Patent application title: Training simulator for sharp shooting
Matvey Lvovskiy (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Matvey Lvovskiy (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Ilya Lipkind (Mountain View, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AF41G326FI
Class name: Gun aiming training apparatus using beam of infrared, visible light, or ultraviolet radiation beam sensor included in apparatus
Publication date: 2010-04-15
Patent application number: 20100092925
The invention described her falls in the class of training simulators
designed for practicing of sharpshooter skills form light firearms. This
training simulator is designed for both individual and group training
with sniper rifles as well as other types of light firearms without using
ammunition as well as to sustain the acquired sniper skills on a required
high level. The training simulator supports shooting practice against
stationary, mobile, close proximity, remote and very remote targets. The
shots are emulated by sending a laser pulse along the target line that is
accompanied by the sound in n the shooter's headphones. The training
simulator is equipped with a computer and a high resolution TV camera,
which registers the hit point of the laser beams on the targets, the
optical axis of the TV camera and the projector are aligned with high
precision. The performance results of the shooters are displayed in
symbolic and digital formats on the individual computer screens in real
time. The training simulator includes a trigger emulator and an
autonomous emitter device the simulator that allow training with real
firearms that are free of ammunition.
21. A training simulator for sharp shooting practice from a sniper rifle against remote and super remote stationary and mobile small targets, designed for simultaneous training of one to three or more shooters comprising:means to generate target images on the screen, means to detect hit coordinates during sniper fire simulated by laser beam pulses and means of identifying the shooteran image manipulation block that is optically and by construction coupled with a video projector that forms the image of the target on the screen, connected to a computer and comprising:computational sub-block for target analysis and coordinate detection,TV camera,a light optical light beam generator,a light divider, working along three optical axes,an optical system that allows moving images on the screen,a router that routes the flow of digital information.a number of marked emitter devices for temporary attachment to the barrels of the weapons, differentiated by the characteristics of the emitted light and-controlled by the trigger emulator devices that are also temporarily attached to the weapons, corresponding to the number of simultaneous shooters supported by a specific implementation of the training system;means to create conditions identical to the training system for a single shooter, for multiple shooters that include emitter devices that do not create light interference during operation
22. A simulator of claim 21, wherein the said emitter devices installable on the weapons, to support three simultaneous shooters, are equipped with an infrared LEDs of different frequencies f1, f2, f3 which get turned on simultaneously with laser LED of the emitter device when the weapon's trigger is pulled and that provide a mechanism for shooter identification.
23. A simulator of claim 21, wherein said simulator contains infrared receivers, each detecting short pulses of only one of the frequencies f1, f2, f3 tbat are sent by said infrared LEDs and with their inputs connected to the corresponding computational sub-block for target analysis and hit coordinate detection.
24. A simulator of claim 21, wherein said emitter devices, are equipped with LEDs of the same frequencies, and are driven by pulse generators of three different fixed frequencies f1, f2, 3, while the identical infrared receivers of the same frequency are equipped with an electronic filters that are tuned to pass only a specific pulse frequency from f1,f2,f3.
25. A simulator of claim 21, wherein the said simulator contains light-optical light beam generator that forms a light dot serving as a focal point for auto-correction of TV raster shift by appearing on the screen that resides in front of the said TV camera, with its optical axis precisely aligned with the optical axes of the said TV camera and said target image generator.
26. A light-optical light beam generator of claim 25, wherein the said light-optical light beam generator is equipped with a collimator lens for the purpose of generating a narrow light beam and thus reducing the size of a light dot that is formed on the target of a TV camera.
27. A simulator of claim 21, wherein said emitter devices are equipped with laser LEDs with infrared wavelength in order to remove the possibility of light noise on the screen during simultaneous shots by multiple shooters, which impedes shooter's ability to locate the target and focus on it, as well as to open up a possibility of using the full visible spectrum for target generation, without a required adjustment for the color of the laser.
28. A simulator of claim 21, wherein said target image generator is built based on an LCD matrix with its parameters aligned with parameters of projector lens in such a way that one pixel on LCD corresponds to one square millimeter or less on the screen, while the magnitudes of angle fields of vision of the target image generator and the TV camera are equal, in order to achieve projection on the screen of real and virtual target images while preserving the high precision of registering of the shots on target removed at a maximum simulated distance.
29. A simulator of claim 21, wherein said target image manipulation block, provides means of determining precise coordinates of a hit location corresponding to each shooter, and further comprising of a target analyzer computational block that contains three electronic switches, three selectors functionally connected with each other, that select the amplitude component from a video signal, a selector that selects row and frame synch pulses, three computational sub-blocks that compute the hit coordinates and get activated by the signal from a corresponding infrared receiver when it detects a shot from a specific weapon.Also, a command signal is sent to block a video signal input of the corresponding computational sub-block, until a current frame ends and a new frame begins to maintain a proper order of video signal processing in time.
30. A simulator of claim 29, wherein outputs from said computational sub-block contain, in addition to the coordinates of the shot, a two bit id of the shooter for the purpose of identifying the shooter and setting appropriate differentiating graphical and color attributes of a corresponding dot on the computer screen
31. A simulator of claim 21, wherein said target analyzer module contains sequentially connected: electronic switch, whose input is connected to the video output of the TV camera, an amplitude selector that selects and amplitude component from the video signal and computational sub-block for computing adjustments DX and DY, connected to the selector of row and frame synch pulses implementing a mechanism for compensating for the shifts of the center of the TV raster from the measurement axis of the said TV camera in the said target analyzer that occurs due to fluctuations in current and other external factors.
32. A simulator of claim 21, wherein said simulator contains a computer running custom software package that in order to execute the automatic TV camera center adjustment logic, periodically generates a command signal that lasts the length of the two TV frames and that turns on the light-optical light beam generator, as well as an electronic switch in the said target analyzer, which redirects a video signal through the amplitude selector to the input of the sub-block for computing adjustments DX and DY which are added with a corresponding sign to the coordinates of the hit location and are used to shift the center of the TV raster by the values of DX and DY.
33. A simulator of claim 21, wherein said image manipulation block containing a light divider to allow transmission and reflection of the light along the specified directions, installed at the cross point of the optical axes of said light optical target image generator, said TV camera and light-optical light beam generator, and located at 45.degree. with respect to all of those axes and to selectively reflect infrared light and to transmit the light of the visible spectrum and also to achieve maximal reflection and transmission coefficients said light divider is made out of an interferential light filter with dichroic coating.
34. A simulator of claim 21, wherein said emitter devices are built as removable autonomous modules that are attached to the any caliber hand held weapons and contain a battery, a laser and infrared LEDs, a modulating pulse generator, a laser LED and generator of the filler frequency that feeds the infrared LED that get triggered when the removable trigger emulator which is attached to the outer surface of the weapon and is by means of electric cable connected with the emitter device gets pulled.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The training simulator that is described in this patent is meant to be used for training of the sharpshooters using sniper rifles and other light weapons, as well as for sustaining sniper skills at the required level. The training simulator allows trainees to acquire weapon skills for shooting at stationary, moving, close proximity and remote targets as well as to develop the reaction time necessary for re-targeting after a shot. The practice on the simulator closely approximates real conditions. The training simulator is designed for the-individual as well as group practice without usage of ammunition. The shot is simulated by means of a laser pulse along the target line and is accompanied by the sound of a shot in the headphones that the shooter is wearing.
The training simulator comes with a computer and a high precision system for detecting the hits on the target. Software residing on the computer can execute a variety of scenarios of possible target behavior at which the sniper fire is directed and display the results of the practice in symbolic and numeric formats in real time.
The training simulator has the following important technical details: The training simulator allows for the sharpshooter training from a sniper rifle against stationary and mobile targets simulating distances of up to 2000 meters. The training simulator allows up to three shooters to practice simultaneously. The training simulator has the ability to uniquely identify the shots of each individual shooter. The training simulator allows the computation of the coordinates of each hit with a high precision. The precision of identification does not depend on the number of shooters. The training simulator can be used for practice with real hand held weapons free of ammunition, without requiring any modifications to the weapon platform. When the training is complete the original weapon retains all of its technical characteristics and is ready for use with live ammunition. The emitter devices attached to the weapon, function independently and do not have any cables connecting them to the rest of the blocks that are part of the simulator.
The research in the prior art of weapon training systems points to a large body of existing patents in that area. Those training systems are built on the basis of various technical methodologies, which dictate their performance characteristics.
The training system described in the patent Marshall U.S. Pat. No. 4,336,018 uses two projectors to display the image of the target visible to the shooter and overlays it with the image of the same target in infrared light. LEDs designed for targeting of the weapon are installed on the weapon models (they serve no other function), along with the sensor receivers, containing a lens, an optical filter, maximum pass through wavelength of which is equal to the wavelength of the infrared emitter, and a quadrant detector containing four photo diodes. During a "shot", the sensor receiver is turned on and registers all the hit points in the case that they lie within the outline of the target illuminated by the infrared light. A "shot" outside the outline of the target gets registered as a miss. All of the electronic components for sensor signal processing is located inside the model weapon.
The methodology and the technical implementation described in the Marshall's patent cannot be adapted to the modern weapon training systems due to their fundamental inability to identify "shots" from two or more weapons if the "shots" are simulated using the laser pulse.
From the above it follows that a training system built according to Marshall cannot solve the problems addressed by the system offered in this patent.
The patent Thang U.S. Pat. No. 5,816,817 describes a training system which includes: a screen, a wide projector, a segment data acquisition subsystem, containing area array image sensor with a wide angle lens that captures the whole screen, a light filter, which passes through the laser beam of a specific frequency, an electronics block, a controller, four model weapons with the installed unified laser driver module and a trigger sensor, linked with the weapon's trigger. When the trigger is pulled, the laser driver module sends a laser beam of a specific frequency in the direction of the screen. The projector projects various geometrical shapes of different sizes into fixed regions of the screen which serve as targets for the sniper fire of the shooters. Each shooter only shoots at the shape that has previously been assigned to him. The detection of the hit location is performed by a segment data acquisition subsystem containing the area array image sensor. The sensor captures the impact points of the reflected beam. A drawback of this system lies in the fact that the sensor has no way of distinguishing a shot of one shooter from a shot of another shooter. This means that if one of the shooters accidentally hits a shape assigned to another shooter the hit will be attributed to the shooter to whom that target was assigned. Another weakness of this system is the low resolution of detection, which makes it practically unusable for the sharpshooter training. This training system does not allow for practice with the moving targets. Training systems from the patents U.S. Pat. No. 5,816,617 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,336,617 use special model weapons that have various electronic and communication elements installed into them, while usage of the real, ammunition free weapons is not part of their design.
Another firearm training system that deserves attention is the system proposed by Shechter et al, patent U.S. Pat. No. 6,322,365. The training system in that patent is offered in two variations--a handgun, and an automatic rifle version. In both cases the training system includes model firearms with lased transmitter module inserted into their barrels, a laser detecting target, computer and printer (optional). The firearm training system designed for automatic rifle training allows for a simulation of shooting on ranges from 50 to 300 meters. This system has a better precision of hit point detection and a richer set of capabilities for weapon training. However, the system still has a series of serious deficiencies, the main ones being: No capability to practice with moving targets, which prevents the acquisition of the skills required in modern local warfare. Limited distance lowers the value of this system as a platform for training long distance sharpshooters. The training system does not allow for multiple shooters to train simultaneously. The training system does not allow for real, ammunition free weapons to be used in training.
The patent Lvovskiy U.S. Pat. No. 6,942,486 describes a simulator, designed for a sharp shooter training using both moving and stationary targets. The main characteristics of the simulator in this patent are High precision of registering the hit in any point of the screen The ability to train professional sharp shooters against close and remote targets from any firearm, including a sniper rifle.However, at the same time, this training system has the following limitations: Only one person can be trained at a time. The simulator uses model weapons. The target on the screen, is indicated by a glowing light dot, rather than an object size of which scales proportionally to the shooting distance.
The patent application Lvovskiy US 2007/0082333, describes a training simulator that has new technical and operational characteristics that allow for two rather than one shooter to be training simultaneously using a common target. This new simulator quality allows for significant financial advantages, related to the reduced manufacturing and operating costs and a reduction in the total area required for practice by one shooter. The patent application US 2007/0082322/A describes a method of identifying a shot based on separation of the odd and the even TV frames, in such a way that a TV camera sees the light dot from the laser diode located on the weapon of the first shooter during even frames and the light dot form the light diode located on the weapons of the second shooter during the odd frames. The "pinning" of the respective frames occurs synchronously with the pull of the trigger.
Along with the advantages described above, this training system also has the following drawbacks and limitations: The target, which is projected on the screen for the sniper, is represented by a dot rather that an image of an object or a subject. The system is limited to training up to two people simultaneously. The emitter device that is attached to the weapon is connected to the rest of the equipment using a physical wire.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The training simulator described here, is designed for the sniper training using hand held weapons equipped with an optical scope. For the purpose of moving the image of the target on the screen and for the purpose of detecting the coordinates of the hit point during shooting with the laser beam at the image of the target, the simulator contains an image manipulation and measurement block. The block is equipped with a TV camera, connected to a computer and connected optically and by construction to a video projector that acts as a target image generator. The field of vision angles of a video projector and the camera have different values, which are several times smaller then field of vision angle of the screen, measured from the point where the block is placed. The desired angle ratio is between 1/5 and 1/4.
The simulator described in this patent uses a two dimensional virtual or real image of the target, instead of the point target used in the U.S. Pat. No. 6,942,486. The scale of the target image changes proportionally to the distance to it. In the case of group practice, the targets are differentiated using a variety of forms, colors and labels.
In the training simulator presented in this patent, a video projector (target image generator) that is used to render the target image on the screen, is located a distance from the screen, that makes its angle of sight is covered by the central part of the LCD matrix of the projector, with diameter of half of the overall size of matrix, so that 1 pixel of the image will cover about 1 mm on the screen. This should be enough for the reproduction of the outline of the target with the height of around two meters and located up to 2000 meters from the shooter's location. These requirements can be met by the mass produced video-projectors, for example Optoma EP728 Projector with resolution of 1200×1024 pixels.
In the training simulator presented in this patent, unlike in the simulator described in the U.S. Pat. No. 6,942,486, a more economical system of mirrors is used. Instead of three mirrors, this training simulator uses a system of two mirrors, which revolve around two self perpendicular axes by the digital electro motors (for example digital high speed cordless servo motors HS-5925MG by Hitec). These servos have very small luft and allow shifting of the image form one side of the screen to another in 1-2 secs.
In the training simulator presented in this patent an additional optical channel has been introduced for the purpose of manual or automated alignment of the optical axis of the image generator and the measurement axis that goes through the center of the TV scan of the TV camera. This optical channel is implemented as an optical generator of the beam of light, whose axis is precisely coupled to the measurement axis and optical axis of the generator of the target image. For the purpose of the generation of a narrow light beam the optical generator is equipped with a collimator lens.
The emitter device is constructed as an autonomous mono-block to allow the usage of real weapons without any effect on their original construction, so that no modifications are required and to avoid external wiring in connecting the emitter device with the rest of the components of the training system. This mono-block contains a laser and infrared LEDs, a frequency generator, an impulse generator, a rechargeable battery, a button for selecting the mode of operation of the laser diode and terminals for connecting the charger and the cable, that connects the emitter device with the trigger emulator. The emitter device also contains two independent mechanisms for the purpose of installation and attachment of the emitter devices on the barrel of the various caliber weapons and for tuning the alignment of the optical axis of the laser LED with respect to the optical axis of the scope of the weapon.
The training simulator presented in this patent uses an infrared laser diode with the wavelength ≧780 nm (for example laser diodes LD-780-5A or LD-808-5A of Lasermate Group, Inc.) in order to avoid a light interference that can arise during simultaneous practice of two or three snipers. The current results are displayed to the shooter on a dedicated monitor located in a close proximity to his field of vision. The usage of an infrared laser diode instead of widely used laser diodes of red color allows us to use a full spectrum of colors (including the red color) to render the target and other graphical elements.
A light beam splitter made out of an interference filter is introduced into the optical system of the image control and measurement block is located at 45° angle to the optical axis of the TV camera of the target image generator block and optical light beam generator to allow for selective reflection of the laser light with the wavelength 780-808 nm with the transmittance >70%, and letting through the visible spectrum--400-700 nm with the transmittance >70%.
A target analyzer computational sub-block for computing of coordinates of the point of the impact has been introduced into the image manipulation and measurement block with the purpose of identification of hit coordinates of each individual shooter and identification of their source. A target analyzer contains: three electronic commutators, three selectors, which select the amplitude-component from the video signal, selector that selects a line and frame sync pulses and three computational sub-blocks for computing the hit coordinates. The activation of each of the three computational blocks that have their inputs connected to the video signal and sync pulses is triggered by the signal from the infrared receiver. The output of the computational sub-block is a triplet of data (X,Y,Z) where X and Y are coordinates of the hit and Z is the id of the shooter who performed that shot. This information is sent to the computer and is displayed at a specific place on the screen as a symbol with a distinct shape and color. The outline of the interaction of the components and the logic of operation of the analyzer computational block guarantee identification of the shot directed at any point on the screen and made from any one of the three weapons.
To perform automatic alignment of the measurement axis of the TV camera with the optical axis of the video projector, the software running on the computer sends a signal to turn on a light optical light beam generator of for the duration of two TV frames during the period between the shots. If a misalignment between the defined above axes is detected, the software computes the deviations along the two dimensions in the rectangular coordinate system, and sends them as an input with the corresponding sign into the coordinate registers or are used for adjusting the center of the TV camera by the computed values. The magnitude of deviations DX and DT are computed by the target analyzer and computational sub-block, which has a dedicated channel for that purpose.
To enable identification of shots of every sniper, each emitter device installed on the weapon and marked with number 1,2,3 is equipped with the infrared LED with a unique wavelength corresponding to frequencies f1, f2 and f3. To enable receiving short pulses that are sent by the infrared LEDs that are turned on with the pull of the trigger, the training systems contains infrared receivers which are tuned to corresponding frequencies f1, f2 and f2 and are attached to the analyzer block. All of the infrared laser LEDs that turn on synchronously with the infrared LEDs have the same wavelengths.
Apart from periodical automatic alignment of the measurement axis with the optical axis of the video projector, to achieve high degree of precision in detection of the hits on the target in the whole area of view of the target image generator, the software allows for correction for the optical distortions of the lenses that are installed in the TV camera and in the target image generator
To allow the sniper to develop the skills of adjusting for ballistic deviations when shooting at very remote targets, the software that is used to compute the vertical displacement of the target receives as an input parameter the same value of the distance to the target as the value used for the angle adjustment on the scope.
Trigger emulators that are attached on the outside of each weapon and contain a trigger's "double" that acts as a real trigger and a micro-switch, that gets turned on when trigger's "double" is pulled are included into the training simulator to switch on laser and infrared LEDs and thus allow for training with ammunition-free weapons. A wired connection between the trigger emulator and emitter device, turns on laser and infrared LEDs when the trigger-is pulled. The inclusion of the trigger emulator allows usage of practically all of the existing hand held weapons for training, including semi-automatic weapons covering the majority of the modern sniper rifles and pistols.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
A more complete appreciation of the subject matter of the present invention and the various advantages thereof can realized by reference to the following detailed description in which reference is made to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1--is functional diagram of the simulator of the present invention;
FIG. 2--the layout of the locations of virtual targets on the screen in the field of vision of the target image generator
FIG. 3A, FIG. 3B--Assembly diagram of the emitter device
FIG. 4--Structure diagram of the emitter device
FIG. 5--Functional diagram of the target analyzer
FIG. 6A, FIG. 6B, FIG. 6C--Drawing of the trigger emulator and the illustration of a method of its installation on a real weapon system
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
The structural diagram of the training simulator, that allows training of up to three snipers simultaneously using sniper rifles or other types of hand held weapons is shown on FIG. 1. The simulator consists of the screen 1, image generator and measurement block 2, target image-generator (video projector) 3, a computer 14, sniper rifles 15, 16 and 17, with installed on them unified trigger emulators 18, optical scopes 19, emitter device 20, 21, 22 containing the laser and infrared LEDs, infrared receivers 23, 24, 25. On the FIG. 2 three targets 28, 29, 30 whose image is projected on to the screen are shown. Each target is located within specified bounds, taking 1/3 of the TV raster 27.
The screen 1 has a diffusing reflecting surface with the reflection coefficient greater than 0.8. The size of the screen is not bounded, however for the purpose of training of three shooters simultaneously the desired screen size is 2.4 m×1.8 m. To create the effect of the remoteness of the target it is recommended to place the snipers at some distance from the screen. An optimal distance is considered to be around 18 m. At this distance, the adjustment devices located on the rifle scope allow to focus the images of the objects that are projected onto the screen.
In this simulator a standard video projector as used as a target image generator. To decrease the field of vision angle of the projector to the size equal to the field of vision angle of the TV camera, that is about 1/5-1/4 of the angle size of the screen, and effective use of the resolution of the projector, the projector is optically and by construction coupled with the image manipulation and measurement block, and has to be located at the distance 2.5-3 m from the screen. This allows use of only the central part of the field of vision of the projector, the part with the minimal optical distortion. When using a projector with the resolution 1286×1024, the circle of diameter 512 pixels will form an image oh the screen of 550 mm, according to the angle and linear ratios described above. This reduces to 1 mm being represented by one pixel on the screen. This resolution is sufficient for rendering small targets on the screen, for example a 2 m size target at a simulated distance of 2000 m.
The image manipulation and measurement block 2 is meant for moving the target on the screen, computing the coordinates of the hit location of the sniper shot and computing the magnitude of the shift of the center of the TV raster from the measurement axis of the TV camera. This block includes: TV camera 4, light-optical light beam generator 5, that is equipped with the collimator lens 6, optical system that supports the movement of the target images on the screen, which consists of digital servo motor 7, which rotates reflective mirror-9 around Y axis, digital servo motor 8, which rotates the reflective mirror 10 around X axis, a module 13 that controls servo motors, light divider 11, which is made of an interferential filter, target analyzer computational block 26, router 12. The first input of the router 12 are connected to the first and second outputs of the USB port of the computer 14; the outputs of router 12 are connected to the corresponding inputs of the block components 4, 5, 13. The second input of the router 12 is connected with the target analyzer computational block 26, whose first input is connected with the TV camera 4, and a second output E1--with the infrared receivers 23, 24, 25.
TV camera 4 is a transmitting camera that uses black and white photosensitive matrix, for example CCD (charge-coupled device), with the resolution of at least 600 pixels
The light optical light beam emitter 5, by means of the narrow beam of light creates the base direction, onto which a measurement axis passing through the center of the raster of the TV camera has to be permanently coupled to ensure a high precision of computation of the coordinates. The glowing dot, formed by the narrow light beam on the sensor matrix of the camera, creates a base point, to which the location of center of the TV raster is compared. A blue LED serves as a source of light in the image generator. To form a narrow light beam, the light-optical image generator is equipped with the collimator lens. It is important to note that to achieve the desired precision the TV camera 4, the image generator 3, the light beam generator 5 and the beam splitter 11 are installed on a common hard base and are equipped with the tuning elements, that allows to align their optical axis with the desired precision.
The optical system that performs the movements of the target images on the screen is made up of two mirrors 9 and 10, revolving around perpendicular axes X and Y by means of digital servomotors 7 and 8. The speed and the direction of the target movements on the screen are determined by the selected training mode and the corresponding software program on the computer. Selection of servomotors with specific characteristics allows to rapid shifting of the target image from one end of the screen to another in no more than two seconds. The pulse generation controlling the servomotors is performed by the module 13, which has its input connected to a router 12 to receive the angle velocity values for servomotors for each time slice.
The conflicting requirements for reflection and transmission of light of various wavelengths dictate the construction of the light beam splitter 11 as an interference light filter. As pointed out earlier, the emitter device uses an infrared laser LED with the wavelength 780/808 nm; in this case, upon turning on the laser LED, an invisible infrared dot is formed on the screen, but usable as a focus point for the TV camera. The light beam splitter allow for a maximum transmittance coefficient (>70%) in the visible light spectrum range and maximum reflection coefficient (>70%) in the 780/808 nm range.
The router 12 is a digital electronic device serving as a router of digital data streams. It encapsulates the hardware that is necessary to send commands of different duration generated by computer software to various components of the simulator. It is connected to the computer by a USB port, used for the two-way communications between the software and the router. Its outputs are connected to the components 4, 5, 13, 23, 24, 25 that are controlled by the commands that are transmitted through the router.
Analyzer computational block 26, with structural diagram shown on FIG. 5 includes in itself computational sub-blocks 54, 55, 56 that compute hit coordinates Xi and Yi, where subscript i corresponds to shooter's index and computational sub-block 57 for computing corrections DX and DY that compensate for the shift of the measurement axis of the TV camera and also the amplitude selectors 49, 50, 52, 53 that select the amplitude component from the video signal VS that comes from the TV camera, a selector of sync pulses 51 that is common to all the computational sub-blocks, selecting line and frame sync pulses form the video signal that determine the points of beginning of the row BL, beginning of the frame BF, an electronic switch with two positions 45 and multi-functional commutators 46, 47, 48.
The computational sub-blocks 54, 55, 56, 57 can be assembled based on two matrix RAMs-RAM1 and RAM2. The video signal is written into one of the RAMs during the half frame of the TV scan by means of sending sync pulses of the line and frame scans that get generated when a reflected laser beam is recorded by a TV camera. During the other half frame the information is being read simulatnously erased from the other matrix while the same sync pulses are sent to it. This process gets repeated with each new frame. Before and after the RAMs the appropriate registers and pre-processors are installed. The output of each of the computational sub-block forms a multi-byte word that includes the hit point coordinates X, Y and indetificator I that together characterize the shot. The start of each computational block happens upon the signal S that arrives from the corresponding infrared receiver that receives the infrared light from the infrared LED paired with it by the wavelength and which is switched on simultaneously with the laser LED of the emitter device installed on the weapon.
The electronic commutators 46, 47, 48, each having three command and one signal inputs, transmitting the video signal VS to the input of the corresponding aptitude seector, perform a complicated commutative function, allow the necessary sequence of event of processing of the video signals that take place during shots from the three sniper rifles. To describe the specifics of the functioning of the electronic commutators, we will cover the most complicated case when: all three shots occured sequentially within one frame, the first shot being fired from rifle 15, followed by rifle 15, followed by rifle 17; first shot from the rifle occured when the scan left the area of the impact of the laser beam on the target of the TV camera, while the two other shots were captured by the TV camera.
Upon receiving the signal from the infrared receiver 23 on the inputs of the electronic commutator 46 and computational sub-block 54, that occurs during the shot from the weapon 15, the computational sub-block 54, in case the video signal VS is not present outputs a command signal B1 for the electronic commutator 46, which breaks the connection between VS channel and the amplitude selector 49.
At the same time electronic commutators 47 and 48 are ready to receive video signal VS. When video signal arrives to computational sub-block 55, it computes coordinates X2 and Y2 of the second impact point, and also forms a two bit number that characterizes the identifier I2. After this operation is completed, the computational sub-block 55 sends a command signal B2 to the electronic commutator 47, which blocks its output VS. The processing of the video signal in the third channel happens in the similar manner. As a result, during the first frame the coordinates of the second and third impact points get computed. Upon completion of the line scan all channels are blocked and are ready to for processing according to the cycle described above. The processing of the signal VS related to the first shot (earliest in time) happens at the beginning of the second frame. In this manner the processing of all three impact points takes no more then two frames. The length of the pulses sent by laser and infrared LEDs has to be equal to 1.5-2.0 lengths of a single frame. A two-way connection between electronic commuators is estabilished by means of channels K1 and K2 in order to implement the described interaction logic between them.
The computational sub-block 57, amplitude selector 53 form a channel for computing corrections DX and DY for adjustment of the center of the TV scan. In accordance with the program, during a brief interval of time equal to two frames, computer 14 generates a signal SC, which is simultaneously sent to electronic switch 45 and light optical beam generator 5 (see FIG. 1), with its optical axis aligned with high precision to the optical axis of the TV camera. Upon receiving the control signal, the electronic switch 45 gets activated and sends the video signal VS to the input of the selector 50. At the same time, light optical beam generator gets turned on and a narrow light beam gets sent on the target of the camera 4. The light dot that is formed on the target is captured by the TV camera. The computational sub-block 57, computes deviations DX and DY between the center of the TV scan that lies in the measurement axis of the TV camera and the light dot. The coded values of DX and DY recieved from the computational sub-block 57 are sent to the computer 14, where they are entered as corrections with the appropriate sign into the final computed coordinates of the point of the impact. This auto-correction method gets repeated periodically during the training, thus maintaining high precision of detection and measurement of the impact point. The same problem can also be solved automatically by shifting the TV scan proportionally to the values DX and DY.
The described design of the analyzer block, is built on a parallel processing of the video signal and allows for accounting for all the shots, including the situation when they happen to hit virtual areas in which the targets of the other shooters are located. This phenomena has a chance of occuring, especially during the first phase of the training that uses moving targets. The absense of coordinates on the outputs of the computational sub-blocks will indicate that the impact point is located outside the area 27 (see FIG. 2). At the same time the shot will be registered.
Just like all the other lenses, the lenses of the TV camera and of the target image generator have an optical distortion, which impacts the precision of the computation of the coordinates of the points of impact thus distorting the results of the training. A compensation for the optical distortion is possible using special multi-lens setups which will result in an increase in the cost of the training system. This training system proposes an alternative way of dealing with the lens distortion, that uses a program containing a lookup table of the correction factors that characterize the distortion. The correction factors are used to compensate for the distortion and to compute the true values of the coordinates of the points of impact.
To allow for initial allignement of the optical axis of the video projector and the center of the TV camera, a video projector and the image manipulaiton block are installed on a single platform, which is part of the training simulator and which has devices that utilize control elements to move them with respect to each other in horizontal and vertical planes. The platform is also designed to allow for the adjustment of the angle position in the vertical plane of the projector and the image manipualtion block that are tightly coupled together.
The training simulator is designed to use real unloaded weapon systems as well as the decommisioned ones. Sniper rifles 15, 16, 17 shown on the FIG. 1 are equipped with optical scopes 19 and trigger emulators 18. The emitter devices 20, 21, 22 are installed in the barrels of the rifles and each contain laser and infrared LEDs. While the laser LEDs in all the listed devices are the same, the infrared LEDs differ among themsleves by wavelength. Each of the infrared recievers that are located at some distance from the point of shooting only recieves the light of the wavelenghts of the infrared LED that has been paired up to work with it (20 with 23, 21 with 24, and 22 with 25).
The emitter device is shown on the FIG. 3A and FIG. 3B, and its structural diagram on FIG. 4. The device is constructed as an autonomous block with its own energy source and is designed to be installed on the real weapon systems free of ammunition. The device contains infrared laser LED 31 and infrared LED 32, recharchable battery 33, modulating pulse generator 35, that drives the infrared LED. The generators are located in module 36. The device also contains: a button for selecting the mode of operation of laser LED 37, two plugs--one for connecting the emmitter device to the trigger emulator 18, by means of a thin cable, the other for connecting the external charging device for periodic charging of the battery. The device construction allows its attachement and installation on the barrels of caliber 5.4 mm to 10 mm rifle. The attachment of the emitter device in the barrel of the rifle 38 is achieved by directing groove 39 and control lever 40. Pulling of the lever 40 and the side edges of the directing groove 41 to the cylindrical surface of the barrel's muzzle 38 is achieved by means of a screw 42 using a principle of wedge clamping which allows to locate the screw horizontally, outside the visible field during targeting.
The voltage on the battery is applied to the electronic layout of the emitter devices only during the pull of the trigger emulator 18, which saves the energy of the battery and rules out discharging due to negligence of the trainee. While the circuit is connected a pulse is generated that switches on the laser LED. The same impulse gets filled with the frequency modulation and gets transmitted to the infrared LED as a high frequency packet of pulses. The length of a single pulse formed by the pulse generator is equal to 1.5-2.0 length of the TV frame. Since, according to the description, the function of identification of the shot is performed by three pairs, each consisting of infrared LED (emitter) and infrared receiver (infrared photo diode, the frequencies of the pulses: f1, f2, f3 that fill the packet are different for each emitter/receiver pair. Corresponding frequency index F1, F2, F3 gets assigned to each emitter device containing an infrared LED.
The button for selecting the mode of operation of LED 27 performs an assisting function is designed for turning on the laser LED into mode of uninterrupted beam during calibration of the optical axis of the laser LED with respect to the optical axis of the scope.
An alternative realization of the same idea could use three identical infra-red LEDs with the same wavelength in all three rifles in place of LEDs 20, 21, 22, and configure the frequency pulse generator 35 residing in the emitting devices attached to each rifle, to modulate unique impulse frequency for each of those LEDs. In this implementation we would use the same wavelength recievers 23, 24, 25, but would require three electronic filter components connected to the outputs of each of the infrared recievers. Each such filter would be tuned to pass through only the pulse frequency produced by the corresponding generator of the specific rifle, and therefore achieve the same objective as the first solution with the infrared LEDs of three different wavelengths and three different infrared recievers, in terms of identification of the shot from an individual rifle. This latter implementation has the advantage of utilizing smaller number of unique components.
The emitter device is designed to contain an mechanism for adjusting the horizontal location of the optical axis of the laser LED. Located in the upper part of the emitter device, this mechanism allows to adjust the position of the axis of laser LED with respect to vertical and horizontal axes. To this purpose the mechanism is constructed with two independent swinging brackets, which rotate around two mutually perpendicular axis. The outer bracket rotates with respect the body of the emitter device, and the inner bracket, which has both the infrared and laser LEDs 31 and 32 attached to it, rotates with respect to the outer brackets. The angle position of each bracket is controlled by using the knobs 43 and 44, that are equipped With micrometric screws that allow for fine tuning. The mechanism also has a spring for pressing of the elements of the constructions to each other allowing for smooth and luftless adjustments.
The mechanism described above is the most important element in the chain the of devices and methodologies, that provide the necessary precision of processing of the training shots. It allows for the removal of systematic and instrumental errors during targeting. The errors in the vertical plane happen because the line of targeting of the weapon does not align with the optical axis of the laser LED. In a typical sniper rile the distance between the line of targeting, that goes through the center of the eye and center of the optical scope and the axis of the barrel of the weapon is equal to 100 mm or more. The alignment of the light dot formed by the laser beam on the screen with the targeting line is achieved by tuning the weapon, which is fixed on the stationary base, for example on a tripod. The stationary base should be placed at a distance from the screen that is equal to the distance from which the shooting practice is going to be performed. For the sniper rifle this distance is about 18 m (60 feet); for all other types of hand held weapons, not equipped with the optical scope, this distance should be around 5.5 m-6 m.
Since the infrared LED when turned on forms an invisible dot on the screen, for the purpose of calibration a special attachment with a visible laser LED is installed on to the scope of the sniper rifle. The axis of the laser beam from LED is aligned with the optical axis of the scope. The calibration process is controlled using a computer monitor. Before starting the adjustment the infrared LED of the emitter device is switched to the uninterrupted beam mode. At this point a computer monitor will show two glowing dots. The calibration process proceeds by turning knobs 43 and 44 until the two dots fall on top of each other. Just as in the previous case, the calibrated emitter device is ready for installation on the corresponding weapon types.
The use of the of the real rather then model weapons in the training system is possible if certain specifics of the handheld semi-automatic weapons (including a number of sniper rifles) is taken into account. If these weapon types are relived from the ammunition and then cocked and the trigger is pulled, right after the shot the trigger is blocked in that position and becomes immobile. In the training simulator described here, this specifics are overcome by introduction of an additional device--trigger emulator 58, FIG. 6A, which performs the functions of the real trigger 61. The trigger emulator is equipped with the construction elements that allow for its attachment to the outer side of the real weapon 58, FIG. 6B, without breaking its integrity. The trigger emulator 58 is equipped with the bracket 60, FIG. 6B, FIG. 6C, which is attached using screws 62 to the outer body of the weapon 59 in the space between the tread of the trigger 63 and the trigger 61, onto which the sensor 64 and the trigger emulator of complex shape, mirroring that of a real trigger and rotating on the two semi-axes are attached. The upper end of the trigger emulator in its free state is pulled by the spring 66 to the calibration screw 67, while the bottom part of the trigger emulator touches the real trigger of the weapon 61. When the trigger emulator 65 is pulled, its upper end acts on the sensor 64 and turns on the laser and infrared LEDs. The trigger emulator 58 is connected to the emitter device by a flexible cable 68.
The implementation of the described method of the identification of the shots of each shooter and the usage in the emitter devices of an infrared laser LED whose beam lies outside the visible spectrum, allow for a simultaneous practice of three shooters that can use three different targets as well as one common target. The shots performed on the common target by the three shooters, use the invisible light pulses and do not impact the precision of measurement or quality of the training. The selection of the number of targets for the training can be done either by the instructor or by the shooters themselves.
To create an illusion of an exclusive usage of the training simulator for each of the shooters, a configuration with additional components is proposed. A video card that supports at least three monitors (for example PNY NVidia Quadro 400 NVS) with a driver that supports three personalized windows (one for each of the shooters) and three monitors.
The software package running on the computer identifies the shooter by the type of the infrared LED or by the type of the modulation of the infrared signal that was activated during the time of the shot (similarly to the logic used to identify the "hit" on the correct target). This software can be configured in such a way, that each window shows only the target and the shots of the shooter that is mapped to it. By connecting all of the three monitors to the video card installed on the computer and coordinating the operation of the simulator's components, each one of the windows is assigned to the corresponding monitor using the configuration software that comes with the video cards of this type. The monitors are connected to the video card using cables that are long enough to allow for the placement of an individual monitor in front of each of the shooters. An additional video projector can be connected to the computer, and will make it possible to project real or virtual background image onto the full screen making the training environment more realistic.
The training of the shooters on the simulator allows for the execution of a series of sequential operations. Before the start of the practice the following information is entered into the computer software: Names of each shooter The practice mode that is selected among the following supported modes: Firing at stationary targets Firing at moving targets Firing at disappearing/reappearing targets Distance to the target, which results in automatic adjustment of the target upward with respect to the baseline. The magnitude of the adjustment is proportional to the value of ballistic correction for the distance specified. The ballistic correction on the sniper rifle is specified by changing the tilt angle of the optical scope.Apart from the data listed above, the following inputs can also be specified: the number of planned shots, the velocity of the moving target, etc. After the "Start" command is issued the shooters commence the training. The results of the training are displayed on the monitors within their field of vision in graphical and numeric formats. All the results are saved. In the case when the results exceed the threshold of the current level, the behavior of the target becomes more complex. In this case the simulator can model the environment, in which the trainee will acquire the skills of shooting against targets with extreme behavior.
The described simulator, designed for training for one of the most sophisticated military professions, has a number of fundamental advantages compared to the existing training systems. The training simulator allows to: Train up to three shooters simultaneously. The novel technical solutions that are part of this design allow to further increase the number of simultaneous trainees. The usage of infrared laser LEDs, whose beams are invisible to human eye allow training with a single common target as well as with three separate targets. High precision of detection of the hit point on the screen Simulation of shooting at distances up to 2000 meters. This most important superior tactical characteristic of the system allows training with the most advanced existing sniper rifles and prospective rifles that are designed for shooting at that distance and will serve as future equipment for US Marines in the next 2-3 years.
Patent applications by Ilya Lipkind, Mountain View, CA US
Patent applications by Matvey Lvovskiy, Brooklyn, NY US
Patent applications in class Beam sensor included in apparatus
Patent applications in all subclasses Beam sensor included in apparatus