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Small lightweight microphones are saving the lives of US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Shoulder Worn Acoustic Targeting Systems (SWATS), developed by defense company QinetiQ, use shockwave and muzzle blast noise to locate enemy gunfire . A single shot is all it takes to give the soldier the bearing and distance to the sniper trying to take his life. A tactical display or audio alert from the device tells the soldier where to look so they can return fire or take cover. With SWATS, you go from sitting duck to well-informed angry defender in less than a second.
In urban environments, echoes and architecture and conspire to hide the location of enemy gunfire. Human ears, even well trained ones, can get confused trying to pick out where a shot is coming from. In open fields, bearing is easier to judge, but distance is still difficult. Devices like SWATS help with both scenarios. In urban settings they can pinpoint snipers even in complex acoustic environments out to several hundred meters, and in open fields they have an even greater range. Best of all they provide visual and/or audio feedback less than one second after detection of gunfire, and weigh less than a pound so anyone can wear them.
In fact, we’re likely to see many more such augmenting technologies. Acoustics are just the low hanging fruit. There are laser systems which could detect reflections off sniper scopes to pinpoint enemy shooters more precisely. IR/thermal scanning devices are also available. All sensors could be tied in to heads up displays to give augmented reality targeting assistance to soldiers. As we’ve discussed before, the human soldier of the future could be fitted with many such devices to turn them into super sensing, super accurate fighters.
Originally posted by LastStand
Man these things dont work worth a damn. We have been playing with this technology in the field since about 2005. I had a "Boomerang" system on my humvee back in 06-07 in Iraq and it was garbage. The microphones were constantly getting clogged with dust and even when they weren't the thing registered false positives all the time. It became so much of a distraction it was better to keep it off. The smaller personal units are notorious for false positives. The clanking of your own gear will set the thing off. They should really field test these things more before sending them out to the troops. But hey somebody's buddy got a contract for a piece of crap and needs to get paid right? That's what it's all about!edit on 2/27/2011 by LastStand because: I before E except after C