SmartSight: Rifle Mounted Camera

From Popular Science

It consists of a wireless video camera mounted to the rail of an M4 or .308 SOCOM carbine, a small computer worn on a military vest, and a thumbnail-size color head-up display affixed to a pair of protective glasses. In effect, SmartSight turns the muzzle of an assault rifle into a third eye—a soldier can crouch behind a blockade, stick his weapon over his head, and shoot his target with the same accuracy as if he were taking aim normally. “No other weapons sight can do that,” Hagerty says. “What you see is what you get.”

Hmmm … I am skeptical.

[ Many thanks to Mik for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • SpudGun

    I share your scepticism, even the most simple electronic device (such as an EoTech) gets shaken apart by the pressures and recoil from an M4. I can’t see how they’ve made the electronics robust enough to survive.

  • discretion

    This scope with port for exterior monitor can do the same thing.

  • J.T.

    This seems pointless since the Land Warrior system the military is working on allready incorperates a day/night camera system in place of a rifle scope. Seems to me this guy saw what the military is doing and just decided to build one for himself.

  • Tahoe

    Soooo….it’s just a less-rugged, less-capable (although lighter) version of the Land Warrior thermal sighting system? Wow, nobody has ever thought of such a thing before!

    Except all the people like a friend of mine who did much the same thing on his own weapon with the guts of a camcorder. About 4 or 5 years ago.

    How is this innovative?

  • subase

    The technology is already available and very cheap. So I don’t see how this could be a problem. It just needs to be ruggedized for combat use.

    I prefer those attachable periscope sights you put on your rifle. They seem much more portable and robust.

    But on the other hand this system would allow true instant switch capability between shooting from the weapons sight and shooting around corners with a periscope device. Also it’s nice too in the sense it could offer night vision capabilities or infra red illumination capabilities in a pinch. (The computer would switch instantly if there wasn’t enough light)

    Saying that it would need to be integrated very well into a weapon systems use in combat conditions, otherwise it may be more of a liability than asset.

    Also a nice little pinhole camera attachment to peek around corners would be a simple addon.

  • Sian

    If it’s wireless, it better be strongly encrypted.

    I think the military’s already learned their lesson about that.

  • This guy actually was one of the early designers of the land warrior system, and went off on his own b/c he didnt like the approach land warrior was taking. Now that LW has been cancelled, his approach of a gun specific system that is wireless and that has NO video lag, is a big difference.
    LW instead had a helmet full of geewhiz electronics for radio, satellite uplink, GPS, etc and the LW system had a wire running from the gun to the helmet and the video lagged from realtime by about .3 seconds, enough for the human brain to notice and enough to make hitting a target tough. This is a wireless optic system just for the rifle.
    He is working on making everything smaller and more robust, but in the article they say he has been using the unit with some success among testers.
    My main issue is that the camera on the front of the gun in the pic I saw is huge (its about the size of a kleenex box) and adds at least 1 lb to the end of the barrel. He needs to work on those aspects.

  • shockfish08

    Didn’t we already try this with the Land Warrior system?

  • Andreas

    I saw this in a magazine somewhere, and the big shtick about it is that the system is wireless and has a lot of bandwidth between rifle-mounted camera and eyepiece, leading to a relatively high resolution picture with effectively no latency between the two.

    I don’t know if Land Warrior is wireless, but if it isn’t, this is the main differentiating factor.

  • Big Daddy

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to shoot a 7.62mm NATO short barreled weapon with your thumb, do you?

    Too much weight on the end of the weapon. Plus what is the effective range? Can you hit a target 100 meters away or more? Or is it for CQB? Why the big lens, to me that’s an issue in the field right there.

  • subase

    I think the big camera is just due to him using a homemade shock absorbing casing and normal wireless camera.

    It would be actually quite difficult to manufacture a shock proof wireless camera since to my knowledge they don’t exist yet outside the military, his prototype is just the proof of concept, he needs investment to create the final product, where it will n doubt be much much smaller.

    Such a camera hooked up to some headgear/eyewear would be very versatile. It can be made quick detachable, and attached on a pistol when needed, or a long stick for some spying. It should be seen as a covert information gathering device as well as a gun camera.

  • AK™

    That gun he’s using,it’s a Canon™..!! LOL

    I’d like to see Maria Sharapova try and sell the Canon Rifle Mounted Camera setup..