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TrackingPoint Smart Weapons Company in Trouble


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http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/05/trackingpoint-in-trouble-smart-gun-company-stops-orders-lays-off-staff/?comments=1

 

Smart rifles have interested me since around 1995 since it aligns with my expertise, the science is pretty clear and tech had advanced to the point where I was expecting these sorts of things to start showing up. I even considered starting up an operation to investigate it and do some preliminary design work. The regulatory issues looked expensive but this company seems to have done it. Not sure what the problems there are but there were a lot of orders and money going into it. Could be the owners bit off more than they could chew or it's a too good to be true ripoff.

 

At the end of the day the main reason I didn't pursue it is that it seemed likely the only legal customers would probably turn out to be the government and I don't like having customers that aren't incented by P&L.

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I was interested in these scopes but at prices from $7,500-$50,000,00 and only a 30 day guarantee they were priced way to high for the civilian market.

 

The tech has some similarities to optical, image stabilized camera lenses. The other half is active control of barrel angular acceleration. Smart ammo is requires considerably more work and capital but there are some obvious ways to approach it that aren't expensive aside from the initial investment. But the smart rifle is easier. Some of the stuff would not be off the shelf but the complicated parts are. It would require coding by someone skilled in control theory (kids, learn your matrix math and differential equations). The only reason to charge upwards of 10k is simply to pay off the R&D. The basic costs are probably not much more than a 20% premium to a good firearm if produced in the same quantity.

 

The military and conventional second amendment crowd are steeped in tradition and people with the skills that have spent the time required to be a good marksman or military sniper do not want some upstart tech that any noob can outshoot them with. So they won't change quickly. Looking at military history the greatest rate of change always occurs during conflicts. There is something about war that tends to concentrate the mind to paraphrase Ben Franklin. Think swords, archery, and chain mail being confronted by crossbows, then later those by firearms.

 

I think we are at the start of another similar transition though smart firearms will be a fairly small part of it.

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