Android smartphones given a shot at tracking gunfire

DARPA-funded research from Vanderbilt could aid security teams, police

Vanderbilt University researchers have developed DARPA-funded Android smartphone add-ons that could be used to help security teams determine which way sniper gunshots are coming from.

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The technology from the school's Institute of Software Integrated Systems, discussed at the recent Association for Computing Machinery/IEEE Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks, is an evolution of gunshot tracking technology already in use by the U.S. military both in vehicles and on soldiers' helmets.

The new smartphone tools, a cheap hardware module containing microphones, Bluetooth technology and some software, could deliver users maps showing where shots came from by taking cues from sonic signatures produced by gunshots.

Like the military technology, the smartphone system requires multiple nodes with which to triangulate, so would make most sense for security teams, such as those protecting dignataries, or for police cars.

Bob Brown tracks network research in his Alpha Doggs blog and Facebook page, as well on Twitter and Google +.   

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