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The Bulletin

Futuristic super rifle to sell for $17,000

Posting in Technology

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This is an update on the "Intelligent Digital Tracking Scopes" system, a revolutionary firearms technology that I wrote about last month. The part that makes it "revolutionary" is a digital tracking function that ensures an accurate hit on intended targets the first time, and every time.

TrackingPoint, the company behind the yet-to-be-released modified rifles, had representatives available at this year's Consumer Electronics Show to answer questions and provide additional details on the product's ongoing development and upcoming availability.

But before I get to that, here's a condensed explanation of how the next-generation scope technology works:

TrackingPoint’s patent-pending “Intelligent Digital Tracking Scopes” system was created to do away with all these complex factors by introducing a mechanism that prevents the rifle from going off until it ensures a precise hit. This is done using a correction technology that works to continually calibrate the point of impact based on important variables such as atmospheric drag, parallax, cross-winds and elevation.

Looking through the scope, the shooter starts by tagging the location of where the bullet should end up by means of a red, superimposed square. Once tagged, the shooter can now pull the trigger, though the bullet won’t fire until the crosshairs are matched up correctly with the predicted landing spot.

(read more on the Bulletin)

Now, here's the latest information on the gun that doesn't miss courtesy of Ars Technica:

  • The system relies on a Linux-based operational interface that functions similarly to a heads-up display used by fighter pilots.
  • It comes with a safety mechanism that snipers will take a liking to. After squeezing and holding down the trigger, the shooter can cancel the entire sequence by releasing it anytime prior to the gun firing.
  • It'll come equipped with some form of nonvolatile storage, like a solid-state drive. While in operation, the rifler's activity will be recorded continuously and the information stores, not unlike the "black box" on board an airplane.
  • Other features include a small Wi-Fi server and the option of an iOS app that connects to the scope and allows the scope's display to appear on an iPad or iPhone screen in real time.
  • You're probably getting the idea now that this will be a well-connected weapon. Naturally, this means that the scope's video recordings can be uploaded to YouTube and other social media sites.
  • The estimated starting price start was quoted at about $17,000 , which also includes an iPad with the TrackingPoint app pre-installed.
  • Despite the exorbitant upfront cost, TrackingPoint's reps believe a major selling point is that the improvement in shot-accuracy would result in a net reduction in the number of rounds used, which  helps gun owners save money.
  • The company's reps also say that device's development isn't tailored specifically for military agencies. Their main focus is to turn out a satisfactorily reliable product first then figure out the best way to market it.
  • Currently, the company is developing the technology mainly for bolt-action rifles.

-- Contributor's note: Did you enjoy this story? Whatever your reaction, I'd love to hear your your thoughts. You can leave a comment or drop me message. Your suggestions and feedback will go a long way in helping me turn around the smartest stories and reports in 2013.

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— By on January 14, 2013, 8:00 PM PST

Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure