Right up until 9:14 PM on November 22nd, 1987, what appeared on Chicago’s television sets was somewhat normal: entertainment, news, game shows. That night, as usual, Dan Roan, a popular local sportscaster on Channel 9’s Nine O’Clock News, was narrating highlights of the Bears’ victory over the Detroit Lions. And then, suddenly and without warning, the signal flickered up and out into darkness.
Motherboard’s Brian Merchant spent a month living on nothing but Soylent, the futuristic meal-replacement drink. Watch the documentary
Today, applied technology startup TrackingPoint Solutions is working tirelessly to turn novice shots into precision snipers.
The company made headlines in early 2013 when it unveiled the precision guided firearm (PGF). Think of it as a long-range, laser-guided robo rifle—as much Linux-based computer as traditional firearm. The PGF’s closed-loop system comprises not just the gun itself, a custom Surgeon rifle, but also custom ammunition and, notably, a proprietary (and WiFi-enabled) scope. The technology packed into TrackingPoint’s initial PGF package is so advanced that we’d heard it could have an inexperienced shooter, maybe even someone who hasn’t ever fired a gun, putting lead on targets at over 1,000 away in mere minutes.
In spring of 2013, Texas-based start up TrackingPoint Solutions released the first ever precision-guided firearm, which is essentially a long-range, laser-guided robo rifle. Call it the gun of tomorrow: The technology is so advanced we’ve heard it can have beginners killing at extreme distances with single-shot accuracy in mere minutes.
The PGF’s closed-loop system is based off jetfighter lock and launch technology, something TrackingPoint CEO Jason Schauble says not only marks the next great paradigm shift in the evolution of firearms—it helps users make ethical kill shots too. But critics of the PGF platform, no doubt part and parcel of a rising tide of intelligent killer apps, say the gun, or rather its proprietary scope, marks the dawn of “skill-free killing”.
In LONG SHOT Motherboard visits West Texas, the frontline of smart weapons. We get a backcountry crash course through the PGF, hear about TrackingPoint’s plans to apply its system to a veritable suite of advanced weaponry, all built on custom software that promises to have novice shots like us to killing at 1,000 yards—and in the near future, potentially 3,000 yards—with single-shot accuracy, and try to untangle an increasingly knotty firearms debate in light of the so-called gamification of killing and, sadly, yet another mass shooting.
Has killing become too easy?
Introducing Hello NSA – Generate a sentence guaranteed to catch the government’s attention.
Every year, a massive “dead zone” blooms in the Gulf of Mexico. Inside its amorphous boundaries almost all life is extinguished.