by someone in their own family.

So the scariest thing would be someone that you don't know who is planning to kill you or your child for a reason you don't understand.

But the reality is that if you're living in the USofA and you're white then you will die from the food you've chosen to eat and the exercise that you've chosen to skip. But since you have control over that (I'll start tomorrow) and it's familiar you won't worry about it.

Re:Question (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 months ago | (#47645427)

we could consider infant diarrhoea, which kills a couple million children per year and can be cured with a few pennies' worth of salt?

Really? Are you sure just a little salt can solve that problem?

Re:Question (1)

GCsoftware (68281) | about 3 months ago | (#47645501)

Yup. Salt (well a sachet of infant electrolyte mix) and access to clean water would solve that problem as the kids tend to die from dehydration.

Not in ALL cases but the death rate would definitely go down. Back when I was working as a dive master on the coast of the Sinai desert, we used to take the baby rehydration sachets all the time if we'd overindulged in the post-diving beers the night before.

Re:Question (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47645563)

It's not as nice as a sanitation system good enough to prevent the problem; but ORT is pretty good at keeping you from dying of it and a great deal cheaper.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645437)

... Sure, you could ban guns with fancy sights, but it's still just as easy to build a bomb, grab a knife, or slip a bit of poison into a meal.

Australia banned guns: Sure, there are no school massacres but the murder rate hasn't decreased. Neither has gang-related violence.

Re:Question (3, Informative)

nospam007 (722110) | about 3 months ago | (#47645495)

'Australia banned guns: Sure, there are no school massacres but the murder rate hasn't decreased.'

You're reading the wrong newspaper, the Washington Post says otherwise.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

"So what have the Australian laws actually done for homicide and suicide rates? Howard cites a study (pdf) by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University finding that the firearm homicide rate fell by 59 percent, and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65 percent, in the decade after the law was introduced, without a parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides. That provides strong circumstantial evidence for the law's effectiveness."

Re:Question (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 3 months ago | (#47645671)

Don't you need guns, or at least giant knives, to protect yourself from the wildlife over there?

Re:Question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645715)

It was trending downwards for years prior to 1996, you nigger

Re:Question (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47645541)

There's also the fact that a fancy scope system designed to improve accuracy against relatively distant targets likely isn't worth the weight, much less the cost, for use indoors at very close range.

It's possible that there are some would-be snipers out there, currently restrained only by incompetence; but barring those this system isn't of obvious interest for most spree killing purposes.

Re:Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644983)

I'd say less than would die without it. It is a system that is designed to ensure that you hit your intended target. Worldwide I would hazzard a guess that most children killed by firearms are accidental victims in the category "collateral damage".

A gun that never misses its intended target would greatly mitigate collateral damage, thus being a net positive for innocents, including children. A few sandy hook type incidents shouldn't put much of a dent in that calculus. As well as the observation that school shooters tend to work at close range, where misses are not a huge factor.

Re:Question (2)

swedishsax (3694669) | about 3 months ago | (#47645451)

As someone who has spent a lot of time in both the armed forces and the defence industry, please allow me to disabuse you of the notion that technology, any technology, has any impact on collateral damage. In WWII there was widespread collateral damage from strategic bombing of industrial centres. If such a full-scale war between roughly equal powers were waged today, with our smart bombs and pin-point accuracy missiles, the exact same thing would happen. This is because while technology advances, the objectives of war remain the same.

In this particular case, "intended" is not the same as "illuminated". The gun doesn't know what your intended target is, only what you light up. If you point it at a child, that's what it will track: the responsibility is yours. Or put another way, guns don't stop people from killing people - people do.

This product is marketed as a way to improve accuracy and record shot videos, not to make the gun safer. Weapons are inherently unsafe, and the only way to make one safe is to destroy it.

Re:Question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645099)

> worse than Sandy Hook

How will this invention help Republicans with their goal of murdering children? It won't. That's a terrible example.

Instead, we should talk about how this will help their goal with assassinations. Their kind just loves those.

Re:Question (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47645209)

Only as long as they get to choose the targets. It's much less fun if your enemy gets to pick who gets to bite the bullet.

Re: Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645475)

How many? Not enough. Seriously, though, we need some flamethrower and high-explosives violence.

How does the Tagging Work (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 months ago | (#47644917)

How does it know what the target is after it has moved? Does it have to stay within the sights at all times, you cannot even lose sight of it in that tiny reticule? Or is it like marked at long distance with some sort of tracer?

Re:How does the Tagging Work (2)

swedishsax (3694669) | about 3 months ago | (#47645395)

http://tracking-point.com/innovations/hardware/tag-button [tracking-point.com] The target is not marked by anything physical. The distance to target is measured with a laser range finder, but they don't go into any details as to how the subsequent tracking is performed (and understandably so, that's where they make their money). It could be an active system, where the scope continuously bounces laser off the target and corrects for movement within reasonable limits. It could be visual, where the system guesses the target's outline and then tracks it using the camera. Or it could be something else. Either way, automated tracking of ground targets is notoriously difficult compared to targets in air or on water, so it would be interesting to know how they deal with things like one deer moving briefly behind another, or standing behind a tree for a while and then coming out again.

For loops are illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644923)

With a software driven firearm, you've committed a felony by writing a simple for loop.
(Created a machine gun)

Re:For loops are illegal (-1, Troll)

He Who Has No Name (768306) | about 3 months ago | (#47644927)

Yup. They should expect a visit from the ATF's jackboot squad any midnight now. Hope their loved ones and bank accounts are safely hidden, and they have a lawyer on retainer to help suppress the planted extra evidence that gets miraculously "found" during the raid.

Re:For loops are illegal (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 months ago | (#47645341)

Take your meds. The ATF probably wants to buy these things.

Since these guns have been all over the gun-nut press for the past couple of years, I'm sure that various three letter government agencies have heard about them and paid them some visits. Most cordial visits.

Why didn't they use Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644939)

I mean, what's the worst that could happen?

Re:Why didn't they use Windows? (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47645231)

Hmm... let's see...

1. You get asked at least 3 times whether you're really, really sure you want to kill that file, I mean target.
2. Just when you're about to take a shot, your rifle insists that it needs to install upgrades, then shuts down without even asking you.
3. You pull the trigger, your sights get grey, you hear a ping and get asked whether you want to allow or deny that shot.
4. In the next version of your gun your sights and trigger get replaced by huge, unwieldy and flashy tiles that you have to lug around, where nobody on this planet can explain why you need them (allegedly they're great for those Navy guys, why you need them in the infantry is explained with an attempt to unify the troops), and it will take at least a year of complaining from your whole platoon 'til you get your old sights and trigger back. And even then only if you ask for them.
5. Your gun would come without cleaning equipment, without safety and a few other things (unless you bought the "ultimate" version), but you'd get a free deck of playing cards.
6. Cleaning the gun is a hassle and a half. Technically, what people do instead is throwing it away once it gets so dirty that you can't shoot reliably anymore and get a new one.

Re: Why didn't they use Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645385)

What about messing up with the bash, writing some obscure command, to enable the function you need in the few seconds you have before the target moves away?

Re:Why didn't they use Windows? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645519)

And on Linux:
Because linux couldn't possibly have any problems, right?

1) you pull the trigger and nothing happens
2) after 2 hours of manpages, you realize you need to add a switch to the command before you pull the trigger
3) you add the switch, pull the trigger and nothing happens
4) you write a bash script to automate pre-firing procedures
5) you pull the trigger and nothing happens
6) after 4 hours of trawling over stackoverflow, you figure out where the log files are. They reveal a permissions problem with the bullet
7) you fix the permissions and pull the trigger, and the clip falls out
8) it turns out there are actually 3 triggers, and you've been pulling the wrong one the entire time
9) you reinsert the clip and attempt to guess which trigger is the right one
10) your enemy has already shot you 25 times, step 10 is irrelevant.

Great for High Schools (2, Funny)

aybiss (876862) | about 3 months ago | (#47644957)

Now to ensure that every high-school age child in America gets one!

You have selected a headshot: (2)

MrKaos (858439) | about 3 months ago | (#47644987)

Are you sure you want to shoot this target?

good god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644989)

it’s less than ideal for a carbine, which one might want to fire off-hand (i.e., standing up and aiming) or from the hip.

nobody wants to fire from the hip (except in libtards' imagination)

Re:good god (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 3 months ago | (#47645083)

To be fair, there are the tacti-tards who love to bump fire from the hip. I have seen them at the range.

LK

Re:good god (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47645573)

On the plus side, if you are truly tacticool, the sheer mass of black-anodized widgets rail mounted to your gun will offer substantial stability improvements during fire..

I will defend my home with these (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644993)

anyone who even tries to enter without my permission is instantly turned into swiss cheese :-)

Re:I will defend my home with these (1)

Barny (103770) | about 3 months ago | (#47645047)

I don't get it, how will a gun give them a firm texture and a slightly nutty taste?

Re:I will defend my home with these (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47645261)

All a matter of ammo.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

penguinoid (724646) | about 3 months ago | (#47645001)

Could this be Linux's killer app that would blow the competition out of the water?

A real-world aimbot (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47645009)

It's an aimbot for real rifles. Now, any rifleman can be a sniper.

Yes, it's too big, too complicated, and too expensive. That's a temporary problem. Ever see the first laser sight, from the 1980s? It used a helium-neon laser tube and required a power cord. There's been some progress since then. This aimbot technology should be down to smartphone size, if not cost, soon enough.

Re:A real-world aimbot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645035)

This aimbot technology should be down to smartphone size, if not cost, soon enough.

With no need to retrain cops! They already gun down unarmed people who reach for their phones.

Re:A real-world aimbot (1)

Noishkel (3464121) | about 3 months ago | (#47645075)

Makes me think more of the 'Smart Gun' from 'Aliens' more than anything. But then again make mostly because I'd rather have the smart gun more than an TrackingPoint.

Re:A real-world aimbot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645155)

Now, any rifleman can be a sniper.

Not quite. This system handles firing-only-when-on-target and allowing for bullet-drop, but doesn't allow for wind. Which is why they only claim accuracy out to 250 yards, rather than the km-or-so that can be achieved by a sniper.

Of course, that's something you can design into a subsequent version.

Re:A real-world aimbot (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 3 months ago | (#47645175)

It's an aimbot for real rifles. Now, any rifleman can be a sniper.

The majority of sniper training is about field craft, not shooting.

And 100% accuracy at 250 yards is not as useful as you'd think.
The engagement ranges in Iraq/Afghanistan were mostly 300 to 500 meters (328 to 546 yards) .

Unfortunately, the M4 + 5.56 is intended for ranges less than 300 yards.
This leaves a big gaping hole in the infantry's ability to effectively kill past 300 yards.
The Iraqis and Afghans have no such range problems with their AK-47s and 7.62 ammo.

TLDR: The military needs to reclaim 300-500 yards with a suitable infantry weapon.
FYI - A trained sniper is expected to have 90% accuracy at 600 yards.

Re:A real-world aimbot (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47645263)

The cynic in me would say, considering the accuracy of an average AK, range only minimally influences its chance to hit...

Re:A real-world aimbot (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 3 months ago | (#47645267)

Does this set of statistics have any bearing on that 2011 soundbyte that "an estimated 250,000 bullets fired for every [Iraqi] insurgent killed"?

Re:A real-world aimbot (0)

N1AK (864906) | about 3 months ago | (#47645533)

A less accurate weapon is obviously going to have an influence on bullets fired; however, the majority of the difference will be because the vast majority of bullets fired in standard infantry combat will be suppressing or speculative shots. Taking 3 shots to hit someone you're targetting instead of 2 doesn't waste a whole lot of bullets. Firing a couple of clips near them to keep the suppressed will. One assumes to get a figure like 250k bullets a kill they are also including things like weapons fired at field ranges etc.

Re:A real-world aimbot (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 months ago | (#47645285)

Im not seeing where you're getting your info; everything Ive ever heard indicates that the only issues reported with the M4 are reliability, due to its tighter tolerances, but that its also more accurate. Thats backed up by this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Which indicates the M16 /5.56 is accurate to 500m, whereas the AK47 with 7.76 ammo is only effective to 380m. If those are accurate, the M4 is lighter, uses 50% lighter ammo, and is accurate 25% further

Someone who reads random gun stuff on the net (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 3 months ago | (#47645345)

It is amazing how much misinformation flies around about guns. One of the common ones is "OMG the M4/16 is such crap, the AK is so much bettar!"

You are quite correct about the range. The AR-15 platform weapons are much more accurate. Anyone who has ever fired both can easily tell that.

The issue that people like the grandparent conflate is the lethality of the 5.56x45mm round at longer ranges. Though the M16 can easily hit a target at long range (with a skilled marksman operating it), because of the small size and low mass of the round, it is often not as effective as you would want. If the bullet does not fragment or tumble, it can go right through someone and the small hole does little damage.

That is the issue it has at range, not accuracy or ability to reach that range.

Also this isn't like it is some completely unknown, or unsolvable, thing. The military also has weapons that use 7.62x51mm rounds which are larger rifle bullets and have much greater range, mass, and kinetic energy. For longer engagements still things like 8.58Ã--70mm and 12.7Ã--99mm are used.

Of course as you move up in caliber and amount of propellant, weapons become bigger and heavier, and have larger amounts of recoil to deal with, it is always a tradeoff and is one reason why the standard personal weapons use 5.56.

In terms of 5.56x45mm vs 7.62Ã--39mm (which is what the AK uses, is is not the same as the larger NATO round) the real issues come up at medium range (100-300m) and with barrier penetration. The light, high velocity 5.56 round tends to be fantastically lethal below 100m because the high velocity results in fragmentation when it hits the target. However since military rounds may not be specifically designed to fragment or expand (the Geneva convention prohibits it, civilian and police rounds are available that do), as it slows down at greater ranges they lose that ability and are not as damaging. Also, because of their low mass and tendency to fragment they are poor performers when shooting through barriers like windshields, doors, and so on.

THAT is the issue the rounds have in general use vs 7.62Ã--39mm rounds. Not long ranges. While they aren't super effective beyond 300m, they are reasonably accurate at least, which is not the case with the 7.62 rounds. At a long range engagement an M4 would be at a decided advantage to an AK-47.

However neither was designed for long range use. They are carbines, made for medium range and below. They trade overall power and range for smaller size, lower weight, and better portability. As their widespread use in many conflicts around the world indicates, they do well in that arena.

Re:Someone who reads random gun stuff on the net (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645569)

There was some research around the time of WW2 which showed that the majority of effective engagements took place at less than 200 yards and outcomes were determined more by rate of fire than accuracy. As a result both sides started developing weapons which were effective at shorter ranges to replace their bolt action rifles. These were the precursors of the modern assault rifle.

Footage from Iraq indicates that there are longer range engagements taking place. But the infantryman's inability to hit a concealed enemy at 800m means that many of these firefights are little more than pi**ing contests, sorry "suppressing fire".

From the hip? (0)

NitsujTPU (19263) | about 3 months ago | (#47645027)

Really? You're shooting an AR-15 from the hip at a range where a trackpoint system would be helpful?

Re:From the hip? (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 3 months ago | (#47645045)

I want to know who the hell shoots a rifle from the hip at all.

Re:From the hip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645181)

The Rifleman [therifleman.net]

You Mean (3, Informative)

Greyfox (87712) | about 3 months ago | (#47645039)

Like that scene from The Fifth Element? I'd post a link but I find it amusing that if you search youtube for "That scene from the 5th element", it's the second link.

Firing blind (2, Interesting)

dohzer (867770) | about 3 months ago | (#47645053)

Will the be a version that blind people can use too?

Let's say I want the windows version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645061)

How accurate is that at 250 yds?

Double Tap Mode? (-1, Troll)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 3 months ago | (#47645071)

I cant tell from TFA, but when you shoot a person to death, does the tracking system support Double Tap mode so you can put two bullets into a persons brain?

Or does the system detect that the majority of the skull and brains are splattered against the wall/floor so you can save ammunition for the next person you want to shoot to death?

God Bless Murica.

Re:Double Tap Mode? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645131)

God bless stupid liberal slogan-slingers.

AR-15 (1)

easyTree (1042254) | about 3 months ago | (#47645123)

Ideal for home defence.

Linux? (3, Interesting)

sound+vision (884283) | about 3 months ago | (#47645219)

Does anyone know what benefit is actually provided by using Linux? This is precisely the type of embedded system with life-or-death consequences where I'd expect to see the entire thing done in heavily-audited assembly, or something close to it, interfacing directly with the hardware, with no OS to get in the way.
Certainly I'd trust it more than a Windows CE-based weapon, and I suppose if you want to reduce your attack surface, open source is the way to go - you can cut out the components that aren't needed. But, even still - I see little reason for an operating system to be there, except for convenient/cheap/fast development.

Re:Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645281)

I see little reason for an operating system to be there, except for convenient/cheap/fast development.

Just a little troll to say you don't need to ask questions you already know the answer to.

Re:Linux? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 months ago | (#47645389)

The guys just really wanted to give Linux a boost by creating the killer app.

It's the year of the.... (1)

kuzb (724081) | about 3 months ago | (#47645507)

....Linux deathtop?

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