US 20070287132 A1
A system, apparatus and method may simulate the operation of a demobilization instrument such as a taser, using, for example, a taser launching device with a cartridge to enable generation and firing of a plurality of simulated projectile probes. A plurality of laser events may be emitted at a simulated target. The events may be validated as valid laser pulses, the simulated projectile probe strike locations and identities may be determined, and an automated reaction may be generated. A laser system may be contained in a cartridge separable from a taser launching device or other holder.
1. A system to simulate operation of a demobilization instrument, the system comprising:
a training cartridge, the training cartridge comprising a plurality of laser units.
2. The system of
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a trigger mechanism to trigger firing of said plurality of laser units; and
a receiving unit to accept and hold said cartridge.
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17. A method to simulate demobilization instrument operation, the method comprising causing a plurality of laser units associated with a demobilization instrument simulation device to project laser events towards a target.
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33. A method comprising:
projecting data on a target;
detecting the striking of said target by a plurality of laser pulses, said laser pulses being generated by an immobilization apparatus simulation device; and
determining whether said plurality of pulses strike a selected region of said target.
34. The method of
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38. An apparatus comprising:
an imaging unit to project an image on a target;
a data recognition unit to detect a plurality of laser pulse strikes on said target, said laser pulse strikes being generated by a simulated immobilization weapon; and
a controller to receive information from said data recognition unit of laser pulse strikes on said target and to determine if a plurality of laser pulses strike said target.
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The present invention relates to methods and devices useful in simulation training. Specifically, embodiments of the present invention relate to systems, methods, and apparatuses to enable simulating usage of immobilization weapons.
TASER® is the trademark for currently manufactured ballistic weapons which output electrical power pulses to immobilize humans and animals and which have a lower lethality than conventional fireamms. A taser, for example, may employ a pair of projectile probes or darts having tips designed to penetrate clothing or animal flesh, such as human flesh. In operation, a taser launching device may propel the tips at a fleeing or aggressive target, for example, with the hope that the tips embed in the flesh or clothing of the target. If the tips do embed in the flesh of the target, wires, which may be connected between the tips and the taser launching device itself, may be used to deliver a high-energy electrical shock through the tips to the target, thereby completing an electrical circuit between the tips of the probes, and delivering an electrical shock to the target.
Once the taser has been fired, it generally may not be easily reloaded and fired a second time, due to the wires connecting the taser and tips, and other physical limitations of heretofore known tasers. Such wires may further limit the range and velocity of the tips and thereby limit the utility of the taser to the length of the wires and the speed with which the wires can be deployed. Various types of taser cartridges have been designed to reload a taser after firing, thereby providing additional rounds for firing. A cartridge, however, may take time to load into the taser, and may be expensive to produce and acquire. For example, when training with tasers, multiple usages or shots of taser weapons may be required, possibly entailing prohibitive costs and much time for reloading.
It would be highly advantageous to have a taser training system providing relatively cost effective and user-friendly operational ability. It would be highly advantageous to have a taser cartridge that may be used for training on taser weapons.
There is provided, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, an apparatus, system, and method for simulating operation of a demobilization instrument. According to some embodiments of the present invention, a launching device may be provided with a cartridge, which may be adapted to simulate firing a plurality of projectile probes from the launching device. The probes may be simulated using, for example, two or more lasers or other suitable electromagnetic radiation sources. The laser pulses may be detected by suitable detection equipment. The cartridge or other holding unit may include a computing device or a controller such as an integrated circuit and may be adapted to enable simultaneous or non-simultaneous firing from a plurality of laser units, for example, using time based laser operation and/or coded pulse laser operation. The launching device may include a power supply, which may provide power to the cartridge. A taser simulation system may include a target, which may be a projection screen. The taser simulation system may include a computing device, which may include a projection unit to project target images or video data, and a recognition module to detect the striking of a plurality of laser pulses on a target.
According to some embodiments of the present invention, a method is provided to simulate weapon firing, including emitting a plurality of laser events towards a target, the laser events being generated by a plurality of laser units located within a taser cartridge. The method may include detecting and capturing the laser events. The method may further include determining if signals from detected laser events are valid laser pulses, and if they are, detecting the strike locations of the laser pulses and/or determining the identity of the laser pulses. The method may further include implementing an automated reaction to a selected scenario.
Moreover, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the method may be implemented using simultaneous or non-simultaneous firing of a plurality of laser units, for example, using time based laser operation and/or coded pulse laser operation.
According to some embodiments of the present invention a method may be provided to enable interactive taser simulation or other immobilization device training, for example, by projecting an image or other data such as multimedia data, including a selected target region on a target, detecting the striking of the target by a plurality of laser pulses, the laser pulses being generated by a cartridge associated with an immobilization apparatus, and determining whether the plurality of pulses strike the selected target region. If a plurality of pulses strike a selected target region, the laser firing may be defined as a hit. In one embodiment, an automated response associated with the pulses striking the target may be generated.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, a taser simulation apparatus may include an imaging unit, a data recognition unit, and a controller to receive indications from the data recognition unit of laser pulse receptions and to determine if a plurality of laser pulse receptions occur within a target area projected by the imaging unit. The controller may display interactive data on a target, and may generate an automated response associated with laser pulse receptions.
The principles and operation of the system, apparatus, and method according to the present invention may be better understood with reference to the drawings, and the following description, it being understood that these drawings are given for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to be limiting, wherein:
It will be appreciated that for simplicity and clarity of illustration, elements shown in the drawings have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements may be exaggerated relative to other elements for clarity. Further, where considered appropriate, reference numerals may be repeated among the drawings to indicate corresponding or analogous elements throughout the serial views.
The following description is presented to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention as provided in the context of a particular application and its requirements. Various modifications to the described embodiments will be apparent to those with skill in the art, and the general principles defined herein may be applied to other embodiments. Therefore, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the particular embodiments shown and described, but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and novel features herein disclosed. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures, and components have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the present invention.
The word “taser” as used herein may encompass various types of non-lethal weapons, including stun weapons, Electro-Muscular Disruption (EMD) weapons and any other suitable non-lethal electronic immobilization devices, instruments and weapons. Embodiments of the present invention need not be restricted to taser weapon simulation, but may include other types of immobilization weapons.
Embodiments of the present invention may enable interactive simulation training using immobilization instruments, for example, a taser device may be equipped with laser based non-tethered training cartridge that may enable simulation of taser probes using, for example, a plurality of laser units or other suitable electromagnetic radiation sources. Such embodiments may help in providing, for example, re-usable, cost efficient, and fast loading immobilization training devices; however systems and methods in accordance with embodiments of the invention may provide different or other benefits.
Reference is now made to
System 100 may include a taser cartridge, which may be, for example, a laser-based training cartridge 115. Training cartridge 115 may include two or more laser units 120 and 125, and a controller such as an integrated circuit 135. Laser units 120 and 125 may include, for example, laser diodes housed in a collimator. For example, a 785 nM laser with a maximum 5 mW output may be used. In alternate embodiments, other suitable laser types may be used. In some embodiments infrared lasers may be used, or other suitable electromagnetic energy producing devices. Laser units 120 and 125 may be provided, for example, to simulate two or more conventional projectiles, for example two laser pulses or beams 126, 127 may be provided to simulate the flight paths of two or more probes (e.g., darts) released by an immobilization weapon. Laser units 120 and 125 may enable transmission of data to a target. For example, data transmitted may include the identity of the laser devices being used, or other suitable data that may encoded or otherwise integrated into the pulse of the laser being fired. Laser units 120 and 125 may be located within cartridge 115 such that the angle of the laser beams 126, 127 and/or data emitted by laser units 120 and 125 simulates the probes emitted by a conventional taser gun; e.g., they may spread at an 8-degree angle within the same plane. Other suitable angles and simulated flight paths may be used. Other suitable numbers of lasers, other than two, may be used. Training cartridge 115 may include training cartridge physical connections 117 and/or electrical connections 118, which may electrically and/or physically connect to receiving unit 112. Receiving unit 112 may include suitable mechanical locking or holding mechanisms 113 and/or electrical connection mechanisms 114. Connections 117 may be, for example, springs or other suitable connecting mechanisms.
A controlling or computing device such as an integrated circuit 135 may activate pre-selected functions in cartridge 115 when power or a certain signal is applied to it. Integrated circuit 135 may, for example, enable simultaneous operation of two or more lasers in a time based (pulse length) laser operation and/or in a coded pulse laser operation. Integrated circuit 135 may, for example, enable non-simultaneous or relative delayed operation of each laser in a time based (pulse length) laser operation and/or in a coded pulse laser operation. An example of a time-based firing operation may include firing a plurality of laser pulses, each for a pre-defined time interval, e.g., 50 ms. An example of a coded pulse firing operation may include a firing pattern that, for example, turns each fired pulse off and on a plurality of times to achieve a required effect, e.g., to make the pulse viewable when it strikes a target. For example, circuit 135 may enable emission of a modulated (e.g., 50% duty cycle) non-coded pulse, for example, for 16 ms, and, for example, approximately 100 ms later, circuit 135 may activate a second laser emission in a similar fashion. Other pulses and combinations of pulses may be emitted. Circuit 135 may include, for example, a processing module, for example, a CPU or any other suitable data processing mechanism, and a memory unit, to store system data, user data, executable instructions, and other suitable data. For example, circuit 135 may include executable code to enable laser units 120 and 125 in cartridge 115 to fire laser pulses 126, 127 simultaneously or non-simultaneously. Additionally, circuit 135 may enable time based (pulse length) and/or pulse coded laser operation for both simultaneous and non-simultaneous laser firing.
Training cartridge 115 may be powered by, for example, a standard DC power supply (e.g., a battery and/or battery array). Other suitable power supplies may be used. Training cartridge 115 may enable “non-tethered” operation, wherein no external cabling or other external wiring may be required to power or operate circuit 18 or lasers 150. Circuit 135 may not require power to maintain circuit programming and therefore circuit 135 may be considered non-volatile. Circuit 135 may be located in cartridge 115, external to cartridge 115, for example, in launching device 110, or other suitable locations. While in one embodiment a number of lasers may be placed in a cartridge which may be separate from and removable from a launching device, in another embodiment a launching device may include a number of lasers without including a removable cartridge.
Cartridge 115 may be designed to fit onto or into, or to connect with, a conventional immobilization weapon and/or a modified immobilization weapon in a substantially similar manner as a conventional immobilization cartridge fits onto a conventional immobilization weapon. Training cartridge 115 may be substantially similar in dimensions to a conventional immobilization cartridge. Of course, other structures and dimensions may be used.
Reference is now made to
System 100 may create or include a target 145, which may include, for example, a target region 147 (e.g., an oval or other area of a target). For example, region 147 may an image of a person, or may be an area within an image of a person where a hit and electrical connection may be made using a genuine taser system. Target 145 may for example be a projection screen or other suitable monitor or display apparatus that may display a still or moving image and optionally other data such as multimedia data. Target 145 may enable marking and/or reflecting of laser events, for example, laser pulses 126, 127, hitting the target. Target 145 data, for example, graphic or video data, may be stored in a database 158 in computing device 150. Targets and target regions may be referred to herein as simulated targets, since the images or data they contain may not necessarily be physical objects. For example, simulated targets may be selected from a predetermined set of still or moving images, for example, a person's body, a vehicle, an animal, a weapon, a structure, or any other suitable target. An image may be projected or otherwise displayed by an imaging unit 156, which may include, for example, an image or video projector. In one embodiment the simulated target may be displayed in an aiming screen, for example, in a screen provided by a laser sight mechanism. Systems for projecting targets on a screen (e.g., a video screen, etc.) and for accepting user data (e.g., firearms firing data) from, for example, simulated weapons, such as simulated firearms (e.g., handguns, rifles, etc.) in an entertainment system, are known.
System 100 may include a laser recognition unit 160, to enable detection of two or more laser events from laser units 120 and 125, and/or detection of strikes of two or more laser pulses 126, 127 on target 145. Laser recognition unit 160 may include, for example, an electromagnetic radiation recognition unit. For example, laser recognition unit 160 may include one or more optical recognition devices or imagers 162 (e.g., a CMOS imager, Charge Coupled Device (CCD), a video or other camera, an array of light detector systems), an infrared detector, or any other suitable electromagnetic radiation detection mechanisms. Laser recognition unit 160 may, for example, digitize or otherwise process signals captured by an imager from two or more laser events generated by laser units 120 and 125. Laser recognition unit 160 may format and deliver the signal(s) to a processing unit or CPU 154.
CPU 154 may include, for example, strike simulation software, which may include executable code for providing simulated targets, implementing light pattern analysis, displaying laser event data, enabling interaction with simulated targets, and to implement other suitable functions. CPU 154 may enable execution of a signal algorithm, for example, to determine if a laser event meets minimum criteria to be considered a laser pulse, and in addition, to be identified as a laser pulse from a certain simulation device or a certain type of simulation device. The laser event may be defined as being a “valid laser pulse” or “noise” etc. Detection of laser events may be implemented and evaluated using known laser detection algorithms. The strike simulation software may enable detecting mechanisms and processing capabilities for multiple-laser events or laser pulses.
CPU 154 may operate executable code and/or other suitable software to enable, for example, pulse identification, strike location identification, and automated responses to selected scenarios, according to embodiments of the present invention. Each laser pulse fired from cartridge 115 may be identified according to the pulse timing, type, strike location, and/or other suitable characteristics. For example, laser unit 120 may be configured to fire a laser pulse for a selected interval of time (e.g., 16 ms, 58 ms, 96 ms, 120 ms and/or other suitable time intervals) that may correspond to a time length or a portion of a time length of a video field (e.g., half a frame). Such a pulse may be able to be detected, for example, by imager 162, and such a pulse may be defined according to its length. According to one embodiment of the present invention, modulated pulses may be detected, for example, by a light signal recognition unit and/or an infrared sensor, to detect the laser pulses fired and/or the data included within the firing of the laser pulses.
For example, a pulse may be identified as “lane X”, where “X” is a number representing the type of laser event. For example, in a taser simulation system where laser pulse types that may be generated include simultaneous time-based pulses, simultaneous pulse-coded, pulses, non-simultaneous time-based pulses, and non-simultaneous pulse-coded pulses, each pulse type may be identified by a lane number (e.g., lane 1-4). Additionally or alternatively, CPU 154 may, for example, determine the identity of a laser pulse based on the length of a pulse as recorded in for example a video frame or by another detection method. For example, the pulse length may be based on the number of consecutive video frames during which the pulse lasts (e.g., a video frame may last for 1/30 seconds, and the pulse length may be determined from the number of video frames required to record the pulse).
CPU 154 may execute a location identification algorithm to determine X and Y or other coordinates of the strikes of the laser pulse(s) on target 145. The location identification algorithm may, for example, process strike data recorded by imager 162, and compute the strike data for each pulse that strikes target 145.
CPU 154 may execute a decision algorithm, for example, to determine if the identity and location data collectively meet pre-selected criteria to initiate automated responses to selected scenarios. For example, interactive training may be enabled by playing a video or otherwise projecting a series of images on a projection screen. The video or image stream may provide multiple possible outcomes depending on the user interaction, e.g., if the user strikes a selected target the training session may be accordingly altered. For example, if a laser event is to result in an automated response, an example of such a response may be for computing device 150 to change the image displayed in the target. For example, a displayed object may react to the firing of the immobilization weapon, by moving, firing, falling, etc. For example, a function may be enabled to “watch” for simulated taser events. According to such a function, if a first pulse meets some portion of these criteria, then the first pulse may be stored until either another pulse or set of pulses occurs which meet the remainder of the criteria, thereby initiating such a special option, or until a timeout occurs. In either case system 100 may react to the laser pulse(s) according to, for example, user situation definitions, reaction criteria, and possible outcomes etc. Other criteria for initiating system functions may be defined, and other functions may be included.
Laser recognition unit 160 may detect two or more laser pulses, for example, pulses 126, 127, emitted or fired from cartridge 115 when the pulses strike a target 145. Laser recognition unit 160 may enable detection of firing accuracy, for example, by measuring light reflections, and by recording the precise location of a strike on the target. Laser recognition unit 160 may be an infrared detector. Data received by laser recognition unit 160 may be transferred to computing device 150 for data processing, and may enable identification of, for example, user strike accuracy, user strike rate, user strike statistics, etc., using techniques as are known in the art of light signal detection.
For example, an image may be projected on a target 145, for example an image of a human target. The image may be, for example, a video frame of a person, or an outline of a person, or another suitable target. Computing device 150 may determine if a “hit” is achieved whereby, if a real taser were being used, the target would be successfully hit. Such a hit, for example, may require both or all of the emitted laser pulses to strike the target or a certain portion of the target, so as to complete the electric circuit and cause the target to be immobilized. An example of a hit being attained using an interactive image may be seen with reference to
Computing device 150 may be or include a personal computer, mobile computer, processing module etc. Computing device 150 may include an output device 165, for example, a monitor or any other suitable output device, to output processed simulation data. Computing device 150 may have instructions, for example in the memory unit, to process system data, user data, simulation training data, and any other suitable data.
According to some embodiments of the present invention, training cartridge 115 or other parts of system 100 may be colored or otherwise marked, for example, in a color distinguished for training cartridges, or may be otherwise distinguishable from conventional cartridges. In this way training cartridge 115 may be noticeable to a user as being for training purposes only, or as being not for immobilization purposes. Training cartridge 115 may be removable and replaceable, and may be permanently fixed to taser simulation system 100 or temporarily fixed to taser simulation system 100. For example, training cartridge 115 may enable multiple firing rounds, yet may limit firing to one round at a time, with further rounds being permitted after cartridge removal and replacement, or after, for example, supervisor permission is granted. Other patterns of usage of training cartridge 115 may be used.
Lasers 150 and circuit 18 may be mounted in the training cartridge in such a way that the paths and targets of lasers 150 are substantially consistent with the paths and targets of conventional projectile probes of conventional immobilization cartridges that launching device 110 may fire. For example, the laser units may be located within cartridge 115 so as to simulate the probes emitted by a conventional taser gun; e.g., they may spread at an 8-degree angle within the same plane. Other suitable angles and configurations may be used. Training cartridge 115 may be powered through the use of the pre-existing contacts of a conventional simulated immobilization weapon in a substantially similar same manner that a conventional immobilization cartridge is powered by a conventional immobilization weapon. In such embodiments, no additional cabling or other external wiring may be required to power or operate training cartridge 115 or taser simulation system 100. Taser training cartridge 115 may be operated two or more times, thereby enabling multiple firing of taser simulation system 100. Furthermore, taser training cartridge 115 may be reused after power supply has been depleted, by replacing or recharging power supply 130, thereby enabling further usage of taser training cartridge 115.
Any other suitable implementations of the above-described components and associated software may be used. Furthermore, any desirable combination of hardware and/or software may be used for any of system 100 components. Of course, other structures and dimensions may be used.
At block 205 laser events may be initiated by two or more laser units. For example, two or more laser pulses, for example, pulses 126 and 127, may be fired at a target or target region, the laser pulses being generated by two or more laser units located, for example, within a taser training cartridge. The laser events or pulses may be recorded by a laser recognition unit 160, such as electromagnetic radiation recognition unit. In an alternate embodiment, a cartridge separate from a taser simulator need not be used.
At block 210, the laser event(s) may be detected by laser recognition unit 160, for example, by imaging device 162. The laser recognition unit 160 may, for example, capture and digitize the signals captured by imager 162 from two or more laser events generated by laser units 120 and 125. Laser recognition unit 160 may format and deliver the signal(s) to a processing unit or CPU 154.
At block 215 CPU 154 may implement a signal algorithm, for example, to determine if a laser event meets minimum criteria to be considered a laser pulse. The laser event may accordingly be defined as being a “valid laser pulse” or “noise” etc.
At block 225, in the case where a non-valid laser pulse or “noise” is determined, computing device 150 may discard the laser event data.
At block 230, in the case where a “valid laser pulse” is determined, imager 162 may detect the strike locations of two or more laser pulses on target 145. In some embodiments, laser events initiated from laser sources at block 205 may be detected on target at block 230, without prior determination of laser pulse validity. For example, CPU 154 may use, for example, a location identification algorithm to determine X and Y coordinates of the strike locations of the laser pulse(s) on target 145.
At block 235 CPU 154 may determine the identities of the laser pulses based, for example, on the length of a pulse in a video frame. CPU 154 may determine the identities of a plurality of laser pulses, for example, from a plurality of taser launching devices 110 and/or cartridges 115. For example, it maybe required for two laser pulses fired simultaneously to strike a selected region of the target. Verification of a hit may, in such a case, require determining of the strike locations of two laser pulses (block 230) and verification that the two laser pulses were the pulses fired from the laser sources simultaneously.
At block 240, CPU 154 may implement an automated response, for example, by executing a decision algorithm to determine if the identity and/or location data collectively meet pre-selected criteria, and to optionally perform automated responses to selected actions. CPU 154 may manage the automated reaction, for example, by altering current supply to cartridge 115, thereby enabling further laser firing, discontinuing firing of a trainee etc., simulating a change in the target image (e.g., an image of a person falling to the ground or running away if not hit etc.) or video on the projection screen, output firing statistics, or controlling other operations or functions etc.
Processed firing data may be output, for example, by computing device 150 on output unit 165, for example, a monitor. The firing of the lasers may be simultaneous or non-simultaneous, for example, with a delay between the firings of the various lasers. For simultaneous or non-simultaneous firing, time based firing patterns or pulse coded firing patterns may be implemented. The firing pattern of the laser may be determined by appropriately programming integrated circuit (IC) 135. For example, the IC 135 may be programmed to implement time based firing, by assigning a specific time length “n” (e.g., 16 ms) to a circuit's memory. The circuit may then fire the lasers for n amount of time (e.g., the programmed time) each time the circuit is activated. In the case of taser cartridge 115, IC 135 may be programmed, for example, to fire first laser 120 for “n” ms (e.g., 16 ms), wait for “x” ms (e.g., 100 ms), and then fire second laser 125 for “n” ms. Other methods, for example, assigning alternate firing lengths (e.g., more or less than 16 ms), breaking lengths e.g., more or less than 100 ms), coding the pulse to be captured by multiple or other electromagnetic radiation detection devices, etc. may be used.
Examples of the computation of X and Y coordinates of the laser pulse(s) on target 145 or another target region and/or the determining of the pulse identities of the pulses striking the target or target region, at block 235, are described with reference to
At block 315, in the case where CPU 154 determines that two or more laser pulses did not strike a selected target or target region, the firing of the taser weapon may be defined as having “missed” the target. At block 320, where the target has been missed, the simulation software may, for example, continue the scenario displayed in the target, or change the scenario displayed in the target in accordance with the unsuccessful firing of the trainee. For example, the simulation software may transmit data to the target, for example, such that a person who was the target may continue to fire, approach the trainee, or flee etc.
Any combination of the above steps may be implemented. Further, other steps or series of steps may be used.
The foregoing description of the embodiments of the invention has been presented for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. It should be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that many modifications, variations, substitutions, changes, and equivalents are possible in light of the above teaching. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit of the invention.