US20160298930A1 - Target practice system - Google Patents

Target practice system Download PDF

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US20160298930A1
US20160298930A1 US14/685,068 US201514685068A US2016298930A1 US 20160298930 A1 US20160298930 A1 US 20160298930A1 US 201514685068 A US201514685068 A US 201514685068A US 2016298930 A1 US2016298930 A1 US 2016298930A1
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Prior art keywords
target
image
user
optical sensing
sensing unit
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US14/685,068
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Carl Wesley Squire
Jamey Joseph Cates
David James Howarth
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Carl Wesley Squire
Jamey Joseph Cates
David James Howarth
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Priority to US14/685,068 priority Critical patent/US20160298930A1/en
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41GWEAPON SIGHTS; AIMING
    • F41G3/00Aiming or laying means
    • F41G3/26Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying
    • F41G3/2616Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying using a light emitting device
    • F41G3/2694Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying using a light emitting device for simulating a target
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41GWEAPON SIGHTS; AIMING
    • F41G3/00Aiming or laying means
    • F41G3/26Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41GWEAPON SIGHTS; AIMING
    • F41G3/00Aiming or laying means
    • F41G3/26Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying
    • F41G3/2616Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying using a light emitting device
    • F41G3/2622Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying using a light emitting device for simulating the firing of a gun or the trajectory of a projectile
    • F41G3/2627Cooperating with a motion picture projector
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41GWEAPON SIGHTS; AIMING
    • F41G3/00Aiming or laying means
    • F41G3/26Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying
    • F41G3/2616Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying using a light emitting device
    • F41G3/2622Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying using a light emitting device for simulating the firing of a gun or the trajectory of a projectile
    • F41G3/2655Teaching or practice apparatus for gun-aiming or gun-laying using a light emitting device for simulating the firing of a gun or the trajectory of a projectile in which the light beam is sent from the weapon to the target
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41JTARGETS; TARGET RANGES; BULLET CATCHERS
    • F41J5/00Target indicating systems; Target-hit or score detecting systems
    • F41J5/02Photo-electric hit-detector systems
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41JTARGETS; TARGET RANGES; BULLET CATCHERS
    • F41J5/00Target indicating systems; Target-hit or score detecting systems
    • F41J5/10Cinematographic hit-indicating systems
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41JTARGETS; TARGET RANGES; BULLET CATCHERS
    • F41J9/00Moving targets, i.e. moving when fired at
    • F41J9/14Cinematographic targets, e.g. moving-picture targets
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41JTARGETS; TARGET RANGES; BULLET CATCHERS
    • F41J5/00Target indicating systems; Target-hit or score detecting systems
    • F41J5/08Infra-red hit-indicating systems
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41JTARGETS; TARGET RANGES; BULLET CATCHERS
    • F41J5/00Target indicating systems; Target-hit or score detecting systems
    • F41J5/14Apparatus for signalling hits or scores to the shooter, e.g. manually operated, or for communication between target and shooter; Apparatus for recording hits or scores

Abstract

A target practice system includes a target, a first optical sensing unit that views an image on the target, a second optical sensing unit that views a user of the target system, and a data processing unit that communicates with the first optical sensing unit and the second optical sensing unit. The image on the target is either a static or dynamic image that changes over a defined time period, and an algorithm may be implemented in the data processing unit to analyze the image to determine shots on the image. The algorithm may also analyze a user image of the user captured by the second optical sensing unit to identify characteristics of the user.

Description

    FIELD
  • The present disclosure relates to a target practice system.
  • BACKGROUND
  • The statements in this section merely provide background information related to the present disclosure and may or may not constitute prior art.
  • Many different types of firearm training systems exist to develop and maintain proficiency in the uses of firearms. For example, in both civil and military firearm shooting training, static shooting practice is well known. In such systems, the target remains stationary while a law enforcement officer, a member of the military or a sportsman engages in target practice by shooting a firearm at the target. Not all real-life targets, however, remain stationary. Rather, typical real-life targets move relative to the shooter. Accordingly, dynamic firearm training systems have been developed in which the target moves while the shooter aims and shoots at the target. Such systems are generally costly and non-portable because they require specialized targets and equipment.
  • SUMMARY
  • In one aspect, a target practice system includes a target, a first optical sensing unit that views an image on the target, a second optical sensing unit that views a user of the target system, and a data processing unit that communicates with the first optical sensing unit and the second optical sensing unit. The image on the target is either a static or dynamic image that changes over a defined time period, and an algorithm may be implemented in the data processing unit to analyze the image to determine shots on the image. The algorithm may also analyze a user image of the user captured by the second optical sensing unit to identify characteristics of the user.
  • Unlike other systems that rely on a x-y coordinate system and mandates either scoring relative to a fixed position (for example, 2 inches up, 1 inch right) or with basic geometric shapes (for example, circles, squares, or other shapes), the target practice system can score targets with arbitrary shapes. The target practice system's scoring process eliminates the need to create mathematical equations to describe the scoring area, thereby allowing complex shapes to be easily scored. This approach also makes it possible to determine coordinates from a bulls-eye or even a user-selected center point on the target.
  • In another aspect, a method of scoring a firearm target system includes generating an image on a target, viewing the image with an optical sensing unit, aligning the image on the target with fiducials, analyzing the image with an algorithm in a data processing unit to determine shots on the image, and masking the image to visualize a specific scoring area such that the algorithm analyzes shots in the specific scoring area.
  • Further features, advantages, and areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. It should be understood that the description and specific examples are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.
  • DRAWINGS
  • The drawings described herein are for illustration purposes only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure in any way. The components and features in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the views. In the drawings:
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a target practice system in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 illustrates the target practice system in use;
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate variations of an image employed to calibrate the target practice system;
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a raw image captured with the target practice system;
  • FIG. 5 illustrates possible distortions of an image;
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a corrected image after applying camera calibration;
  • FIG. 7 illustrates the corrected image after being aligned and scaled;
  • FIGS. 8A and 8B illustrate the alignment of the image by employing a single fiducial marker;
  • FIGS. 9A-9D illustrate the alignment of the image by employing multiple fiducial markers;
  • FIG. 10 illustrates the alignment of the image by employing an array of fiducial markers;
  • FIGS. 11A-11C illustrate the alignment of the image by employing multiple transformed fiducial markers;
  • FIGS. 12A-12C illustrate the alignment of the image by employing angled fiducial markers;
  • FIGS. 13A-13C illustrate the alignment of the image by employing various single, multiple and arrayed fiducial markers;
  • FIG. 14 illustrates an initial target image;
  • FIG. 15 illustrates a current target or follow-on image with projectile holes;
  • FIG. 16 illustrates a filtered target image highlighting the difference between the images shown in FIGS. 14 and 15;
  • FIG. 17 illustrates a current session scoring template;
  • FIG. 18 illustrates the filtered target image with an isolated scoring area;
  • FIG. 19 illustrates an updated current session scoring template with projectile holes;
  • FIG. 20 illustrates a new initial image for a subsequent round;
  • FIG. 21 illustrates a new current or follow-on image with new projectile holes;
  • FIG. 22 illustrates a filtered target image highlighting the difference between the images shown in FIGS. 20 and 21;
  • FIG. 23 illustrates the filtered target image with an isolated scoring area showing the new projectile holes;
  • FIG. 24 illustrates an updated current session scoring template identifying the new projectile holes along with the previous projectile holes;
  • FIG. 25 is a flow diagram illustrating the calibration process of the target practice system;
  • FIG. 26 is a flow diagram illustrating the selection of a course of fire (CoF) with the target practice system;
  • FIG. 27 is a flow diagram illustrating the execution of CoF sequencing, image capture and scoring detection;
  • FIG. 28 is a flow diagram illustrating the scoring detection process with the target practice system; and
  • FIG. 29 is a flow diagram illustrating a process that generates the scoring template.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The following description is merely exemplary in nature and is not intended to limit the present disclosure, application, or uses.
  • Referring now to the drawings, a target practice system embodying the principles of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 and designated as 10. In various arrangements, the target practice system is a target scoring and dynamic imaging system that does not require special targets, target backings, and sensors, and can be employed with target sizes ranging from millimeters to several meters. The target practice system 10 also does not require any modifications to a projectile source or projectile. The target practice system 10 can be employed with actual firearms or simulated fire arms, such as, for example, a laser emitting device.
  • In the arrangement shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the target practice system 10 includes a data processing unit 12, such as, for example, a computer. The data processing unit 12 includes input/output devices 14, a central processing unit 16 and a video display 18. The data processing unit 12 further includes memory 20, such as, for example, a non-transitory computer readable mechanism, that stores the software algorithm or program for the operation of the target practice system 10. The data processing unit 12 interfaces with a first optical sensing unit 22, a target projection unit 24 and a second optical sensing unit 26. The data processing unit 12 can be a PC or comparable computing device. The video display 18 and the input/output devices 14 provide a user interface with a user or person 30 shooting a firearm 31 (or similar facsimile thereof capable of placing a mark on the target, possibly temporarily).
  • The first optical sensing unit 22 can be one or more target focused optical sensing units, such as, for example digital cameras or digital video cameras that are capable of capturing images of a known target 32 displayed or placed on a surface 34 located at a variable distance from the target projection unit 24 to determine the accuracy of projectile strikes (whether simulated or real) generated by the firearm 31. The target projection unit 24 may be optional and may include one more target image projection units that projects the target 32. The second optical sensing unit 26 may also be optional and may include one or more shooter focused optical sensing units, such as, for example digital cameras or digital video cameras directed at the person 30 to capture images of the person, such images being used to identify characteristics of the person 30, such as, for example, position, stance, motion and/or reflexes of the person 30.
  • Various arrangements of the target practice system 10 are contemplated. For example, the first optical sensing unit can be a static camera or a video camera that enables rapid target scoring. The target projection unit 24 can be a projector that enables dynamic target image creation. The target practice system 10 can include one or more auditory devices that further enable interaction between the person 30 and the target practice system 10. Multiple systems 10 can be linked together via, for example, a network to create larger shooting scenarios. Such an arrangement may enable remote coaching, interactive shooting, and virtual shooting leagues. Multiple target projection units 24 may be employed to increase the number of targets and their locations. Additional input/output devices 14 may include, for example, buttons, pedals, voice/audio input, light flasher, and other video displays. The target practice system 10 can include a combination of any of the aforementioned features.
  • During the operation or use of the target practice system 10, the first optical sensing unit 22 may include camera(s) and lens(es) that capture images of the target 32. These cameras and lens can have a direct impact on image accuracy. For example, lenses can be corruptive, particularly near the edges of the captured image. Hence, cameras used within the target practice system 10 are calibrated to ensure that the images are not distorted or otherwise made inaccurate.
  • Accordingly, the first optical sensing unit 22 is initially focused on an image surface containing a checkerboard pattern 40 as shown in FIG. 3A. Focusing of the first optical sensing unit 22 can be achieved automatically or manually. The target practice system 10 initiates a calibration sequence describe in detail below whereby the checkerboard pattern 40 is positioned at various orientations 42 (FIG. 3B) relative to the first optical sensing unit 22 such that sequential images are captured and correction parameters are determined.
  • After the calibration of the target practice system 10, the system triggers the first optical sensing unit 22 to either automatically or by prompting the person 30, to initiate an image capture sequence of an image. For example, when the target practice system 10 is employed as a firearm target shooting and training system, the initial image will be that of a shooting target. Note that the initial image is uncorrected and considered a raw image 46 as shown in FIG. 4.
  • FIG. 5 shows common image distortions of an image 49 corrected by the target practice system 10, including pincushion distortion 50 and barrel distortion 51. As shown in FIG. 6, the target practice system 10 applies the corrective calibration parameters determined earlier to the raw image 46 shown in FIG. 4 to generate the corrected image 48 that is free of image deformities introduced by the first optical sensing unit 22.
  • After the corrected image 48 is generated, the target practice system 10 scales and aligns the corrected image 48. Specifically, the target practice system 10 applies a rectification process in two steps (FIG. 7) to the corrected image 48 to ensure the image and target-scoring template are precisely aligned and scaled into the image 52. The rectification algorithm described below compensates for shifts in the corrected image 48, whether due to movement of the first optical sensing unit 22 or raw image 46. The rectification process also aligns the corrected image 48 to the target-scoring templates' frame of reference and, as needed, scales the corrected image and the target-scoring template to larger or smaller frame of reference to eliminate offsets, improve pixel count, or reduce image size for more rapid processing.
  • The first step of the rectification process is to determine the trans-position coordinates of the corrected image 48. This step can be achieved in various ways. For example, as shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B, the target practice system 10 uses a single fiducial marker 56 (that is, a registration mark) either affixed to or projected as part of the physical target image 48. The target practice system 10 employs a fiducial recognition algorithm to precisely obtain the coordinates of the fiducial marker 56 and uses these coordinates to precisely overlay the target-scoring template.
  • In another arrangement of the target practice system 10, alignment is achieved using multiple fiducial markers 57, as shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B, which are either affixed to or projected as part of the physical targets 48 and 52. Employing multiple fiducial markers 57 enlarges the coordinate space utilized for alignment. Multiple fiducial markers 57 also provide a more robust coordinate field and overcomes the potential issue of an occlusion of one or more markers 56 (for example, a fiducial marker that is obstructed from view or damaged from a projectile). Further, the target image 52 can be sectioned into quadrants (FIG. 9D) and each section separately aligned and rectified. Note that the “corner” locations of each fiducial marker 56 (FIG. 9C) do not have to form a square or a rectangle. The target practice system 10 employs a fiducial recognition algorithm to precisely obtain the coordinates of the fiducial markers 56 and uses these coordinates to precisely overlay the target-scoring template.
  • The target practice system 10 may align the target image with the use of an array of fiducial markers 62 (FIG. 10) that are either affixed to or projected as part of the physical target. Using an array of fiducial markers 62 further enhances the coordinate space utilized for alignment and provides additional redundancy in overcoming occlusions of the fiducial marker array 62. The system uses a fiducial recognition algorithm to precisely obtain the coordinates of the fiducial markers and uses these coordinates to precisely overlay the target-scoring template.
  • In another arrangement of the target practice system 10, alignment is achieved using multiple transformed fiducial markers that are either affixed or projected as part of the physical target. For example, the fiducial markers can be arranged as petals 72 shown in FIG. 11A, or the fiducial markers can be arranged as markers 74 and 76 shown in FIG. 11B. This approach permits more robustness and precision in detecting the corner position of the fiducial markers. The transformed fiducials markers can be spread out or spaced on the target image as desired, for example, as shown in FIG. 11C. Alternatively, the fiducial markers can be multiple fiducial markers 80 (FIG. 12A), including a center fiducial marker 82 surrounded by additional markers 81. These markers can be angled as shown specifically in FIGS. 12B and 12C. The target practice system 10 employs the fiducial recognition algorithm to precisely obtain the coordinates of the fiducial markers and uses these coordinates to precisely overlay the target-scoring template.
  • In yet another arrangement of the target practice system 10, alignment is achieve with the use of a combination of various single, multiple, and arrayed fiducial markers that are either affixed or projected as part of the physical target as shown in FIGS. 13A-13C. Using a multi-marker field allows utilization of finer orientation heuristics (that is, experience-based problem-solving and analysis). Whether mixed in a multi-marker field or spread across the target image, identifying specifically which corner or part of the multi-marker field allows further predictive interpolation and further searching for any fiducials not initially found. The system uses a fiducial recognition algorithm to precisely obtain the coordinates of the fiducial markers and uses these coordinates to precisely overlay the target-scoring template.
  • After the trans-position coordinates are determined, the second step of the rectification process applies these coordinates to the corrected image 48 and the image is scaled, as needed, to precisely overlay the target-scoring template, yielding a fully aligned and scaled target image. The rectification process can also be used to scale the target-scoring template in combination with the image. When the image and target-scoring template are jointly scaled to a larger dimension, the resulting target image yields higher pixel density for more robust hit detection. Conversely, when the image and target-scoring template are jointly scaled to a smaller dimension, the resulting target image contains fewer pixels to process and can be used to display the target image more rapidly for review.
  • When four points are identified or derived, such as, for example, four corners or four fiducials or virtual fiducials, a 3×3 matrix can be employed to transform a set of source coordinates (x, y, 1) into destination coordinates, namely:

  • [x′]=[v00 v01 v02][v00x+v01y+v02]

  • [y′]=[v10 v11 v12][v10x+v11y+v12]

  • [w]=[v20 v21 v22][v20x+v21y+v22]
  • Note that, typically, there may not be enough pixels in the source or target image. As such, an interpolation can be applied to fill in missing pixels in the transformed image.
  • When only three points are utilized, w is set to 1 for all of the source or target image pixels such that the transformation matrix is reduced to:

  • [v00 v01]

  • [v10 v11]

  • [v20 v21]
  • Details of above described transformations can be found at http://docs.opencv.org/modules/imgproc/doc/geometric_transformations.html, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 25-29, there is shown a sequence of processes that are implemented with the target practice system 100 in various arrangements. FIG. 25 shows a calibration process 1000 for the optical sensing unit(s), e.g. the first optical sensing unit 22. In a step 1002, the process 1000 determines the specific optical sensing unit's correction parameters and generates these parameters 1004 for a process 1010 (FIG. 26) that determines a specific course of fire (CoF) setting.
  • The process 1010 begins in a step 1012 in which the CoF is selected by the user (for example, the person 30 shown in FIG. 2), and this selection is implemented in a step 1014. In a decision step 1018, the process 1010 determines if the selected CoF contains scaling detection. If the decision is “No”, the process 1010 proceeds to a step 1020 where the process 1010 obtains the firearm caliber input information from the user. From step 1020, the process 1010 proceeds to step 1022 and receives the first optical sensing unit calibration parameters 1004 and determines the session settings in a step 1016.
  • If the decision in the step 1018 is “Yes”, the process 1010 proceeds to a step 1022 where the process 1010 executes the CoF sequencing, image capture, and scoring detection. At the completion of step 1022, the process 1010 proceeds to the step 1014 where a new CoF may be selected.
  • The process details associated with step 1022 are shown in FIGS. 27-29. Specifically, the process 1022 is initiated in a step 1024 and the sequence number is set to “0” in a step 1026. In a step 1028, the process 1022 determines if dynamic images are used and if so displays the corresponding image for a defined duration as defined in the CoF definition for this particular sequence. In a step 1030, the process 1022 obtains the raw image 46 (FIGS. 4 and 6). Next in a step 1032, the first optical sensing unit correction calibration parameters are applied to the raw image 46 to obtain the corrected image 48 (see, for example, FIGS. 6, 7, 8A, and 9A). The process 1022 proceeds to a step 1034 to generate an aligned and scaled image 52 (see, for example, FIGS. 7, 8A, 9B-9D, 10, 11C, and 13A-13C) employing the two step rectification process described earlier.
  • After the target image 48 has been aligned and scaled (that is, into image 52), the process 1022 for the target practice system 10 scores the target in a step or process 1036 described below. Further, this process applies to both projected images and pre-printed paper targets.
  • After the process 1022 has obtained a score, the process 1022 proceeds to a step 1038 where the user interaction device(s) are updated with the current score. The process 1022 then determines if the defined display duration has expired in a decision step 1039. If the defined duration has not expired, then process 1022 returns to step 1030. If the defined duration has expired, the process 1022 then increments the sequence number in a step 1040. If the process 1022 determines in a decision step 1042 that the sequence number is greater than or equal to the CoF definition, the process 1022 returns to the CoF selection in a step 1044. If the process 1022 determines in step 1042 that the sequence number is not greater than or equal to the CoF definition, the process 1022 returns to step 1028.
  • In various arrangements of the target practice system 10, the target scoring detection step 1036 proceeds according the process according to the flow diagram shown in FIG. 28. The process 1036 initiates in a step 1052 and proceeds to a decision step 1054 where the process determines if the sequence number is zero or greater than zero. If the sequence number is zero, the process 1036 proceeds to a step 1058 where the current image is stored as an initial target image 52 (see, for example, FIG. 14). Then in a step 1060 the process 1036 sets all scoring results to zero. Subsequently, the process sets the current session scoring templates equal to the CoF definition in a step 1062 and prompts the user in a step 1064 to continue with the CoF if applicable. Then in a step 1066, the process 1036 returns the results to the CoF sequencing.
  • If the decision step 1054 determines that the sequence number is not zero, the process 1036 proceeds to a step 1056 where a current image 152 (see, for example, FIG. 15) is stored as a follow-on image. Next, in a step 1068, the process 1036 performs a comparison between the current or follow-on image 152 (FIG. 15) with the initial image 52 (that is, the previous image FIG. 14). In a step 1070, the process 1036 filters the follow-on image and stores the results as a filtered target image 153 (FIG. 16)
  • In sum, step 1068 of the process 1036 determines the difference between successive target images by comparing a starting or initial target image 52, for example, with no projectile holes (FIG. 14), with a follow-on image 152, for example, with four projectile holes 154 (FIG. 15), and step 1070 applies a filtering algorithm to find any differences between the images (that is, FIGS. 14 and 15) and generates the filtered target image 153 (FIG. 16). The initial and follow-on target images can be successive images or separated by an extended period of time, depending on the shooting sequence selected by the user.
  • After generating the filtered target image 153 shown in FIG. 16, the process 1036 proceeds to a step 1072 where the filtered target image 153 is scored. The process then returns the scoring results to the CoF sequencing in a step 1066.
  • The step 1072 proceeds according to the process identified in the flow diagram shown in FIG. 29. The process 1072 initiates in a step 1082 and sets the template number to zero in a step 1084. In a step 1086, the process 1072 loads a template from the CoF definition and assigns the template as the current session scoring template 162 (FIG. 17). Next, in a step 1088, the process 1072 isolates the scoring area (FIG. 18) using the current session scoring template 162. In a step 1090, the process 1072 detects the projectile hole(s) based on the session caliber of the firearm, and in a step 1092 updates the results for the template. In a step 1094, the process 1072 updates the current session scoring template 162 with the detected projectile holes 154 (FIG. 19). The process 1072 proceeds to a decision step 1096 to determine if the last template was employed for this sequence. If the decision is yes, the process 1072 proceeds to a step 1098 where the results are returned to the scoring detection process 1036. If the decision is no, the process 1072 proceeds to a step 1100 where the template number is incremented and then returns back to the step 1086 where the incremented template becomes the current session scoring template.
  • The sub-processes 1036 and 1072 can be repeated to isolate and score new projectile holes created during successive rounds of shooting. For example, in a following round, the previous follow-on image 152 with four holes 154 (FIG. 15) becomes the new initial image (see, for example, FIG. 20) and a new current image 252, for example, with two new projectile holes 155, becomes the new follow-on image (see, for example, FIG. 21) in the step 1056 of the process 1036. Step 1068 of the process 1036 performs a comparison between the new follow-on image 252 (FIG. 21) and the new initial image 152 (FIG. 20), and step 1070 applies the filtering algorithm to find differences between the images in FIGS. 20 and 21 generates a filtered target image (see, for example, FIG. 22) for the current round of shooting that shows both the previous projectile holes 154 and the new projectile holes 155. The process 1072 receives the new filtered target image information and processes the information according to the steps described earlier. For example, step 1088 isolates the scoring area (see, for example, FIG. 23) using the current session scoring template 162 described above. In step 1090, the process 1072 detects the projectile hole(s) based on the session caliber of the firearm, and in step 1092 updates the results for the template 162. In step 1094, the process 1072 updates the current session scoring template 162 with the new detected holes 155 (FIG. 24). The step 1096 determines if the template is the last template. The step 1100 increments the template number if the template is not the last template, and the step 1098 returns the results to the scoring detection process if the template is the last template of the sequence.
  • The target practice system 10 is capable of projecting various target types, styles, and locations onto a surface at variable distances. The target practice system can use projected targets in place of physical targets (for example, pre-printed bulls-eye paper targets). Users can select or create a wide variety of targets, ranging from classic bulls-eye targets to self-defense training targets. The target practice system's ability to project targets eliminates, or significantly reduces, the need for the user to walk down-range and manually position physical targets. As an area on the target surface becomes filled with holes from projectiles, the user can shift the projected target to a different part of the target surface area.
  • In some arrangements, the target practice system 10 employs dynamic projection to present various target types and styles, target locations, and number of targets at any moment, including the ability to “move” the target across the target surface by sequencing different images (that is, similar to “flipbook” animation to simulate motion). The target practice system 10 can vary the length of time target(s) are shown and can also increase or decrease target sizes to simulate the effect of being closer or farther from the actual target. The combination of these capabilities enables the target practice system 10 to offer a wide variety of shooting simulations and scenarios, including random target sequencing by location, display time, and size, practicing at different simulated distances even if the actual target surface distance is unchanged, and shooting at targets in motion.
  • When two or more target practice systems 10 are networked together, the systems permit users in separate geographic locations to shoot at a common target. This feature enables a number of training and practice scenarios.
  • For example, a classic shooting competition involves two people shooting at a “Shooting Tree” that typically consists of three or more targets aligned vertically on either side of a post. Each target can swing horizontally to the other side of the post when struck by a projectile. Each shooter attempts to strike the targets on their respective side of the post to swing the target on to their competitor's side of the post. At the end of a timed period (for example, 20 sec), the person with the fewest number of targets on their side of the post wins the game.
  • In a particular scenario, two users of separate target practice systems 10 both select the multi-user capability (for example, shooting-tree), and choose to initiate the interaction. When both users are ready, both target practice systems 10 start the interaction at the same time (via: buzzer, light, projected signal, etc.), and initiates a count-down. Both target practice systems 10 project the same target to both users, for example, the same number of vertical targets for both users on each side of the post. Both users then fire at will, and each target practice system uses its scoring algorithm multiple times per second to determine if its shooter has hit a vertical target. If a target practice system detects a successful hit: 1) that system will change its projected display to show the vertical target moved to the opponents side of the post; 2) it will communicate to the opponent system that there was a successful hit; and 3) the opponent system will also change its projected display to show the vertical target moved to its shooters side of the post. When the count-down runs out of time, the winner is detected as the shooter with the fewest vertical targets on his/her side of the post.
  • In another scenario, for example, for law-enforcement training, the arrangements of the target practice system 10 enables “live” training of officers in different hostile situations. For example, the “Trainee” officer uses one target practice system 10, while the “Trainer” (bad-guy) officer uses a second target practice system 10. Each system 10 uses an additional video camera, which captures the live video of its user, then transmits it to the other system 10 to be displayed/projected. This enables the Trainer and Trainee to be in different geographic locations. The Trainer can initiate different threat situations that the trainee has to respond to. For instance, the Trainer can reach into his pockets to present a weapon, or to pull out a cell phone. The video of the Trainer is transmitted live to the target practice system of the Trainee. The Trainee's target practice system 10 displays this video as the target for the Trainee. The Trainee needs to respond in the appropriate manner. If the Trainee fires at the target, the image of the target and shot hole are captured by the target practice system 10, and is then scored to determine if it is a hit.
  • Also, the Trainer can use a “live hostage” as part of the training. The “bad-guy” trainer+hostage video is transmitted to the Trainee's system for the Trainee to learn the difficulty of making a hostage-rescue shot.
  • The target practice system 10 can be employed in an immersive target environment. For example, with the addition of one or more projectors, target surfaces, and computer processing units, the target practice system 1-provides a range of multi target, interactive target environments suitable for advanced training exercises.
  • The target practice system 10 provides automated, real-time feedback and tips to improve the users shooting skills. The target practice system analyzes shot patterns to determine if the user needs to modify the way in which the user holds and manages the firearm (for example, grip, trigger finger placement, etc.). These patterns are easily detectable once a series of the shots are captured. Feedback and tips are provided using both audio and visual display and can be saved along with the users overall score.
  • With the addition of a second video camera positioned to monitor the user, the target practice system 10 can also provide a visual record for the user to evaluate their technique (for example, stance, hand/arm position, etc.).
  • The target practice system 10 enables remote coaching for a user by allowing a coach to have the ability to create targets and a shooting/training sequence uniquely for each client. Targets and sequences are transmitted into the target practice system 10 for the user. Results can also be sent to the coach in real-time during the session or afterwards for analysis and feedback. With the addition of a second camera focused on the user, a coach can watch the user in real-time and provide real-time coaching from a different geographic location. The coach can give feedback to the user on shooting position, stance, grip, arm position, weapon presentation from a holster, etc.
  • The target practice system 10 provides the ability to track, display, and record the time between individual shots, allowing users to receive shot timing for their shooting sequences. The target practice system can be manually triggered to begin analyzing shot timing or provide an automated display and/or audio prompt to users as part of a programmed shooting sequence. Given the high rate of speed in which the system analyzes target images, the target practice system 10 can record individual hits on a target, which allows precise timing between each shot to be provided to the user. Shot timing is displayed by the target practice system and also saved in combination with the users overall shooting score.
  • For example, in a particular scenario, the user selects the option of Shot-Timing, and indicates to the target practice system 10 that he/she is ready to start. The target practice system 10 initiates the start of the shooting sequence and generates a sound using a buzzer or speaker. The target practice system 10 can also project/display a start command or utilize the projection of the target as the start time. For instance, the target practice system 10 can display a “blank” target area. To start the sequence, the target practice system displays the actual target, and the user knows that the time tracking starts the moment the target is displayed. The target practice system 10 remembers the exact start time, and begins to track the subsequent elapsed time. The target practice system 10 begins to take individual pictures multiple times per second, to detect if a hole from a shot appears and time-stamps each picture. The user then makes the shot(s), while the target practice system 10 has been taking individual pictures (multiple per second) and applying shot detection. If a projectile hole appears, the target practice system 10 checks the time-stamp of the picture and determines the amount of time elapsed since the shooting sequence was initiated, which is the amount of time for the shot. The shooter can make multiple shots, and the target practice system 10 will have the elapsed time since the initiation of the shooting sequence and the elapsed time since the last shot. The target practice system 10 displays the elapsed time information to the user, as well as the shot scoring information.
  • In various arrangements of the target practice system 10, at the completion of a shooting sequence, the system can save and, if connected to a network, transmit scoring results to the user for review and self-analysis.
  • The target practice system 10 enables target scores from multiple shooters to be transmitted and stored in such a way to enable a virtual competitive environment (for example, a virtual shooting league). This capability enables people in multiple geographic locations to compete with one another on standardized target sequences.
  • The target practice system 10 allows users to create targets and scoring regions employing simple, commercially-available drawing software programs for use on standard personal computers. Targets saved in a standard format, such as XML or JPEG, can be easily imported into the target practice system 10 using e-mail, blue tooth, WiFi via mobile phone, or any other suitable device. Since the target practice system 10 is not limited to using standard geometric shapes, users can create, import, and use complex targets such a game animal to practice shot placement for hunting.
  • The description of the invention is merely exemplary in nature and variations that do not depart from the gist of the invention are intended to be within the scope of the invention. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Claims (22)

What is claimed is:
1. A target practice system comprising:
a target;
a first optical sensing unit that views an image on the target, the image being a dynamic image that changes over a defined time period;
a second optical sensing unit that views a user of the target system;
a data processing unit that communicates with the first optical sensing unit and the second optical sensing unit; and
an algorithm implemented in the data processing unit, the algorithm analyzing the image viewed by the first optical sensing unit to determine shots on the image, the algorithm also analyzing a user image of the user captured by the second optical sensing unit to identify characteristics of the user.
2. The target system of claim 1 further comprising a projector that generates the image on the target, the projector communicating with the data processing unit.
3. The target system of claim 1 wherein the algorithm is software algorithm stored in a non-transitory computer readable mechanism associated with the data processing unit.
4. The target system of claim 1 wherein the target system is connected to a network.
5. The target system of claim 1 wherein multiple target systems communicate with each other through the network.
6. The target system of claim 1 wherein either or both the first optical sensing unit and the second optical sensing unit is a static camera.
7. The target system of claim 1 wherein either or both the first optical sensing unit and the second optical sensing unit is a video camera.
8. The target system of claim 1 further comprising a user interface between the user of the target system and the data processing unit.
9. The target system of claim 8 wherein the user inputs image commands through the user interface to enable the user to select a target image, the data processing unit sending signals associated with the image commands to the projector such that the image generated by the projector is the target image.
10. The target system of claim 8 wherein the user interface provides feedback to the user.
11. A method of scoring a firearm target system comprising:
generating an image on a target;
aligning the image on the target with fiducials;
viewing the image on the target with an optical sensing unit;
analyzing the image viewed by the optical sensing unit with an algorithm implemented in a data processing unit to determine shots on the image; and
masking the image to visualize a specific scoring area, the algorithm analyzing shots in the specific scoring area.
12. The method of claim 11 wherein the algorithm is software algorithm stored in a non-transitory computer readable mechanism associated with the data processing unit.
13. The method of claim 11 wherein the image is generated with a projector.
14. The method of claim 13 wherein the image is a dynamic image that changes over a defined time period.
15. The method of claim 11 further comprising capturing images of a user that shoots at the target with a second optical sensing unit.
16. The method of claim 11 wherein the target system is connected to the network with at least one other firearm target system.
17. The method of claim 16 wherein users of the target system communicate with other target systems through the network.
18. The method of claim 11 wherein a user of the target system inputs image commands through a user interface to enable the user to select a target image, the data processing unit sending signals associated with the image commands to a projector with generates the image, the image being the target image.
19. The method of claim 18 wherein the user interface provides feedback to the user.
20. The method of claim 11 wherein the optical sensing unit is a static camera or a video camera.
21. The method of claim 11 further comprising creating targets and a shooting/training sequence by a coach for a user.
22. The method of claim 21 further comprising sending results to the coach in real-time for analysis and feedback.
US14/685,068 2015-04-13 2015-04-13 Target practice system Abandoned US20160298930A1 (en)

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US20150285592A1 (en) * 2014-03-17 2015-10-08 James Napier Systems and methods for automated coaching of a shooter
US20170176127A1 (en) * 2004-12-03 2017-06-22 Bob Ferris Simulated firearms entertainment system
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WO2019190413A1 (en) * 2018-03-29 2019-10-03 Kurbel Matej Projection interactive target
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US10789729B2 (en) * 2017-12-07 2020-09-29 Ti Training Corp. System and method(s) for determining projectile impact location
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US20170176127A1 (en) * 2004-12-03 2017-06-22 Bob Ferris Simulated firearms entertainment system
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US10012475B2 (en) * 2014-03-17 2018-07-03 Meggitt Training Systems, Inc. Systems and methods for automated coaching of a shooter
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US10789729B2 (en) * 2017-12-07 2020-09-29 Ti Training Corp. System and method(s) for determining projectile impact location
WO2019190413A1 (en) * 2018-03-29 2019-10-03 Kurbel Matej Projection interactive target
US10876819B2 (en) * 2018-09-03 2020-12-29 Rod Ghani Multiview display for hand positioning in weapon accuracy training
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