Smart guns aren’t exactly a popular topic in consumer electronics. But TrackingPoint made an appearance at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show with a Wi-Fi networked sniper scope that can lock on targets from afar and track them while they move. Targeted at hunters, it promises them “precision-guided accuracy” when taking long-distance shots that shifting winds, jitter, recoil, and range miscalculation can throw off.
With its XactSystem, TrackingPoint sells a complete rifle, scope, ammo, and a guided trigger. The scope can give hunters a “lock and launch” experience that is similar to fighter pilots who paint enemy fighters and then launch guided missiles at them. As the video shows below, you can target a deer by tapping a red button next to the gun trigger. That button marks the spot on the deer you want to hit with a red dot, which remains visible while you are tracking the deer in your scope. That makes it much easier to target the deer with the gun sight as you line up the shot. The gun sight also helps to automatically compensate for range, temperature, barometric pressure, spin drift, wind, cant, inclination and more.
The weapon seems like something out of the futuristic Call of Duty: Black Ops II. But it’s a very real combination of a deadly gun and technology. It’s sure to be controversial. Some hunters may feel they shouldn’t have the extra help that technology gives them, while others may want to take advantage of it to the fullest. And the antigun lobby certainly doesn’t want weapons to become any more accurate, particularly in the wake of the tragic shootings at Newtown, Conn.
This gun also helps you recover quickly from the recoil and line up a second shot. TrackingPoint says it delivers “five times the first shot success rate of traditional systems at targets up to 1,200 yards.” The red dot tag stays on the deer as you or it move.
The scope also has a Wi-Fi network that can transfer the view from the scope to a spotter or a nearby observer with a tablet or smartphone. The Wi-Fi network can stream video of the heads-up display within the scope. The app also records each shot sequence from tagging until 10 seconds after the shot. It also captures still frames which can be shared over Facebook, Twitter and email. That means a father training a son can show him how to hunt, or a trainer can oversee a recruit’s exact view while shooting.
The scope itself has a 110 millimeter telephoto lens and 14 megapixel image sensor. It streams video at 54 frames per second. The scope tracks moving targets using computer vision, which recognizes a target and then monitors it as it moves.
The XactSystem has a ballistic computer at its heart which has been modeled virtually using applied mathematics and tested with thousands of rounds of ammunition. Austin, Texas-based TrackingPoint is debuting the product at the Shot Show this month.
Here’s a video of Tracking Point’s networked scope in action.