Title:
TAP SENSOR FOR WEAPON SIMULATOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A weapon simulator assembly for monitoring correction of a malfunction of a simulated weapon having a detachably attached simulated magazine includes a central processor for generating the malfunction scenario. A weapon processor is supported in the simulated weapon in electrical communication with the central processor, with an electrical interface connecting the weapon processor with the simulated magazine detachably attached to said receiver. A sensor, such as a tap sensor or accelerometer, is in electrical communication with the weapon processor via said electrical interface, with the tap sensor or accelerometer registering a strike when a force is applied to the simulated magazine above a predetermined value.



Inventors:
Wilson, Henry Martin (Buford, GA, US)
Gerson, David (Chestnut Hill, MA, US)
Rogusz, Paul (Suwanee, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/748965
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
05/15/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
42/1.02, 434/16
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 monitoring choices of an operator during weapon misfire, said assembly comprising: a simulated weapon having a receiver; a weapon processor supported in said simulated weapon; a magazine detachably attached to said receiver of said simulated weapon; an electrical interface connecting said processor with said magazine detachably attached to said receiver; and a tap sensor in electrical communication with said processor, said tap sensor registering a strike when a force is applied to said magazine.

2. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 1, wherein said tap sensor is a shock sensor positioned in said magazine and connected to said processor via an electrical interface.

3. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 1, wherein said tap sensor is an accelerometer connected to said processor via an electrical interface, said tap sensor measuring the sudden acceleration of said weapon simulator.

4. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 3, wherein said tap sensor is positioned in said magazine and in electrical communication with said processor via said electrical interface.

5. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 3, wherein said tap sensor is selected from the group consisting of a piezoelectric accelerometer, a capacitance accelerometer, a null-balance accelerometer, a strain gage accelerometer, a resonance accelerometer, a piezoresistive accelerometer or a magnetic induction accelerometer.

6. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 1 wherein said tap sensor is selected from the group consisting of a pressure sensor, a variable resistance sensor, a shock sensor or an impact sensor.

7. In a weapon simulation assembly including a simulation for generating weapon misfire in a simulated weapon having a weapon processor and attached simulated magazine, a method for monitoring the correction of the simulated weapon comprising the steps of: a. applying a force on the simulated weapon; b. measuring the force applied on the simulated weapon with a sensor mounted in said magazine; c. transmitting a signal from said sensor to the weapon processor when the force exceeds a predetermined value; and d. registering correction in the weapon sensor when the weapon processor receives said signal.

8. The method as described in claim 7, wherein step b further comprises: measuring the acceleration of the force applied on the simulated weapon with an accelerometer.

9. The method as described in claim 8 wherein the step further comprises: measuring the acceleration of the force applied on the simulated weapon with a sensor selected from the group consisting of a piezoelectric accelerometer, a capacitance accelerometer, a null-balance accelerometer, a strain gage accelerometer, a resonance accelerometer, a piezoresistive accelerometer or a magnetic induction accelerometer.

10. The method as described in claim 7, wherein step b further comprises: measuring the force applied on the simulated magazine with a shock sensor positioned in the simulated magazine.

11. The method as described in claim 10, wherein the step further comprises: measuring the force applied on the simulated magazine with a tap sensor selected from the group consisting of a pressure sensor, a variable resistance sensor, a shock sensor or an impact sensor.

12. A weapon simulator assembly for monitoring correction of a malfunction of a simulated weapon having a detachably attached simulated magazine using a central processor, said assembly comprising: a weapon processor supported in the simulated weapon in electrical communication with the central processor; an electrical interface connecting said weapon processor with the simulated magazine detachably attached to said receiver; and a tap sensor in electrical communication with said weapon processor via said electrical interface, said tap sensor registering a strike when a force is applied to the simulated magazine.

13. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 12, wherein said tap sensor is a shock sensor positioned in the simulated magazine and connected to said weapon processor via an electrical interface.

14. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 13 wherein said tap sensor is selected from the group consisting of a pressure sensor, a variable resistance sensor, a shock sensor or an impact sensor.

15. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 12, wherein said tap sensor is an accelerometer connected to said processor via an electrical interface, said tap sensor measuring the sudden acceleration of said weapon simulator.

16. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 15, wherein said tap sensor is positioned in said magazine and in electrical communication with the weapon processor via said electrical interface.

17. The weapon simulator assembly as described in claim 15, wherein said tap sensor is selected from the group consisting of a piezoelectric accelerometer, a capacitance accelerometer, a null-balance accelerometer, a strain gage accelerometer, a resonance accelerometer, a piezoresistive accelerometer or a magnetic induction accelerometer.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

This non-provisional patent application claims priority from provisional patent application 60/747,290, which is relied upon and incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a weapon simulator assembly, and, more particularly, to a simulated weapon of a weapon simulator assembly that is able to detect the tap or slap of a magazine as part of an action drill corresponding to a weapon misfire.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

When military and/or police personnel train with simulated weapons, one of the training scenarios generated by a central computer or central processing unit is a “misfire” of the simulated weapon. In an actual weapon, a misfire occurs when the trigger is pulled, but no round of ammunition is fired. This can occur due to many different reasons, and most agencies have an immediate action drill (a series of steps, done in order, immediately after the firearm misfire) that is to be performed by personnel in the event of such an occurrence. One of the steps included in most drills related to firearm misfire includes a magazine tap or slap, where the user must slap or hit the bottom of the magazine to ensure that it is seated properly in the weapon.

In an attempt to provide more a more realistic simulated weapon, some weapon simulators include a sensor, located within the simulated weapon itself, for the purpose of detecting whether or not a magazine is present and connected with the simulated weapon. The sensor will change states when the magazine is “struck”, in that, during a simulated misfire, the user will push the magazine toward the firearm, and the central processing unit will measure the length of time that the sensor remains at a state indicating that the magazine has been removed from the simulated weapon. If the length of time, or “pulse width,” falls within a preset range, the weapon recognizes the signal as a “tap,” and provides a corresponding signal to the central processing unit.

Although this solution attempts to provide a more realistic experience, a disadvantage of this approach is that if the magazine is pushed up longer than the tap interval, or if the weapon is rested on the magazine at any time, the weapon will process the corresponding signal as a removal and reinsertion of the magazine with respect to the simulated weapon. Consequently, this will reload the weapon, even if that was not the intent of the user, thereby diminishing the likeness of actual weapon operation, which is contrary to the desired result.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

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

FIG. 2 is a sectional side elevational view of the simulated firearm shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the connections between the weapon processor and the sensor illustrated in FIG. 1;

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

FIG. 5 is a sectional side elevational view of the simulated firearm shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a sectional side elevational view of a further embodiment of the simulated firearm; and

FIG. 7 is a block diagram of the connections between the weapon processor and the sensor illustrated in FIG. 6.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1-7, a weapon simulator assembly 8 is illustrated that is able to train personnel in the proper use and handling of weapons without having to use actual firearms and ammunition. An effective firearms simulator duplicates the actual environment as much as possible by using weapons that “look and feel” like the real weapon. Accordingly, the weapon simulator assembly 8 described herein is able to simulate weapon misfire and monitor the reaction of the simulated weapon user. The weapon simulator assembly 8 includes a simulated weapon 10 having a processor 16 that is in electrical communication with a central processing unit 4. The simulated weapon 10 is one typically used in training scenarios that are generated and controlled by the central processing unit 4, with the simulated weapon 10 being in electrical communication with the central processing unit 4 either via a tethered connection or a wireless connection.

In more detail, the weapon simulator assembly 8 includes the simulated weapon 10, which has a receiver 11 with a receiver slot 11s to receive the simulated magazine 12. The weapon simulator assembly 8 additionally includes a tap sensor 14 that is able to detect a “tap” force to the magazine 12 and differentiate the tap force from forces associated with the removal and reinsertion of the magazine 12 in the slot 11s. Several embodiments of the weapon simulator assembly 8 are described herein that are able to accomplish this goal, with each of the embodiments utilizing the tap sensor 14 in determining when the user has “tapped” the magazine 12 to correct the simulated malfunction and when an “empty” simulated magazine 12 has been removed and replaced with a “full” simulated magazine 12.

During the simulation, either the central processing unit 4 or the processor 16 in the simulated weapon 10 will generate a scenario of weapon misfire that must be addressed before the simulated weapon 10 is allowed to continue operation. This misfire scenario may be generated randomly, at a predetermined time, or as selected by a person overseeing use of the weapon simulator assembly 8. In such a scenario, the weapon simulator assembly 8 is not only able to monitor the simulated weapon user's choices during the training session with respect to the simulated weapon 10, but it is also able to monitor the operator's reaction to the misfire of the simulated weapon 10.

The first embodiment of the weapon simulator assembly 8 is illustrated in FIGS. 1-3. In this embodiment, the tap sensor 14 is positioned in the magazine 12 to monitor any forces applied to the bottom of the magazine 12. The tap sensor 14 could be a pressure sensor, variable resistance sensor, shock sensor or impact sensor, among other related designs. For example, a shock or impact sensor 14 could be incorporated in the magazine 12 to detect a sudden or severe impact force and indicate whether the strength of the tap force exceeds a predetermined level. The tap sensor 14 will then provide corresponding feedback to a processor 16 in the simulated weapon 10 via an electrical interface 15 connecting the sensor 14 of the magazine 12 with the processor 16 of the firearm 10. In particular, shock sensors are a type of transducer that responds to shock energy by producing another type of energy signal, usually electrical. Such sensors 14 should be sensitive to shock but insensitive to other properties.

There are various ways in which such shock sensors function. For example, the tap sensor 14 could include a housing surrounding a metal ball, with the ball being held in a neutral position by a magnet. Upon impact, the sensor 14 is subjected to a shock, and a force is exerted onto the metal ball in an opposite direction as the force of the magnet. If the impact exceeds a threshold value, the ball is loosened from the magnet. Due to the impact on the tap sensor 14, an electrical contact is effectuated, and a signal is transmitted to the processor 16 accordingly to provide the desired feedback, which is then transmitted to the central processing unit 4.

Referring to FIG. 2, the sensor 14 may be located proximate the bottom of the magazine 12 with an electrical connection 15 to the processor 16 housed in the simulated weapon 10. In this arrangement, the sensor 14 will be proximate the strike plate 13 where the magazine 12 is to be struck by the user in simulating a “tap” drill. In operation, when the strike plate 13 of the magazine 12 is struck by a force or strikes another surface, and the force meets or exceeds a predetermined value measured by the sensor 14, the sensor 14 will transmit a signal to the processor 16 in the simulated weapon 10, either mechanically or electrically, communicating to the processor 16 that the magazine 12 has been struck. The processor 16 will then be able to register the action as one performed as a part of the drill to address the simulated malfunction of the simulated weapon 10, and allow the user to proceed in the simulation with the remaining number of rounds of ammunition identified for the magazine 12 attached to the simulated weapon 10.

In a second embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the sensor 14 as described above is positioned in the magazine 12 at the interface of the magazine 12 with the simulated weapon 10. The sensor 14 is placed at the interface between the magazine 12 and the simulated weapon 10 so that the force generated by striking the bottom of the magazine 12 will cause a corresponding change of state in the sensor 14. This change of state is transmitted to the processor 16 in the simulated weapon 10, and is recognized by the processor 16 in the simulated weapon 10 as a tap force that occurred to correct the malfunction of the simulated weapon 10, a corresponding signal is transmitted to central processing unit 4.

A third embodiment of the present invention, illustrated in FIGS. 6, uses a tap sensor 14 for measuring motion, such as an accelerometer, that may be located in either the magazine 12 (shown in FIG. 3) or the simulated weapon 10 (shown in FIG. 7). The sensor 14 will detect a sudden acceleration in the direction of the magazine 12 movement and transmit a corresponding signal to the processor 16. The accelerometer is a sensor 14 for measuring acceleration and vibration that can be a raw sensing element, a packaged transducer, or a sensor system, with the most common types of accelerometers being piezoelectric, capacitance, null-balance, strain gage, resonance, piezoresistive or magnetic induction. The accelerometer is in electrical communication with the processor 16 of the simulated weapon 10, such that the accelerometer will monitor any rapid movement of the simulated weapon 10 or attached magazine 12. Thus, when the magazine 12 is struck in a simulation to correct the weapon malfunction, the entire magazine 12 and simulated weapon 10 will accelerate in the direction away from the strike. The accelerometer sensor 14 will detect this acceleration and equate it as a tap of the magazine 12, thereby providing feedback to the processor 16 of the simulated weapon 10 that the user has made the required contact with the simulated weapon 10.

The processor 16 will then be able to register the action as one performed as a part of the drill to address the simulated malfunction of the simulated weapon 10 and provide a corresponding signal to the central processing unit 4, and allow the user to proceed in the simulation with the remaining number of rounds of ammunition identified for the magazine 12 attached to the simulated weapon 10. The use of an accelerometer 14 therefore provides freedom in the position of the sensor 14 with respect to the simulated weapon 10 and 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.