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United States Patent Application 20160245624
Kind Code A1
Haasnoot; Philip Ian ;   et al. August 25, 2016

ADAPTIVE TARGET TRAINING SYSTEM

Abstract

There is provided an adaptive target training system, that comprises electronic target trainers with multicolor output areas and target areas within a defined area that are configured to be illuminated by target emitters in training scenarios. The target devices are configurable to provide training scenarios and in certain embodiments, gather metrics and interact with other devices through a network connection.


Inventors: Haasnoot; Philip Ian; (Chandler, AZ) ; Renner; Corey Thomas; (Chandler, AZ) ; Darienzo; Richard; (Patchogue, NY)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Haasnoot; Philip Ian
Renner; Corey Thomas
Darienzo; Richard

Chndler
Chandler
Patchogue

AZ
AZ
NY

US
US
US
Family ID: 1000001919584
Appl. No.: 14/996098
Filed: January 14, 2016


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62103978Jan 15, 2015

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: F41J 5/14 20130101
International Class: F41J 5/14 20060101 F41J005/14

Claims



1. A system comprising: a target trainer device, comprising: a display/target area having an array of LED's and an array of sensors co-occupying a defined area; an onboard processor; non-volatile memory; a wireless transceiver circuit, a battery and battery management system; and user interface; wherein the target trainer device is configured to interact wirelessly with one of a network hub/server, a mobile communication device, and a second target trainer device; wherein the onboard processor is configured to execute software instructions to: illuminate one or more light generating devices within the display/target area of the target trainer device to provide input to a trainee; monitor light strikes received by light sensors within the display/target area; and track performance of a trainee with respect to performance criteria established for a target scenario.

2. An electronic target for firearms training, comprising: an array of individually addressable zones, each said zone may be capable of detecting visible or invisible light and displaying hits or other data through a visible or invisible light emitting element; wherein: said visible elements are capable of producing multiple wavelengths of light; said visible elements may display static or animated images; said images may span one or more said electronic targets; said electronic target may be capable of display while simultaneously sensing external events; said external events may be specific to sensors in a specific zone on said device, or said external events may be specific to the device and not to a zone on the device said external events may be visible or invisible light said visible or invisible light may have data encoded within it for purposes of distinguishing between one or more sources striking said electronic target, or said external events may be pressure applied to a said addressable zone, or said external events may be sound, or said external events may be acceleration applied to said electronic target, or said external events may be distance to said electronic target, and distance to said electronic target may be used as an aid to placement of electronic target said external events may be a data transmitted wirelessly from an emitter manipulated by the operator, or said external events may be sensor or other data transmitted from another electronic target or network device which may communicate over wires or wirelessly with said electronic target, and said electronic target may react differently depending on the type of said external events being sensed, and said electronic target may react differently depending on the data that may be encoded within said external event.

3. The electronic target of claim 2, further comprising: said electronic target may be capable of storing metrics related to accuracy and speed, and said metrics may be for one operator or multiple operators, and said electronic target may display these metrics on said electronic target, and said electronic target may be capable of transmitting metrics related to accuracy and speed to an external device or network for storage or analysis said electronic target may be capable of having new training scenarios and modes loaded onto it either through wires or wirelessly, and said electronic target may be capable of displaying other information such as time, date or images when not being used for firearms training, and said electronic target may be capable of displaying "hits" in a different addressable zone than the one that detected the "hit" to simulate the effects of environmental factors such as gravity or wind, and said electronic target may have the ability to display images which are to be "hit" or "no hit" to condition operator to think before responding, and said electronic target may dynamically change display from "hit" to "no hit" or from "no hit" to "hit" to simulate rapidly changing circumstances.
Description



CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/103,978 filed Jan. 15, 2015, titled, "Adaptive Training Laser Target System," the disclosure of which is fully incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to systems and methods for increasing firearm and tactical proficiency while maintaining or improving safety, cost, speed, and reliability. More particularly, aspects of the invention address an integrated laser target training system with networked components, adaptive training capabilities, and metric tracking and reporting.

[0004] 2. Background of the Invention

[0005] It is well known that to maintain and improve competence in handling and using firearms, continued training is necessary. Law enforcement officers, members of the military, and civilian weapon owners all frequently engage in "range time" to try to develop vital skills in safe weapons handling and accuracy during fire. As a result, the continued training process involves firing a live weapon repeatedly at a stationary target. The downsides to this training approach are evident. Ammunition cost is at an all-time high while the supply is at a historic low. Shooting live weapons requires a safe shooting range, and time and location can restrict training flexibility. Firing live weapons also subjects the weapons to expected wear and tear, further increasing maintenance costs. Even when prior art electronic targets are used in lieu of live fire practice, lack of flexibility further hampers the ability of the user to improve skill. Even more problematic, static targets used in weapons training such as simple paper targets or other unsophisticated electronic target areas leave it up to the shooter to track results and attempt to determine how to improve performance. Further still, the environment of a shooting range also makes it difficult for weapon holders to practice important skills in multiple target acquisition and tracking, and unsophisticated electronic targets fail to provide necessary configuration and tracking to allow users to improve vital skills.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] One aspect of the present invention provides a system to increase firearm and tactical proficiency while maintaining or improving safety, cost, speed, and reliability. Additionally, the current geopolitical climate creates a need for a training system that is able to adapt to ever more complex scenarios. Embodiments of the present system can be configured to adapt to any users training requirements while leaving room for expansion, thus allowing users to scale the system from small to vast deployments. The present invention allows users in different geographical locations to train together, or in competition with one another which is not a possibility with any prior live or dry fire training system. Embodiments of the present invention also have a full color display and sensor array that are user configurable allowing trainees to have rich, engaging, and dynamic experiences. Components of the present invention may or may not be wirelessly connected using a network protocol, and in certain embodiments, mesh network technologies are utilized to configure the present invention, using protocols such as WI-FI, Bluetooth, ZigBee, FM, Microwave, or others. Using such networked embodiments, the present invention provides unidirectional and/or bidirectional communication for control and data acquisition.

[0007] Embodiments of this invention may include a target trainer that includes of an array of LED's and an array of sensors co-occupying a defined target/display area. Exemplary target trainers of the present invention include an onboard processor, wireless functionality, battery, battery management system, and user interface. The target trainers may include wireless charging, extendable batteries, and mounting/connection options. Various embodiments of the target trainers may contain multicolor display elements and sensors for detecting one or more of a user position, motion, and distance and or location of the user in relation to aspects of the system.

[0008] Laser emitting devices that comprise aspects of the present system may include batteries, wireless charging, processors, and wireless communication. Aspects of laser emitting devices of the present invention track metrics using onboard and external sensor networks. Embodiments of laser emitting devices of the present invention may be configured to include hardware and control components to generate simulated recoil through electrical or mechanical means.

[0009] Expanded modules for the system of the present invention include the capability to control and interact with robotic motion systems, ambient environment detection, building automation integration, and hardware and software to gather statistics in a network configuration.

[0010] One preferred embodiment of an aspect of the present invention may be referred to as the "ATLAS-08." The ATLAS-08 is a fully programmable adaptive laser training target; users have full control over the 64 full color pixels and sensor array. The ATLAS-08 can detect red, green, blue, and infrared laser emitters while differentiating between lasers and flashlights to enable true low/no light training scenarios.

[0011] Designed to meet IP67 standards for dust immunity and water submersion down to 1 meter these rugged targets can follow the user into the field to take dry-fire training outdoors. ATLAS-08 targets are wireless enabled and can be easily deployed in large scale operations to create sophisticated training environments. ATLAS-08 targets are capable of interfacing with WiFi and Bluetooth LE in conjunction with extended range mesh networking provides a robust solution for any scale deployment. In addition to wireless loading, training programs can be loaded onto the target trainer device and operated via the on-board navigation buttons if operation from a PC/Mobile device is not an option or is otherwise undesirable.

[0012] Through use of a mobile or desktop application, the user can control the training environment while also receiving real time feedback (Draw stroke, split times, accuracy, etc.). Metrics can be tracked over time (optional) providing users with a real data set to track their progress and ensure that they are operating at the peak of their skill set. The on-board rechargeable battery in one embodiment provides for up to eight hours of training and can be recharged in under three hours through either USB or charging cradle.

[0013] The ATLAS-08 trainer target includes a 1/4-20 UNC mount on the bottom of the device for mounting to tripods, RAM mounts, or any standard camera mounts to give the user an ability to mount your trainers to suit the user's individual needs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] A more complete understanding of the present invention may be derived by referring to the detailed description and claims when considered in connection with the following illustrative figures. Unless indicated otherwise herein, identical reference numerals between figures illustrate the same or similar components between the provided views.

[0015] FIG. 1 illustrates a top plan view of a target trainer of the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 2 depicts a side view of the target trainer of FIG. 1, from direction line A-A'.

[0017] FIG. 3 illustrates a back side plan view of the target trainer of the present invention.

[0018] FIG. 4 shows a side view of the target trainer opposite that shown in FIG. 2.

[0019] FIG. 5 shows a top perspective view from the right side of the target trainer.

[0020] FIG. 6 shows a bottom perspective view for the right side of the target trainer.

[0021] FIG. 7 shows an elevational side view of the right side of the target trainer 100.

[0022] FIG. 8 shows a top perspective view from the left side of the target trainer.

[0023] FIG. 9 shows a bottom perspective view for the left side of the target trainer.

[0024] FIG. 10 shows an elevational side view of the left side of the target trainer 100.

[0025] FIG. 11 illustrates a system network diagram of an embodiment of the present invention, showing optional configurations such as a local/WAN network with local/remote control and data acquisition.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

[0026] Both the foregoing summary and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention as claimed. When referring to aspects of the present invention, the terms "electronic target" and "target trainers" or simply "targets" may be used interchangeably within context.

[0027] There is provided an adaptive electronic target training system. A target trainer interacts with an emitter device as components of a more comprehensive system as shown in FIG. 11 and as described more fully herein.

[0028] A target trainer of the present invention is depicted in FIGS. 1-10 FIG. 1 shows a top plan view of a target trainer of the present invention. In various embodiments, the trainer is a portable (for example, having dimensions of about 6 inches by 4.5 inches, by 1.2 inches), lightweight (for example, about 12 ounces), and weather resistant electronic device. The target trainer 100 comprises a housing 105 with a display area 115 comprising an array of light sensors and light emitters 155 that are capable of sensing an emission from a light emitter of the present invention, and then generating an output pattern of lights in response to a processor and software configured within and in communication with the display/target area 115 of the target trainer. For reference, from the user's front view, the target trainer 100 has a left side 160 and a right side 170. The target trainer 100 further comprises a user interface area 120 that may include buttons 125 for user configuration and input.

[0029] FIG. 2 shows an end view of a target trainer of the present invention, including docking/charging/expansion port 205 that allows, in some embodiments, for the target trainer to be docked and a rechargeable battery in the device to be recharged through the port 205. Also shown is a mechanical connector that allows, in certain embodiments, to accept a 1/4'' 20 UNC tripod mount screw to allow the target trainer to be mounted on commonly available hardware such as tripods and flexible mounting devices.

[0030] FIG. 3 illustrates a back side plan view of the target trainer 100, showing a rear access panel 310 that is configured in some embodiments, to provide access to an internal battery, internal interfaces such as memory card connectors, internal maintenance, or any combination thereof. FIG. 4 shows a side elevational view opposite that of FIG. 2.

[0031] Additional views of a target trainer of the present invention are shown in FIGS. 5-10. FIG. 5 shows a top perspective view from the right side (170) of the target trainer. FIG. 6 shows a bottom perspective view for the right side (170) of the target trainer, and FIG. 7 shows an elevational side view of the right side (170) of the target trainer 100. FIG. 8 shows a top perspective view from the left side (160) of the target trainer. FIG. 9 shows a bottom perspective view for the left side (160) of the target trainer, and FIG. 10 shows an elevational side view of the left side (160) of the target trainer 100.

[0032] FIG. 11 depicts a system 1100 showing several optional network configurations of target trainers and network components. Target trainers 100A, 100B, 100C may be wirelessly connected to other devices and to a network 1110 (which in some embodiments may comprise the Internet), though any desired wireless protocol such as WiFi, cellular telephony protocols, Bluetooth, WiBree, Zigbee, and the like. Those of skill in the art appreciate while wireless connections provide preferred embodiments, target trainers of the present invention may be connected through a wired connection such as 802.11 Ethernet, USB, serial busses, or the like. Network connections are shown in dotted lines in FIG. 11, and are intended to be bidirectional but may comprise one-way connections as the situation requires.

[0033] Target trainer 100A is shown as not connected to any peer devices, but can be connected through network 1100 to a server 1130, which is configured to accept performance data and metrics collected by the target trainer 100A, and can provide configuration data to be downloaded to provision the target trainer 100A with operating software/firmware along with configuration data for a training session. Metrics gathered and stored by target trainer 100A (or any of the target trainers 100A, 100B, 100C) may be relayed and stored in the sever 1130, which may also comprise a portable hub.

[0034] Multiple target trainers may also be interconnected in any desired manner, such as a star configuration 1100B, or a mesh configuration 1100C. By interconnecting target trainers 100C as mesh peer devices 1100C or trainers 100B in a central star configuration 1100B, a peer or master-slave arrangement can provide methods to relay information between devices so that a multiple target scenarios can be configured. In such a manner, a person undergoing training can be provided multiple target trainer devices along with programmed challenges to use an emitter device to illuminate particular targets in particular sequences; accordingly, metrics can be tracked to monitor the shooter's performance.

[0035] The system 1110 is also shown to be in wireless communication with mobile devices 1120, 1130, in which software applications are installed. The mobile devices 1120, 1130, which may comprise smart phones executing iOS, Android, or any desired operating system, are configured by the installed software to control target trainers 100A, 1008, or 100C, to configure and/or initiate training sessions, gather metrics, or any other function to control desired training scenarios.

[0036] Exemplary Target Trainer Interaction with Laser Emitters

[0037] Referring to the various figures and FIG. 11 in particular, an electronic target trainer (100, 100A, 100B, 100C) utilizes a display/target area 115 to prompt a response from the operator. Unlike prior systems which reward any "hit" on target, electronic target trainers of the present invention reward a "hit" when the illumination by the emitter device strikes the correct response (the correct area of the display/target area 115 with the indicated timing or indicated no-fire order) as well as when light from the emitter device strikes the correct area or areas of the target area 115 of the target trainer. This makes the present invention much more valuable as a training aid since in the real world, reacting by pulling the trigger is often not the correct response. The laser emitter can take the form of an inert cartridge that can be installed in a conventional firearm, or it can replace an entire subassembly of the firearm, such as the slide or bolt, or it can be a complete standalone item such as an inert training pistol, rifle, shotgun, etc. The electronic target can not only register light from the emitter striking the addressable zones of the target area 115, but can also detect a wireless data packet which may contain not only a unique identifier, but also secondary information including, but not limited to location, movement and round count. The electronic target in the display target area 115 also has the ability to recognize light of varying wavelengths and intensities, this permits the target trainer 100 to recognize ambient lighting conditions as well as being illuminated by a flashlight and it has the ability to respond in varying ways depending upon the nature of the stimulus. The electronic target trainers also have the ability to communicate with each other wirelessly and can use this ability to enable more complex training scenarios including those where a stimulus to one target causes a reaction on another, or multiple targets. The target trainers may also be aggregated into a larger display, which may be created by combining displays that are identical or not identical and may be located directly adjacent to each other or some distance away. The target trainer may differentiate between different light sources by measuring the wavelength or by decoding information that has been encoded onto the beam for purposes of identification. The target trainer may store performance metrics such as, but not limited to accuracy, hit region and reaction time. These metrics may be displayed on the target or transferred to another target trainer, hub, server, or mobile device for storage, recall and evaluation. The target trainer may have the ability to be updated with additional training scenarios and methods of operation when connected with wires or wirelessly. The target trainer may also receive information from sources other than the main display screen, this includes, but is not limited to information from other targets, other networked devices such as tablets, smart phones, personal computers add-on sensors such as sound or ultrasonic as well as secondary wireless transmissions from laser emitters such as acceleration to measure and account for `flinch" or other factors affecting accuracy.

[0038] Exemplary Training Modes

[0039] Embodiments of systems of the present invention are configured to allow multiple training modes and scenarios to be implemented. Exemplary scenarios are provided below.

[0040] Reaction Mode

[0041] This training mode is designed to be used for the improvement of the trainee's users draw stroke, reaction speed, and split times (when using multiple targets). This mode when a user is practicing draw from concealment, testing new equipment for the right adjustment and placement, or to build general muscle memory and form. Tracking metrics in this mode can provide a historical data set to visualize muscle memory improvement and draw stroke refinement over time.

[0042] Trainee Starts with an UNLOADED or INERT training handgun in a holster or an UNLOADED or INERT training long gun at a low-ready stance.

[0043] Trainee Initiates the Reaction mode and waits for a visual and/or audible prompt to engage target.

[0044] A successful hit on the target within the `Hit` region will stop the timer and record the Metrics.

[0045] Hostage Mode

[0046] This mode encourages the trainee to make quick decisions as to which targets should or should not be engaged, combined with the need to place precise shots on the appropriate areas of the target. This mode is designed to increase speed of target recognition and requires the trainee to practice adjusting for Height-Over-Bore at varying distances. Metrics can be tracked in this mode to know split times, reaction speed, overall accuracy, number of `shoot` vs `no-shoot` areas struck.

[0047] Trainee Starts with an UNLOADED or INERT training handgun in a holster or an UNLOADED or INERT training long gun at a low-ready stance.

[0048] Trainee Initiates the Hostage mode and waits for a visual and/or audible prompt to engage target.

[0049] A successful hit on the target within the `Hit` region will stop the timer and record the Metrics.

[0050] Color of `hit` and `no-hit` regions is at user's discretion.

[0051] Memory Mode

[0052] This mode is designed to improve cognitive function and memory by making the trainee memorize a sequence of colors, the trainee must then engage the targets in the correct sequence in order to pass; hitting an incorrect color will fail the trainee. This mode can be run on multiple targets and include stationary/moving targets to increase difficulty.

[0053] Trainee Starts with an UNLOADED or INERT training handgun in a holster or an UNLOADED or INERT training long gun at a low-ready stance.

[0054] Trainee Initiates the Memory mode and waits for a visual and/or audible prompt. The target will cycle through three colors with an associated auto prompt; these colors must be remembered in the correct order.

[0055] The target will illuminate with several colored boxes and each box must be hit in the correct color sequence to pass.

[0056] Crowd Mode

[0057] When confronted with confusing and constantly evolving situations the correct response is not always to shoot. This mode is designed to test trainees with numerous targets that will change over time, the trainee must assess targets not only by the color but minor differentiating features to determine if they are `hostile` , `friendly`, or `neutral` and engage accordingly. Targets can be set to update randomly or change in response to feedback from trainees to create a realistic crowd environment and increase trainees ability to assess evolving situations with multiple targets.

[0058] Trainee Starts with an UNLOADED or INERT training handgun in a holster or an UNLOADED or INERT training long gun at a low-ready stance

[0059] Trainee Initiates the Crowd mode and waits for a visual and/or audible prompt to engage targets.

[0060] Hits on "Hostile", "Friendly", and "Neutral" are recorded. Method of completing training mode can be user-set (I.e. end on "Friendly" hit, end on X "Hostile" hits, etc.)

[0061] Shot Placement Modes

[0062] This mode is designed to give real time feedback of shot-placement and group size, targets can be configured to give a visual prompt indicating "Threat" or "Non-Threat" or no visual prompt prior to engaging the target. Shot placement can be displayed in real-time or set to display after the training has finished if instant feedback is not desired. Shot placement can be displayed in solid colors, colored according to distance from center, or visualized as a "Heat Map" to show historical patterns. Metrics can be tracked over time and visualized to show form improvement, trigger discipline, and grip patterns over time.

[0063] Trainee Starts with an UNLOADED or INERT training handgun in a holster or an UNLOADED or INERT training long gun at a low-ready stance.

[0064] Trainee Initiates the Accuracy Mode and waits for a visual and/or audible prompt to engage target.

[0065] A hit on the target will display where the shot would have impacted. Visual feedback can be in real-time or after-action at the discretion of the trainee.

[0066] Trainees can visualize their shot placement in a "Heat Map" mode to show more detailed weapon manipulation habits.

[0067] Multiple-Hit Scenarios

[0068] This mode is designed to practice placing multiple shots on multiple targets this mode can display a number from 0-9 and must be hit that number of times as quickly as possible. The targets can also be set to display a shape and conceal the number of hits required from the trainee to add a level of uncertainty; they will visually and/or audibly alert the trainee that the target was struck the correct number of times. Multiple trainers can be deployed that require the trainee to engage them from left to right, right to left, in another specific pattern, randomly, or at their discretion. Metrics tracked in this mode are used to analyze the trainee's response time, split times, trigger control, and their ability to respond to changing situations.

[0069] Trainee Starts with an UNLOADED or INERT training handgun in a holster or an UNLOADED or INERT training long gun at a low-ready stance.

[0070] Trainee Initiates the Multiple Shot Mode and waits for a visual and/or audible prompt to engage target.

[0071] A hit on the target will generate an audible and/or visual feedback to alert that it was struck, once the target has been engaged the correct number of times a visual and/or audible response will be generated depending on how the training is configured.

[0072] Numbers can be scaled to different sizes and colors to suit training environment

[0073] The particular implementations shown and described above are illustrative of the invention and its best mode and are not intended to otherwise limit the scope of the present invention in any way. Indeed, for the sake of brevity, conventional data storage, data transmission, and other functional aspects of the systems may not be described in detail. Methods illustrated in the various figures may include more, fewer, or other steps. Additionally, steps may be performed in any suitable order without departing from the scope of the invention. Furthermore, the connecting lines shown in the various figures are intended to represent exemplary functional relationships and/or physical couplings between the various elements. Many alternative or additional functional relationships or physical connections may be present in a practical system.

[0074] Changes and modifications may be made to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the scope of the present invention. These and other changes or modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention, as expressed in the following claims.

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