Adapted from public domain images
Hengy hopes to improve the odds of warfighters caught in ambushes or under fire by concealed snipers. “At the beginning of an ambush,” Hengy said in an article published by the Acoustical Society, “the most important thing for soldiers is to know where the shooting is coming from so that they can hide on the right side of a vehicle or at least aim in the right direction-and they need this information very fast.”
TCAPS have four microphones which serve as automatically triggered noise-canceling devices under the hearing protection when loud noises – such as rifle fire – are encountered. Hengy’s system uses the microphones to track the two supersonic waves generated when a high-powered weapon is fired: one that is generated in front of projectile in a cone shape emanating outwards, the other emanating from the muzzle in a spherical shockwave.
“Our system uses the microphone underneath the hearing protection in order to detect the shock and muzzle waves generated by supersonic shots and record the time difference of arrival of the Mach wave between the left and right ear, Hengy explained. “By combining the information sent by all the TCAPS deployed on the field, this gives you the direction of arrival of the waves and thus the direction in which the shooter is.” The acoustic information is relayed by BlueTooth to algorithmic software on a smartphone, which then translates the data into a GPS location, allowing warfighters to accurately return fire.
Additional testing is planned for this year. If successful, the new technology could be deployed as early as 2021. Here’s a look at the existing TCAPS tech.