A French researcher is on the brink of developing new technology that can help law enforcement quickly identify a suspect’s location during a mass shooting.
Sébastien Hengy, an expert on combat acoustics at the French-German Research Institute of Saint-Louis in France has been working on a smartphone-based Tactical Communication and Protective System.
His system makes use of acoustic information taken from a shooter’s activity and transmitting it to a soldier’s smartphone. It will then process the data to determine where gunman’s exact position is.
Hengy hopes that his version of TCAPS technology can help protect soldiers during dangerous situations and allow them to do their jobs more effectively.
“At the beginning of an ambush, 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,” the researcher said.
Hengy is set to present his concept at the 177th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America from May 13 to 17 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Most TCAPS earplugs are fitted with four microphones. Two of these mics are located outside the device’s ear canal, while the other two are located beneath the hearing protection.
The French version of the technology makes use of an electronic filter that is designed to block out loud noises, such as when soldiers fire their own weapons.
For his TCAPS headsets, Hengy factored in the two acoustic waves often produced when modern weapons are fired. The first of these is a supersonic shock wave that travels in front of the bullet then radiates outward in a cone shape.
A muzzle wave is also produced by the explosion of the bullet inside the weapon’s barrel. The energy spreads outward in all directions in a spherical form.
Hengy explained that his device detects both of these acoustic waves and records how long it would take for the Mach wave to reach the left and right earpiece. The system will then process the data taken from all the TCAPS currently deployed in the field to find out where the waves likely came from.
Once the information is ready, it will be sent through USB or Bluetooth to operators’ smartphones, which will then display the exact position of the shooter.
Depending on the processing power of the soldier’s smartphone, Hengy said the information could be made available as fast as half a second. The TCAPS will automatically turn off once the soldier starts returning fire at the enemy force.
Hengy has already tested the shooter-locating TCAPS technology in the field. They are currently applying the finishing touches to the device, with the intention of adding small compasses to the headset’s hearing protection to handle head orientation information.
He and his team are set to conduct further testing using an artificial head. If everything goes well, they will be able to deploy the system by 2021.
Hengy is developing his new TCAPS technology together with French company Cotral.