Ready, fire, aim for real

12 January 2013 by Steve Blum
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High caliber consumer electronics takes on new meaning.

To shoot something a thousand meters away with a rifle, you need a sharp eye and steady hands. Or a high tech rifle that tracks your target and pulls the trigger for you.

TrackingPoint offers just such a weapon, and introduced it to the CES world at the Showstoppers event last week. It has a video camera, processing power and WiFi capability so someone can watch what you're doing in real time.

It's a logical extension of a commonplace consumer electronics trend: swapping hard won manual skills and talents for electronic smarts. Digital cameras, electronic calculators and GPS navigation systems have all done it. Why not firearms?

There's a good argument that it's not particularly sporting, but you might say the same about putting an engine on a bicycle and making a moped. The two don't compete with each other.

To use it, you find your target in the scope, mark it electronically, squeeze the trigger and then move the rifle around – like a video game – until the crosshairs are on the mark. At that moment, the rifle automatically fires a .300 caliber round, correcting for distance and other ballistic factors such as the rotation of the Earth. Splat.

A hunting guide, say, can watch it all happen on an Android or iOS device. Or a parent can coach a child. The rifle will also record up to two hours of video that you can show your friends.

Live video only goes to a smart phone or tablet within WiFi range. At this point, it doesn't support live streaming of your shot to the Internet, although that's only an Android hack away if you're interested. And of course you can do whatever you want with the recordings.