Thinking Tech

U.S. Army's gunshot detector may save lives

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The U.S. Army's new gunshot detection systems can determine the distance and direction of incoming enemy gunfire.

United States armed forces fighting in Afghanistan will soon be aided by a technology capable of providing the kind of crucial split-second information that can mean the difference between life and death.

Later this month, military officials will begin equipping about 13,000 ground soldiers with gunshot detection systems that can determine the distance and direction of incoming enemy gunfire. The Individual Gunshot Detector, developed by QinetiQ North America, consists of four wearable acoustic sensors that pick up on supersonic sound waves generated by gunfire to pinpoint the exact location of the aggressor. This information is instantly displayed on a small screen that's attached to soldier's body armor.

"When you get fired on, instead of trying to figure everything out, you will have technology to assist you in knowing what happened and where the shot was coming from," said General Peter Fuller of Program Executive Officer Soldier (PEO), a development arm of the U.S. Army.

Initially, the army plans to roll out 1,500 IGDs per month over the course of a one-year period. But officials hope to also integrate the technology with other networked systems under development such as Land Warrior and Nett Warrior, both of which come with a helmet-mounted screen that features GPS digital-mapping-display technology.

"The next thing we want to do is try to integrate this capability with other capabilities; for example, we have Land Warrior deployed in Afghanistan and we're going to have Nett Warrior coming into the force. How about, if you get shot at, not only do I know where that came from, but others know where it came from because I can network that capability," said Fuller.

"We're really trying to ensure that every Soldier is protected," he added.

(via U.S. Army)

Photo: U.S. Army

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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