Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tracking gunfire with a smartphone

Date:
April 25, 2013
Source:
Vanderbilt University
Summary:
A team of computer engineers has developed an inexpensive hardware module and related software that can transform an Android smartphone into a simple shooter location system.

Vanderbilt computer scientists have developed a smartphone-based system for identifying the location where gunshots are fired.
Credit: Courtesy of ISIS

You are walking down the street with a friend. A shot is fired. The two of you duck behind the nearest cover and you pull out your smartphone. A map of the neighborhood pops up on its screen with a large red arrow pointing in the direction the shot came from.

Related Articles


A team of computer engineers from Vanderbilt University's Institute of Software Integrated Systems has made such a scenario possible by developing an inexpensive hardware module and related software that can transform an Android smartphone into a simple shooter location system. They described the new system's capabilities this month at the 12th Association for Computing Machinery/Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks in Philadelphia.

For the last decade, the Department of Defense has spent millions of dollars to develop sophisticated sniper location systems that are installed in military vehicles and require dedicated sensor arrays. Most of these take advantage of the fact that all but the lowest powered firearms produce unique sonic signatures when they are fired. First, there is the muzzle blast -- an expanding balloon of sound that spreads out from the muzzle each time the rifle is fired. Second, bullets travel at supersonic velocities so they produce distinctive shockwaves as they travel. As a result, a system that combines an array of sensitive microphones, a precise clock and an off-the-shelf microprocessor can detect these signatures and use them to pinpoint the location from which a shot is fired with remarkable accuracy.

Six years ago, the Vanderbilt researchers, headed by Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Science Akos Ledeczi developed a system that turns the soldiers' combat helmets into mobile "smart nodes" in a wireless network that can rapidly identify the location of enemy snipers with a surprising degree of accuracy.

In the past few years, the ISIS team has adapted their system so it will work with the increasingly popular smartphone.

Like the military version, the smartphone system needs several nodes in order to pinpoint a shooter's location. As a result, it is best suited for security teams or similar groups. "It would be very valuable for dignitary protection," said Kenneth Pence, a retired SWAT officer and associate professor of the practice of engineering management who participated in the project. "I'd also love to see a version developed for police squad cars." In addition to the smartphone, the system consists of an external sensor module about the size of a deck of cards that contains the microphones and the processing capability required to detect the acoustic signature of gunshots, log their time and send that information to the smartphone by a Bluetooth connection. The smartphones then transmit that information to the other modules, allowing them to obtain the origin of the gunshot by triangulation.

The researchers have developed two versions. One uses a single microphone per module. It uses both the muzzle blast and shockwave to determine the shooter location. It requires six modules to obtain accurate locations. The second version uses a slightly larger module with four microphones and relies solely on the shockwave. It requires only two modules to accurately detect the direction a shot comes from, however, it only provides a rough estimate of the range.

The research was supported by Defense Advance Research Project Agency grant D11PC20026.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University. The original article was written by David Salisbury. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University. "Tracking gunfire with a smartphone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425213800.htm>.
Vanderbilt University. (2013, April 25). Tracking gunfire with a smartphone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425213800.htm
Vanderbilt University. "Tracking gunfire with a smartphone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425213800.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Magnetic Motors, Not Cables, Power This Elevator

Magnetic Motors, Not Cables, Power This Elevator

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) Imagine an elevator without cables. ThyssenKrupp has drafted an elevator concept that would cruise on linear magnetic motors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins