James’s Musings

thoughts, photography, and geeky stuff
from an unrelentingly curious Silicon Valley entrepreneur

Civilians Just Don’t Understand (That Includes Me)

by James G. Beldock on September 4, 2006

This week, my com­pa­ny gave a demon­stra­tion of our sol­dier-worn gun­shot lo­ca­tion sys­tem to the US Army at Ft. Jackson, SC, on of the largest train­ing bases in the US Army, and a base for­mer­ly com­mand­ed by our Vice Chairman, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Steve Siegfried. The event was some­thing of a turn­ing point for us, and re­sults were ex­cel­lent, but that’s not the pur­pose of this Blog en­try.

First some back­ground: One of the fea­tures we want­ed to demon­strate was that our sen­sors can fil­ter out the son­ic “snap” (re­al­ly a small son­ic boom) cre­at­ed by a bul­let as it moves through the air. Not all bul­lets cre­ate this son­ic snap; on­ly su­per­son­ic bul­lets do. Most mil­i­tary weapons fire su­per­son­ic pro­jec­tiles, in­clud­ing the M16-A4 ri­fle, an AK-47, etc. So some­one stand­ing down-range of a su­per­son­ic weapon hears two nois­es: the son­ic snap of the bul­let, fol­lowed by the muz­zle blast of the weapon. Unfortunately, this son­ic snap con­fus­es sol­diers, be­cause the noise comes off the bul­let, and not from the muz­zle of the weapon, and thus the hu­man brain gets con­fused and doesn’t cor­rect­ly fig­ure out the orig­in of the gun­fire. Our ShotSpotter sen­sors can fig­ure out the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two sounds, and we tri­an­gu­late on the muz­zle blast (where the shooter is) and not the son­ic snap (where the bul­let is

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Michel Floyd December 4, 2006 at 10:08 pm

Hey James, congrats on the field test! When are they going to deploy the system in Iraq?

Very interesting point about the difference between the supersonic snap and the muzzle blast, I had never realized that.

I did have a question about the sniper detection system: can it detect the weapon type? Do you have a shot (no pun intended) at doing IFF (Identify Friend from Foe) based on the weapon or do the bad guys have too many US weapons already?

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