Projects

Tracking-Point, Inc.

Tracking-Point was a startup company in Austin, Texas in 2012. Tracking-Point designed and built the world's first Precision-Guided Firearm (PGF). Jeff deRienzo (now at emirac) created all the apps that the PGF needed.
The picture at left shows a development version of the TrackingPoint rifle scope. The scope consists of a television camera, laser rangefinder, some sensors (accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometer, temp sensors), and an FPGA to coordinate things, calculate and display targeting and firing solution, and control the trigger mechanism. The scope tracks, ranges, and computes firing solution for user-designated targets...all while recording video.


In addition to all that the scope is also a Wi-Fi router. It runs a service which communicates using a RESTful API (and JSON and RTSP).

At right is a TrackingPoint rifle on the range. The board from the development version above is folded up like an origami paper into a shape which fits into a housing that more resembles a traditional rifle scope.


The tablet is running the ShotView app which is connected to the rifle and displaying the view as seen through the rifle scope.

The main PGF app connects to the scope and allows the user to lock the PGF, read and set various parameters such as ammo type, "kill-zone," timeouts, media parameters. It can also perform scope firmware updates.


The PGF lacked a GPS sensor, and it needed to know its latitude in order to compute coriolis forces for a perfect firing solution. It also couldn't measure wind speed or direction. The app automatically used its GPS and sent location information to the PGF. The app also used the location info to RESTfully connect to local weather, compute crosswind velocity, and send it to the PGF.


The PGF saved a video whenever the user acquired and tagged a target and engaged the firing solution. It also made still pictures every time it fired. One of the app's activities provided a means to view, download, and delete media from the PGF and manage them within the smartphone's gallery.

One of the app's activities (also packaged as a separate app) called ShotView connects to the PGF and consumes a very low-latency RTSP stream which it displays on the smartphone. Whatever is displayed in the PGF's viewfinder is also displayed on the smartphone screen.


Tracking-Point had some Recon-Jet sunglasses lying about the office, and after having a look at them we decided to put the ShotView app onto the glasses. It took about a day.

...making ShotView available on both Recon-Jet goggles and Google-Glass gave shooters a way of shooting round corners, and it also gave us the very same ShotView app with a cool name: ShotGlass.

CTTSO

CTTSO is the US government Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office. CTTSO's mission is to identify and develop capabilities to combat terrorism and irregular adversaries and to deliver these capabilities to DoD components and interagency partners through rapid research.
This is a MultiRAE Pro wireless handheld gas detection monitor. It can detect, measure, and monitor many different gases. A MultiRAE Pro can cost over $7000 so it's not always easy (or likely) for first-responders to have many of these available for rudimentary training.


We wrote this MultiRAE instruction app for CTTSO. It's composed of seven lessons covering some simple operations like turning the device on and off, calibrating sensors, and alarms.


Each lesson has a task and both a "learn" and a "test" mode. During learn mode instructions pop-up to prompt the user, and during test mode the user accomplishes the task without instruction.


The app keeps track of all the lessons and all the tests, and it provides a way to email the results.


The ERSA app: Putting Sensor Readings on the Map

This app plays a role in helping to send real-time sensor readings from individual hazmat team members to a command center. The problem is there are many different types of sensing devices for chemical, biological, and radiation threats each with different interface, data format, communication ability. Here are some more common ones:

This is an ERSA Dongle (made by Kopis Mobile). It can connect to many different types of sensor by USB, UART, IrDA, BLE. The dongle knows how to interpret the sensor data, and it knows how to talk to both a smartphone (via BLE) and a LoRa gateway.


The ERSA app is basically a persistent background service (really a group of services for Wi-Fi, location, and BLE) that remains connected to a single {dongle, sensor} pair via its BLE connection to the dongle. The service sends location information to the dongle and receives status information and sensor readings from the dongle. If the dongle is not connected to a LoRa gateway then the service transmits the dongle's sensor readings to the command center via the cell network.


The app also contains an activity through which a user can configure a {dongle, sensor} pair by telling the dongle which type of sensor is connected and setting any communication parameters (such as BLE address) for that particular sensor type. This same activity also shows the status of the connections among the nodes of the communication chain: sensor to dongle to [LoRa or smartphone]

Result is that people at a command post can view real-time sensor readings and locations from inividuals or teams.


...even if there is no remote gateway within range. In that case the dongle uses its BLE connection to the Android app's background service, and the app in turn uses the cellular network to push data to the server.


Sensor and location data can be forwarded automatically to other systems (like CAMEO, MARPLOT)



Unit Readiness app for US Army National Guard

The FastForm Readiness app is intended to be used by a unit's Readiness Officer. The RO receives a roster list on the device via email and loads it into the Readiness app. As soldiers arrive they swipe their military ID cards (CACs) in the tablet, the app marks them present and checks for any deficiencies in medical, dental, and NCO / OER tests. The app processes those present by color-coding (based upon the date) and summarizing any deficiency. The Readiness Officer can click on any deficiency for a soldier, and the app will send an email including instructions and forms needed to correct the deficiency.



US Army AMRDEC: Blue Force Tracking

At the Army's Software Engineering Directorate, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama we worked with a team of eleven mobile developers from Venturi Aerospace, MITRE Corporation, and SAIC and designed, built, and fielded a Blue Force Tracking app for the dismounted Joint Battle Command platform. Essentially answering the question: "Where are the good guys," this app provided situational awareness to individual soldiers and marines on the ground and sent their position/location information to JBC-P command centers. The app later became known as NettWarrior. It provided mapping information, check-fire, medevac, waypoints, obstacles, mission reports using the Army's comms system.

Most of the information (like screenshots, comms info) is classified, however, here is a link to an article that describes the non-classified bits: Army Stronger with Androids

'This is one of the most important things, strategically, that this army has taken up in recent years.'


-- U.S. Army Secretary Hon. John McHugh


US Army AMRDEC: Handheld Precision Fires

At the Army's Software Engineering Directorate, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama Jeff worked with two other developers to design and build an app called Handheld Precision Fires. This app enabled dismounted troops to use their android device along with its sensors (and possibly remote sensors) to produce a mensurated grid point sufficient to call for support artillery fire. This app later became part of the US Army's MAFIA system.


Most of the information (like screenshots, sensor info, comms info) is classified, however, here are some links that describe the non-classified bits: