Title:
SMART MAGAZINE FOR A WEAPON SIMULATOR AND METHOD OF USE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A weapon simulator assembly for use by an operator in weapon simulation training includes a simulated weapon and a simulated magazine detachably connected to the simulated weapon at a magazine receiver. A weapon processor is housed in the simulated weapon to monitor the number of rounds of simulated ammunition fired in relation to the simulated magazine. When the simulated magazine, which is identifiable by the weapon processor, is connected to the simulated weapon, the weapon processor will recognize the magazine by connecting with a magazine circuit having updated operating information or by identifying the magazine according to a magnetic signature member. The weapon processor will thereby monitor the number of rounds of simulated ammunition fired by a particular magazine, and disable use of the specific magazine once the simulated magazine has used the predetermined number of simulated rounds of ammunition.



Inventors:
Barrett, David (Alpharetta, GA, US)
Tavrovsky, Igor (Marietta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/748942
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
05/15/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
434/24
International Classes:
F41A33/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GEBREMICHAEL, BRUK A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SMITH, GAMBRELL & RUSSELL (SUITE 3100, PROMENADE II 1230 PEACHTREE STREET, N.E., ATLANTA, GA, 30309-3592, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A weapon simulator assembly for use by an operator in weapon simulation training, said weapon simulator assembly comprising: a simulated weapon having a magazine receiver; a weapon processor housed in said simulated weapon; and a simulated magazine detachably connected to said magazine receiver of said simulated weapon, said magazine comprising means for identifying said magazine to said weapon processor; said weapon processor connected with said identification means to monitor the use of a predetermined number of simulated rounds of ammunition by a user of the simulated weapon.

2. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 1 further comprising: an electrical interface connecting said weapon processor with said identification means.

3. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 2 further comprising: a magazine circuit housed in said simulated magazine, said magazine circuit connected to said electrical interface for electrical communication with said weapon processor.

4. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 3, said magazine circuit storing information corresponding to the simulated ammunition available for use during the simulation, said information transmitted to said weapon processor via said electrical interface.

5. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 1 further comprising: a series of sensors connected to said weapon processor, said sensors mounted in said magazine receiver; and means for distinguishing said simulated magazine by said weapon processor housed in said simulated magazine, said sensors in said weapon processor recognizing said distinguishing means in said simulated magazine attached to said magazine receiver.

6. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 5, wherein said distinguishing means comprises an arrangement of magnets in said simulated magazine.

7. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 6, wherein said arrangement of magnets comprises at least one magnet in a position complimentary to one of said sensors.

8. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 6, wherein said arrangement of magnets comprises at least one void in a position complimentary to one of said sensors.

9. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 1, further comprising a liquid crystal display connected to said magazine circuit, said magazine circuit directing output onto said liquid crystal display.

10. A weapon simulator assembly for monitoring the number of simulated rounds of ammunition fired during simulation training, said weapon simulator assembly comprising: a simulated weapon housing a weapon processor, said simulated weapon having a receiver and a receiver slot; a first electrical contact connected to said weapon processor in said receiver; a simulated magazine detachably connected to said receiver in said receiver slot, said simulated magazine comprising a second electrical contact; and a magazine processor for monitoring operation of simulated ammunition fired using said simulated magazine, said magazine processor housed in said simulated magazine and in electrical communication with said weapon processor via said first electrical contact and said second electrical contact.

11. The weapon simulator assembly of claim 10 further comprising a liquid crystal display connected to said magazine circuit, said magazine circuit directing output onto said liquid crystal display.

13. A weapon simulator assembly for use in monitoring simulated ammunition used simulation training comprising: a simulated weapon housing a weapon processor, said simulated weapon having a receiver and a receiver slot; and at least one sensor housed in said simulated weapon proximate said receiver slot, said sensor in electrical communication with said weapon processor; a simulated magazine detachably connected to said receiver in said receiver slot, said simulated magazine comprising a magnetic signature member affixed to said simulated magazine, said magnetic signature member positioned proximate said at least one sensor when said simulated magazine is connected with said receiver, said sensor transmitting a corresponding signal to said weapon processor to identify said simulated magazine, said weapon processor monitoring the use of simulated ammunition associated said identified simulated magazine.

14. The weapon simulator assembly as defined in claim 13 wherein said magnetic signature member comprises a magnet to identify said simulated magazine.

15. The weapon simulator assembly as defined in claim 13 wherein said magnetic signature member comprises a void to identify said simulated magazine.

16. A method for monitoring the number of simulated rounds of ammunition used in a simulated magazine used with a simulated weapon, said method comprising the steps of: a. providing a weapon processor housed in said simulated weapon, said weapon processor being preset a preset number of rounds of ammunition associated with a simulated magazine; b. connecting the simulated magazine with the simulated weapon; c. transmitting a signal from a magazine circuit to said weapon processor identifying the simulated magazine and rounds of ammunition available; and d. transmitting a signal from said weapon processor when the simulated weapon is fired to reduce the rounds of ammunition available in said simulated magazine.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

This non-provisional patent application claims priority from provisional patent application 60/747,288, which is relied upon and incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a weapon simulation system having simulated weapons with simulated ammunition magazines, and, more particularly, to a weapon simulation system having a simulated weapon that will identify and remember a particular simulated magazine, and even more particularly, to a weapon simulation system that will keep track of the number of simulated rounds of ammunition that have been expended from a particular magazine when the simulated magazine has been detached and reattached to the simulated weapon.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

When military and/or police personnel are engaged in tactical training situations, they use simulated weapons that are designed to imitate actual firearms that are used in their field. Such firearms frequently use detachable magazines, which typically requires that the operator carry a number of magazines loaded with ammunition so that they can rapidly re-load their weapon as needed.

To provide a realistic experience when training personnel using weapon simulator systems incorporating simulated weapons with simulated detachable magazines, weapon simulator systems have been designed so that the trainee is able to carry a number of simulated magazines to be used with the simulated weapon. By using various different magazines, the operator is able to change these magazines as required with actual firearms. However, while weapon simulator systems allow the trainee to exchange magazines during a simulation, the simulated weapons do not differentiate between individual magazines. Moreover, such designs do not provide a memory of the amount of ammunition used with a specific magazine. Consequently, when the simulated magazine is removed from the simulator, the parameters of the simulated magazine are reset, such that the same magazine can be removed from the simulated weapon and immediately re-inserted into the simulated weapon to cause the parameters of the simulated weapon to be re-loaded. As a result, the operator only needs one magazine for use with the simulated weapon, and the realism of using the simulated weapon is diminished.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a simulated weapon;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the simulated weapon illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the connections between the weapon processor and the simulated magazine circuit;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of a second embodiment of the simulated weapon;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the simulated weapon illustrated in FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a chart illustrating the sensors used in the present invention to read magnetic identifiers;

FIG. 7 is a block diagram of the connections between the weapon processor and the simulated magazine of the second embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1-7, a weapon simulator assembly 8 is illustrated that includes a simulated weapon 10 in conjunction with a simulated detachable magazine 12. In particular, the weapon simulator assembly 8 allows for the use of one or more simulated detachable magazines 12 with one or more simulated weapons 10, with the number of rounds of ammunition used in each simulated magazine 12 being monitored by the weapon simulator assembly 8 for realistic use of the weapon simulator assembly 8 during a simulation. That is, the weapon simulator assembly 8 is able to monitor and track the number of rounds of ammunition fired and remaining in each simulated magazine 12 during a simulation to determine when all of the ammunition in the simulated magazine 12 has been fired.

In a first embodiment of the weapon simulator assembly 8 illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 3, the number of rounds of ammunition used in the simulated magazine 12 are tracked within the simulated magazine 12 itself. In particular, this weapon simulator assembly 8 includes the simulated weapon 10 having a receiver 11 and associated receiver slot 11 s to engage and secure the simulated magazine 12 with the simulated weapon 10. A magazine circuit 14 or similar processor is housed within the simulated magazine 12, and connected to at least one magazine electrical contact 17m in the simulated magazine 12. Similarly, the simulated weapon 10 includes a weapon processor 16 in communication with various switches and electronic equipment in the simulated weapon 10 to monitor and control operation of the simulated weapon 10. For example, among other connections, the weapon processor 16 is in communication with the trigger 15 to determine when the operator has attempted to fire the simulated weapon 10, as well as other electronics that may be used with the weapon simulator assembly 8, such as a laser 19. The weapon processor 16 is additionally connected with a weapon electrical contact 17w or sensor located at the base of the receiver 11 in the receiver slot 11s, as shown in the cutaway view of FIG. 2. As a result, when the simulated magazine 12 is inserted into the slot 11s, the magazine circuit 14 will be in electrical communication with the weapon processor 16 in the simulated weapon 12 via an electrical interface 17.

When the simulated magazine 12 engages the weapon simulator 10 in the receiver slot 11, the magazine circuit 14 will communicate with the processor 16 to monitor operation of the simulated weapon 10 and identify when the simulated weapon 10 has been fired. That is, the processor 16 will transmit a signal to the magazine circuit 14 indicating that the simulated weapon 12 has been fired. The simulated magazine circuit 14 is preset with operational information, including the number of rounds of ammunition to be associated with the simulated magazine 12. Thus, when the weapon processor 16 transmits a signal that the trigger 15 has been pulled and the simulated weapon 12 has been fired, the magazine circuit 14 will calculate and store information relevant to the particular magazine 12; namely, the magazine circuit 14 will calculate the number of rounds of ammunition that have been fired, and based on the predetermined number of rounds of ammunition associated with that magazine 12 prior to firing, the magazine circuit 14 will determine the number of rounds of ammunition that are available for the operator. Since the information is stored in the magazine circuit 14 in the simulated magazine 12, it is portable with the simulated magazine 12 among various simulated weapons 10. Thus, as the simulated magazine 12 is connected to a simulated weapon 10, the magazine circuit 14 will transmit the information to the weapon processor 16 concerning how many rounds of ammunition remain available for a particular simulation scenario.

An advantage of this embodiment of the simulated magazine 12 and method of use is the portability and fidelity of the simulated magazine 12. That is, the simulated magazine 12 can be swapped and used in various independent simulated weapons 10, and each magazine 12 will accurately track and report the number of rounds remaining from the information maintained in the simulated magazine 12 to the processor 16 in the simulated weapon 10 to which it is connected. If the magazine circuit 14 calculates that no ammunition is available, then the operator will be prohibited from firing the simulated weapon 10 during a simulation and be required to replace the simulated magazine 12 with one having ammunition available according to the magazine circuit 14 implemented in the corresponding simulated magazine 12.

In addition, a display 18 such as a liquid crystal display, may be incorporated into the side of the simulated magazine 12 and connected to the magazine circuit 14. The display visually indicates information pertinent to the simulated magazine 12, such as the number of rounds remaining within the simulated magazine 12, so that the operator will be aware of the status of the simulated magazine 12.

A second embodiment of the weapon simulator assembly 8 is illustrated in FIGS. 4-7. In this embodiment, the weapon processor 16 of the simulated weapon 10 is able to differentiate between individual magazines 12 through the use of a unique identifier 20 or finger print associated with each magazine 12, and the weapon processor 16 will administer the operating parameters of the weapon simulator assembly 8 accordingly. Initially, the weapon processor 16 of the simulated weapon 10 will create a file associated with each magazine 12 and assign a predetermined value associated with the number calculate the number of rounds of ammunition provided for the associated magazine 12, and the processor 16 will keep track of the number of rounds of ammunition remaining in that particular magazine 12 according to the identifier of the particular magazine 12.

In particular, each magazine 12 includes an magnetic signature member or identifier 20, which could be a series of magnets 20 or voids positioned in the simulated magazine 12. Similarly, the simulated weapon 10 includes one or more sensors 22 corresponding to the magnets 20 or voids in the simulated magazine 12, with the sensors 22 positioned in the simulated weapon 10 proximate the receiver 11. When the simulated magazine 12 is inserted into and connected with the receiver 11, the magnets 20 or voids will be substantially adjacent sensors 22 in the weapon simulator 10 when the simulated magazine 12 is attached to the receiver 11 of the simulated weapon 10. The arrangement of magnets 20 (or the absence thereof in one of the voids) in different locations proximate the sensors 22 identifies the simulated magazine 12 to the processor 16 in the simulated weapon 10. The weapon processor 16 is programmed to monitor and save firing information for each independent magazine 12 (that is, the number of times the simulated weapon 10 has been fired with the particular simulated magazine 14 attached thereto), and control operation once a predetermined value associated with the number of rounds of ammunition available has been exceeded for a particular simulated magazine 12.

More particularly, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, three magnets 20 are positioned in the simulated magazine 12 to provide one of seven different choices for the simulated weapon 10 to identify the simulated magazine 12 (see the simulated magazine Identification Table in FIG. 6). Of course, the number of magnets 20 and sensors 22 incorporated into the simulated magazine 12 and simulated weapon 10, respectively, could be varied according to the total number of magazines 12 to be used with the weapon simulator assembly 8 and to be identified by the processor 16. Once the simulated magazine 12 is inserted into the slot 11s of the receiver 11, the sensors 22 will generate a binary signal based on the position of the magnets 20, or lack thereof.

The weapon simulator 10 is able to specifically identify each magazine 12 according to the arrangement of magnets 20 in the simulated magazine 12. The weapon processor 16 will maintain a record corresponding to each magazine 12 based on identifier 20 or fingerprint of the simulated magazine 12, with the record identifying the number of rounds in the simulated magazine 12 according to a preset number of rounds minus the number of times the weapon simulator 10 had been fired with the particular magazine 12 connected to the weapon simulator 10. Consequently, if one magazine 12 is replaced by a second magazine 12, the processor 16 of the weapon simulator 10 will be able to maintain an ongoing correlation of the first magazine 12 with the number of rounds remaining in that magazine 12.

An advantage of this embodiment is the simplicity in identifying the simulated magazine 12. A disadvantage of this embodiment, however, is that there is no portability among simulated weapons 10. A magazine 12 could be expended (or partially expended) with one weapon simulator 12, and the weapon processor 16 for that simulated weapon 10 would maintain the accurate number of rounds for the particular magazine 12. However, when the simulated magazine 12 is connected with another simulated weapon 10, that simulated weapon 10 would not have a record of the information from the simulated weapon 10 that previously used the simulated magazine 12. In addition, the simulated magazines 12 would have to be marked on the outside with a visual indicator 22 (such as a magazine identification number) for the operator to identify the number of rounds remaining in the simulated magazine 12.

Having thus described exemplary embodiments, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of this disclosure as described herein and as described in the appended claims.