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Old January 5, 2010, 12:02 AM   #1
MrFisher
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Homemade Laser Training System

Hello all, I've been lurking around these forums for a LONG time now, but this is my first time posting something. I'm an engineering student at Michigan State University, but in my free time I've been working on a firearm training system that I thought you might all get a kick out of. It's quite similar to the system offered by the folks at http://www.lasershot.com , however, I've been able to do it at a significantly lower cost.

In a nutshell- A projector displays virtual targets or a training scenario on a wall. The gun you're using (handgun, rifle, airsoft, etc) has a human-invisible IR laser mounted to it which projects a dot on the screen. A camera pointed at the screen captures the position of this dot, which is then transformed using an algorithm to determine its location within the simulation. This is more difficult than it might sound, as there are things like lens distortion, projector distortion, etc. which are difficult to easily compensate for.

I've made a couple videos describing the process and setup in a little more detail. The second one also has a target practice demo near the end. I apologize, they're both a bit boring, they were just thrown together to provide a quick demonstration of what I was doing to some guys in my lab at school. Quick note: bolt was removed from weapon in the first video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNt5L8wZltM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEq0bqrmDyY

The system works GREAT right now, the "hit" marker always pops up right on top of the front sight post like it should. The next step for me is finding somebody who can "mod" one of the existing game engines out there so I can integrate this into a simulation. I'd be interested in hearing what all of you think about this thing so far.

Thanks,
MrFisher
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Old January 6, 2010, 11:47 PM   #2
MrFisher
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I've started work recently on a microcontroller-based fire controller for the system. I'm using a microphone and relay to pulse the laser when the system hears the sound of a gunshot. This means you could use the system with a real weapon firing blanks, or even live rounds if you didn't care about your screen and had a good backstop. The whole package should fit in something about the size of a commercial laser sight, but the prototype is somewhat larger right now.

Once I get this part finished, I'm going to add in a "simulated weapon" mode. This would be used with airsoft systems so that you could easily add things like mag changes, compressed gas recoil simulators, whatever.

More fun than research work!
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Old January 7, 2010, 03:51 PM   #3
igor
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Very impressive, kudos! Have you also thought about adding in hold pattern recording like the Noptel training systems do? These things can have a big significance not only in decision-making scenarios and games, but also developing basic marksmanship.
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Old January 7, 2010, 11:40 PM   #4
MrFisher
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Thanks for the reply. If I understand you correctly, hold pattern recording is something I'm essentially already doing. I produce a set of time series images (about 30/sec) that are stored at the end of each trial. That was how I produced the PIP at the end of the first video. It should be possible to convert the single dot that moves around to a streak which can be saved and viewed later.
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Old January 8, 2010, 01:47 AM   #5
firespec35
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Wow a State student that's not drunk? I heard those existed. Lol j/k
Looks like you are on your way to something cool.
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Old January 9, 2010, 11:54 AM   #6
igor
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Quote:
It should be possible to convert the single dot that moves around to a streak which can be saved and viewed later.
That would be it indeed. The pattern as I've understood it tells a lot about the breathing and trigger work when laying down the basics.

Keep posting stuff on your work! Looking forward to hearing about a commercial application coming...
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Old January 9, 2010, 05:58 PM   #7
MrFisher
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Hehe, commercial application would be nice. Unfortunately, I'm sure that some of the larger companies out there doing this stuff have patents on it. I don't have the time or the money to fight those kind of battles right now. At this point, I think I'm going to try to submit a paper on the device to one of the defense research conferences in the spring and try to get the attention of someplace that might be hiring
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Old October 5, 2010, 01:04 PM   #8
MrFisher
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Sorry to bring this one back from the grave. I've added a new video of the system at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgs0DJxPn9o. (Some of the slight inaccuracies are my fault due to a poor calibration attempt)

I recently had the chance to demo the system at the 2010 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference in Boston, which was attended by all sorts of industry professionals. That was exciting . I hope to get a version working with handguns soon, which I think could be an excellent way to safely train holster draws, acquisition of moving targets, etc.
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