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Tech by VICE

Google Glass-Equipped Smart Guns Can Aim and Shoot Around Corners

Killing isn't yet as easy as, "OK, Glass: Shoot." But it's right around the corner.

by Brian Anderson
Jun 4 2014, 4:43pm

It was bound to happen. TrackingPoint Solutions, the Austin-based applied tech startup behind the first precision-guided firearm (PGF), has now integrated its controversial firearm technology with another equally controversial device: Google Glass. The result? Now the average Joe can fire at targets from around corners or over hills, without looking. 

That's the augmented marksmen potential of the company's new ShotView system. Much like a jet fighter's head's up display (HUD), TrackingPoint's wearable PGF app gives users the visual aids needed to take their aiming and shooting chops to previously impossible levels. 

When you look through the ShotView video stream on the gun's HUD, you can guage a range of variables, including shot angle, rifle cant, compass direction, battery life, and zoom settings, while not ever having to look away or divert your attention elsewhere. 

No "good" firing position? No problem. 

"When paired with wearable technology, PGFs can provide unprecedented benefits to shooters, such as the ability to shoot around corners, from behind low walls, and from other positions that provide exceptional cover," according to a TrackingPoint press release. "Without PGF technology, such positions would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to fire from."

The steadied rise of wearable technology is unlocking a dizzying number of potential killer apps. Indeed, If there was any lingering doubt that wearable tech is coming to the battlefield, the Glassification of a high-profile smart weapon should put any uncertainties to rest.

If being able to track and drop a moving target with single-shot accuracy at 1,500 feet using a long-range robo rifle wasn't sobering enough already, to think basically anyone can now do so over a hill, perhaps overlooking a so-called "networked battlefield" shot through with data-driven soldiers, is sure to be even more so.

Let that one sink in for a moment. If someone like myself, who had never fired a gun prior to filming our smart gun documentary Long Shot, was able to take out a trophy-sized feral hog using the PGF with shocking ease, it stands to reason that now, using ShotView Glass, I could repeat that kill, only from a position hitherto considered blind. 

As TrackingPoint's Oren Schauble told me in April, before ShotView was rolled out, "Being able to shoot around corners and over hills is a little mind-blowing when you actually do it. Things keep on rolling."

So we might not yet be living in a world where killing is as easy as, "OK, Glass: Shoot." But the specter of that near-future, when the few boots-on-the-grounds soldiers left standing are kitted out with wearables like ShotView, is literally right around the corner.