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A Computer-based Smart Rifle With Incredible Accuracy, Now On Sale 551

Posted by samzenpus
from the buy-now-shoot-later dept.
WheezyJoe writes "A story on NPR reports that the TrackingPoint rifle went on sale today, and can enable a 'novice' to hit a target 500 yards away on the first try. The rifle's scope features a sophisticated color graphics display (video). The shooter locks a laser on the target by pushing a small button by the trigger... But here's where it's different: You pull the trigger but the gun decides when to shoot. It fires only when the weapon has been pointed in exactly the right place, taking into account dozens of variables, including wind, shake and distance to the target. The rifle has a built-in laser range finder, a ballistics computer and a Wi-Fi transmitter to stream live video and audio to a nearby iPad. Every shot is recorded so it can be replayed, or posted to YouTube or Facebook."
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A Computer-based Smart Rifle With Incredible Accuracy, Now On Sale

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:11PM (#43737397)

    Snipers use cover and concealment to hide their position. That's not really going to happen with a glowing video display and a spotter with a glowing iPad. Sounds like little more than an expensive toy.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:13PM (#43737409)

    If you want aim assist, play a console FPS. Otherwise, what's the point? I enjoy shooting, but to me this is not shooting.

    The point is to actually hit what you are shooting at. While I enjoy the challenge of target shooting as well, the actual primary purpose of a firearm is to kill/injure. There is a reason guns have targeting/tracking systems when used in anger. Perhaps you have forgotten that a gun is a weapon?

    With technology like this, you aren't hitting the target, the computer is.

    Sometimes the point it just to hit the target and it doesn't matter who gets credit for the aiming.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:15PM (#43737417) Homepage

    Next you'll be petitioning against adding rifling to barrels.

    Now I know its not the same but the point of shooting is to hit the target accurately.
    You want accuracy and not blind luck so you add rifling to the barrel.
    This is just another feature which improves accuracy.

    If your point isn't accuracy then sure do whatever you want. You could do it with one arm tied behind your back just as a challenge.

  • Re:pfftt... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:18PM (#43737449)

    No skill.

    No Sport.

    Might as well go to the game farm and shoot the deer in the small holding pen with a shotgun.

    Just like fishing with dynamite.

    Sounds like something invented by the same folks who did the Zune.

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:21PM (#43737471)

    If you want aim assist, play a console FPS. Otherwise, what's the point? I enjoy shooting, but to me this is not shooting.

    The point is to actually hit what you are shooting at. While I enjoy the challenge of target shooting as well, the actual primary purpose of a firearm is to kill/injure. There is a reason guns have targeting/tracking systems when used in anger. Perhaps you have forgotten that a gun is a weapon?

    With technology like this, you aren't hitting the target, the computer is.

    Sometimes the point it just to hit the target and it doesn't matter who gets credit for the aiming.

    This weapon will never be used in anger by any entity authorized to use lethal force in anger: snipers would never use this, it is too expensive and is unnecessary for the average foot soldier, and too large and cumbersome to be used on anything other than a rifle that is stationary and supported, ie on a target range. This technology is clearly designed for target and hunting use only, which would completely negate the point of both activities.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:24PM (#43737489) Journal
    You could extend your argument that using a firearm is unsportsmanlike as well, use a bow and arrow or marathon run the animals down to exhaustion and spear them. Hell, running them off a cliff is more honorable then using advanced chemicals, forged metal and precision optics. Do you care more for the experience or the result? It all depends on what your goals are. If that target absolutely, positively has to be destroyed, im going to trust the computer. As much as we all want to be Luke and 'use the force', its best to leave it up to the computer if the results really matter.
  • by sjbe (173966) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:33PM (#43737549)

    This weapon will never be used in anger by any entity authorized to use lethal force in anger:

    You cannot possibly be that naive. That specific weapon may not be used in combat but the basic technology will without a doubt make its way to people who will use it to kill living beings, either human or animal. I'm not even making a moral judgement about that, it's just a clearly obvious fact.

    snipers would never use this,

    They might not use that particular system but I promise you snipers can and will use a targeting/tracking system should one be available that fits their mission parameters. I would be deeply shocked if such technology was not being very actively worked on by the military.

    it is too expensive and is unnecessary for the average foot soldier, and too large and cumbersome to be used on anything other than a rifle that is stationary and supported, ie on a target range.

    Technology can be miniaturized and will be. Furthermore if the technology is large and needs support, it isn't exactly hard to attach it to a vehicle. The military does it all the time.

    This technology is clearly designed for target and hunting use only, which would completely negate the point of both activities.

    The technology is designed to cause a bullet to hit a target more reliably. The nature of the target is irrelevant. Plus you are contradicting yourself. If it can be used for hunting then it is portable. It if is designed for hunting there is little difference between hunting animals and hunting humans beyond the fact that humans can (and will) shoot back.

  • Re:pfftt... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:38PM (#43737595) Homepage

    No, the Super aEgis II (sentry gun) is the ultimate "Aimbot". I wouldn't fucking go near one of those in a time of war. Hell, I wouldn't walk in front one even if someone told me it was in shutdown mode.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:40PM (#43737607)
    Yeah, because its going to be so easy to use something like that in a shooting rampage...

    In a situation where there are other armed people, you want something that can just keep shooting, you'd just "spray and pray" something that this gun can't do. In something where you've got no chance of return fire (like in designated "gun free zones" like in Sandy Hook) it doesn't much matter because you can just walk up to someone and shoot them point blank if you want because they have no way to (effectively) defend themselves.

    When it comes to kids, its important that kids learn at an early age to shoot responsibly. The problem is, too many kids get their first experience about firearms from Hollywood, from GTA and from rap music, rather than responsibly target shooting/hunting. The key is to teach them responsibility and facts, not that shooting a gun is a toy, nor that guns should be feared.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:43PM (#43737621)

    Next you'll be petitioning against adding rifling to barrels.

    Agreed. The "real" way to do something is whatever somebody grew up with. People talk about a manual tranny being real driving, but I say it's degenerate ever since they added synchromesh. A caveman, heck, somebody from the early 19th century would think a modern rifle is cheating.

  • Re:Cancel? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:45PM (#43737631)

    Easy to say.
    Go out and free hold a laser on a target at 100 yards.

    Without a bipod it's very difficult.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:51PM (#43737673)

    (I'm excluding military applications for this)

    I'm not. The primary application for any targeting system is military. The fact that it can be used for game or target practice is secondary.

    Um, if the point isn't to demonstrate/exercise your skills in the field, why not go buy your game meat from the store?

    Apparently it wasn't sufficiently obvious that I was talking about military applications. When you are trying to kill something dangerous it doesn't really matter if you or a computer does the actual aiming. However even if we are talking about hunting, the important decision was to pull the trigger. That is when the person controlling the weapon decided to kill something. Focusing on how the aiming is being done kind of misses the most important thing.

    I don't really understand the point of "demonstrating your skills" by killing some harmless creature. That is just killing for fun which is frankly rather barbaric and certainly not very respectful of the life that was just ended. I don't object to hunting if you really need the food (not applicable for most of us) or if there are humane environmental considerations. But most hunters I know do it because they find it to be fun. They enjoy the act of killing something and sometimes they also enjoy the challenge of accomplishing that feat. But if they really wanted a challenge, why not do it with a knife or at worst a bow, up close and personal. Using a rifle that can kill at several hundred yards to hunt a woodland creature is not exactly a huge challenge. If you want to test your sharpshooting abilities, you don't need to kill something to do that. Hunting isn't evil but it frequently is pointless and cruel.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @09:55PM (#43737695)

    any trained sniper already has a ballistics computer and range finder wherever they go. It's called their head.

    That's what some engineers said when they first came out with this wussy CAD stuff. Sliderule and paper is all you need. Probably some truth to it in the early days, but the tech improves.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @10:04PM (#43737729)

    "This weapon will never be used in anger"

    I bet every hot head, whose gone on a gun rampage has said that, and every dad whose kid gets hold of it.

    Gun rampages are typically entered into with cool calculation and a bit of psychopathy/sociopathy; they are done by mentally ill persons or political zealots. The one exception I can think of is the Texas Tower Sniper, and it turned out he had a brain tumor.

  • Re:pfftt... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr AT mac DOT com> on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @11:17PM (#43738077) Journal

    Bah!

    If you're not barefoot and hunting with hand-lapped flint point on a spear, you're cheating.

    -jcr

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @11:59PM (#43738245) Journal

    Are you implying that a tank with one of the best operational records in the history of tanks

    You don't get "one of the best operational records in history" by pitting your tank against competing models that are two generations older than it (and then also trimmed-down export models). You rack up kill count, yes, but it's not the same thing. And I'm not aware of any instance in which Abrams actually went against any of its direct competitors.

    And yes, Abrams does have quite a few WTF moments about it compared to most other modern tanks that are in the same category. They aren't secret, either; but there's no real point in fixing them since massive tank-on-tank WW2-style battles are not happening any time soon, and it does work great against older tanks or in counter-insurgency operations, which is the kind of things that it's actually being used in today.

  • Re:pfftt... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @05:01AM (#43739043) Journal
    I prefer using shoes. The "barefoot is superior" bunch are silly- just because you run with shoes doesn't mean you have to run the wrong style.

    As for the long distance running adaptation, my hypothesis is we might have evolved that not mainly because of persistent hunting but because of war. There's not really much selection pressure for persistent hunting if you are a social animal (like humans and apes) you can hunt very successfully in groups - lions, hyenas, wolves, dogs, apes etc do it.

    In contrast war could have produced rather significant selection pressures. In human-human wars, the predator and prey are the same species- whatever big advantage you have is likely to be in the next generation of survivors. Being able to run away from dozens of persistent enemies till you find a hiding place or till the sun sets keeps your genes alive. In contrast being able to sprint at 80kph for a minute when the enemy can also sprint at 80kph for a minute doesn't help much with your survival when there are many enemies. Being able to run long distances to attack an enemy or carry messages is also helpful.
  • Re:pfftt... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Thursday May 16, 2013 @05:22AM (#43739113) Homepage
    Might as well drive a car with an automatic gearbox. Tech like this makes the world a bit more boring
  • Re:pfftt... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Salgak1 (20136) <salgak@nOSpam.speakeasy.net> on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:05AM (#43739225) Homepage
    Really ?? Haven't seen any whales at the local fishin' hole. And cows with an RPG ? Depends if you want steak. . . .or hamburger (evil grin). Of course, RPGs aren't terribly easy to come by in North America, so that's a bit of a straw man, too.

    But back to the Smart Rifle. The OBVIOUS uses for such a weapon are for military and police sniper units. And the occaisional rich jerk who wants to brag that he or she can never miss. Those of us who have developed and maintained our skill at marksmanship are unlikely to want one: it would be like putting training wheels on the 1966 Shelby AC Cobra you painstakingly restored. . . .

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @09:15AM (#43740621) Homepage
    yes it does. The second amendment (since thats what the thread is labeled) is to protect us from the government. as such having a weapon equal to our government is indeed perfectly acceptable to me. The world is a dangerous place, it always was, and always will be. and frankly I wouldnt want to live in a place that is 100% controled (safe) by thew government.

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