A French researcher has developed new audio tech that could effectively deter enemy snipers operating stealthily on the battlefield.
Dr Sébastien Hengy at the French-German Research Institute of Saint-Louis developed shooter location tech that can be incorporated into the helmets of soldiers. The tech is incorporated into the microphone and earmuffs of a soldier’s Tactical Communication and Protective Systems (TCAPS). This head gear system currently protects soldiers from blasts, keeps their hearing intact, and allows them to communicate with their comrades using four built-in microphones. Once the new tech is installed into the headset, it will help soldiers pinpoint the location of enemy combatants in less than a second.
The audio tech tracks the sound of a bullet; from when it leaves the muzzle to the supersonic sounds given off as the bullet pierces through the air. The location data of the enemy shooter is then transmitted to the soldier’s Smartphone. The tech will give soldier’s God-like vision on the battlefield and help them identify the location of enemy snipers in less than a second. The tech is currently being refined and could be used on the battlefield in just two years.
“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,” says acoustics researcher Dr. Hengy. (Related: Forensic acoustic analysis confirms existence and range of second Las Vegas shooter.)
The tech prototype blocks out every other loud noise on the battlefield by activating an electronic filter in the four microphones of the TCAP system. The tech then hones in on the sound of shots fired in the distance. The tech measures the supersonic shock wave generated by bullets that are fired from modern combat weapons. The bullet fire from these weapons generates supersonic speed which generates two types of acoustic waves. The first, the muzzle blast, reverberates out spherically in all directions. As the bullet travels through midair, it also sends out a series of acoustic waves that travel outward in a cone shape.
“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,” clarifies Dr Hengy. “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.”
The location of the shooter is then configured in half a second using a data fusion algorithm developed by Dr. Hengy. The data is relayed to the soldier’s Smartphone via Bluetooth in less than a second. The system shuts off as soon as the soldier fires back. The new tech will first be developed by the French company Cotral and could be deployed in the battlefield as early as 2021.
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