“The main purpose of infantry soldiers is to engage the enemy,” Berenice Baker argues (sensibly enough) at army-technology.com. “Increasing numbers of high-tech electronic systems are enabling them to better carry out their missions.” Hmmm. “But if they have to move their eyes from their weapon sights or their hands from their weapons, they are unable to perform their primary duty with an effective response time and could put themselves at risk.” So . . .
Australian company Kord Defence believes it has come up with a solution. Its SmartGrip Rifle Input Control (RIC) uses chordic input – a combination of key presses by the fingers of one hand – to carry out pre-defined actions on different pieces of equipment.
Kinda like Guitar Hero, only with bullets. Eventually. Maybe. Over at the Kord Defence website, business development director Trevor Finklaire (MBE) puts us in the picture:
The SmartGrip RIC has been designed to attach to most rifles and it contains a small programmable microprocessor for interfacing to a limited number of electronic devices such as: Thermal Weapon Sights, Infra-red Sensors, Night Aiming Devices, Laser Range Finders, Radios, Torches and Computers.
The latest version also contains prototype wireless circuitry so that it can control body worn devices without the need for cables. Adding new electronic devices requires a simple firmware upgrade instead of replacing the whole unit.
Back at army-technology.com, Finklaire describes a typical SmartGrip scenario:
“A commander could be looking through a sight to target the enemy. He could press forwards on the control to talk to his soldiers, and press another chord to talk to his commander and tell him what’s going on.
While all this is going on, he could press another chord to use his laser pointer to help describe to his soldiers what’s going on.”
Sounds simple. Or does it? Anyway, salesman Finklaire says the SmartGrip is coming soon to a militarized police force near you.
“I watched the riots in England on the news last year,” he says. “If you look at those policemen, in one hand they’re carrying a clear polycarbonate shield, and in the other hand they had a baton.
“They had to keep their eyes on the rioting crowd; if they looked down an electronic device, the crowd would get the better of them. And yet they still had to operate radios and helmet or shoulder-mounted cameras to record evidence. The technology that we developed in Kord Defence can be used in any of these situations where people are in distress and they need to control many electronic devices.”
I wonder if the SmartGrip has a sporting purpose? TTAG will contact Kord for a T&E sample.