'Smart bullet' reports back wirelessly


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Preacherman
May 30, 2004, 06:43 PM
From New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99995054):

'Smart bullet' reports back wirelessly

17:05 28 May 04

NewScientist.com news service

A "smart bullet" that can be fired at a target and then wirelessly transmit back useful information has been developed by US researchers.

The projectile, created at the University of Florida in Gainesville, US, is 1.7 centimetres in diameter can be fired at from an ordinary paint-ball gun. The front is coated in an adhesive polymer that sticks it to the target.

Inside, the elongated projectile holds a sensor, a tiny wireless transmitter and a battery. This enables it to report back its findings to a laptop or handheld computer up to 70 metres away. It can also reusable, because compressed gas within the gun provides the propulsion.

The prototype developed by the researchers was fitted with an accelerometer. To test it, the students fired it at a target which was then shaken to activate the accelerometer and produce data for transmission.

But the US firm Lockheed Martin, which provided funding for the project, is interested in developing a version containing a miniature sensor capable of detecting traces of the explosive TNT.

Stand back

"If you had a good chemical sensor on this projectile, you could fire it into the trash, stand back and determine whether it could detect TNT leaking out," says Leslie Kramer, director of engineering for the Lockheed Martin subsidiary Missiles and Fire Control.

Loc Vu-Quoc, one of the university team, says the potential advantage of the system is that "you'd be able to stand far away from the target". He says other researchers are already working on miniaturising TNT detection

However Colin King, editor of the British defence industry magazine Jane's Explosives Ordinance Disposal says this goal may be unrealistic. "Methods for detecting traces of explosives require a lot of equipment," he told New Scientist. "I can't think of a sensible way it could work."

The smallest explosive vapour detectors currently available are handheld. King also warns that firing a projectile at a potential explosive goes against bomb disposal guidelines.

Nevertheless, King believes the projectile sensor might still be useful. "It sounds like there could be better applications in counter-surveillance," he suggests.

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Sylvilagus Aquaticus
May 30, 2004, 06:52 PM
yeah, shooting bullets at an explosive device really sounds like a bad idea.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Telperion
May 30, 2004, 06:53 PM
Hmm, shooting or throwing things at something you think could be an explosive doesn't seem all that wise. :D The miniturization of bomb detection equipment is probably the more interesting aspect of this project.

DesertEagle613
May 30, 2004, 08:44 PM
I dunno, in Israel the standard method for disposing of bombs is to shoot them until they explode. Works well and they get it done in a few minutes, not hours like in the US.

On the other hand, it's less useful for building a criminal case and such.

CrudeGT
May 30, 2004, 08:48 PM
So, let me get this right. Someone calls in a bomb threat. The police locate where they think the bomb 'might' be. Then they shoot this sticky ball at the object and it tells them if the bomb is there or not. Then they still have to g over and defuse it. Sounds like an extra step that would waste a lot of time in bomb defusing.

Linux&Gun Guy
May 30, 2004, 09:31 PM
There is nothing wrong with shooting explosives. Secondarys will not detonate without a shockwave from a primary. Now if they shoot an unstable primary in the detonation train then the whole think could detonate.

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