Acoustic technology will deliver GPS location of enemy sniper to soldier’s smartphone
A French researcher has developed upon existing military-grade hearing protection so it can identify the direction of incoming fire- and the U.S. Army is all ears.
Known as the Tactical Communication and Protective System (TCAPS), the earplugs have built-in microphones that allow soldiers to protect their hearing without sacrificing situational awareness.
While electronic hearing protection is nothing new, a French researcher has kicked it up a notch by rigging TCAPS to use an enemy shooter’s acoustic information to give soldiers real-time shot direction on a smartphone.
“At the beginning of an ambush, the most important thing for soldiers is to know where the shooting is coming from so that they can hide on the right side of a vehicle or at least aim in the right direction- and they need this information very fast,” French-German Research Institute of Saint-Louis (ISL) researcher Sébastien Hengy told the Acoustical Society of America in a press release.
Using the four microphones on TCAPS (which provide a near-360-degree soundscape), the new system uses the sound input to detect the distance and direction of the enemy shooter.
“Our system uses the microphone underneath the hearing protection in order to detect the shock and muzzle waves generated by supersonic shots and record the time difference of arrival of the Mach wave between the left and right ear. By combining the information sent by all the TCAPS deployed on the field, this gives you the direction of arrival of the waves and thus the direction in which the shooter is,” explained Hengy.
With a decent smartphone (i.e., processing power), the direction and distance of the shooter are relayed to the phone and the Soldier within half a second.
TCAPS technology is a multinational affair and is being developed between France and the USA.
The technology is scheduled to be deployed as early as 2021.
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