This Smart Rifle Lets You Hit a Quarter-Mile Target Without Looking

In the very near future, line-of-sight will be a thing of the past.

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Jun 30 2014, 7:15pm

Another day, another futuristic firearm hack from TrackingPoint Solutions, the Austin-based applied technology startup featured in our doc "Long Shot." This time, it's proof that TrackingPoint's real-time video streaming app indeed can enable a user to hit a target at 500 yards without even looking

As we've reported, the Shotview app stands to represent the first real integration of wearable technology, firearms, and warfare. Essentially it streams real-time footage (via networked tracking scope) from the head's-up display of TrackingPoint's signature precision-guided firearm (PGF). This effectively allows a user to aim and shoot around corners—and using Google Glass, no less. At least, according to the original Shotview promo:

Now, look again at the video at the top of this page, which shows a guy nailing an explosive target at 500 yards. You'll notice he's wearing goggles, not Glass. What gives?

TrackingPoint's head of marketing Oren Schauble tells me that goggles have proven to offer the fastest streaming video from the PGF, more so than most tablets and any other wearables, from smart watches to Google's belleaguered face computer. Turns out Glass still lags too much. 

"The speed of streaming is crucial for long distance shots taken with this technique. Goggles also provide an easier set up experience and learning curve," Schauble explains. 

If you look closely, you can see Schauble field-testing an early goggled version of Shotview in "Long Shot." Here he is after firing at a 1,000-yard target from the top of a mountain, with goggles propped onto his forehead:

To be sure, it'll still be a bit until this sort of smart gun application is rolled out anywhere besides the so-called networked battlefield, where data-driven soldiers are kitted out to be virtual one-man armies. Then again, this just might be the firmest demonstration yet that wearables and laser-guided, long-range shooting can work. 

In the very near-future, line-of-sight will be a thing of the past. Here's looking out.