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Shown uppermost is the first prototype of a handheld artillery spotting device developed as a student capstone project at West Point. The blue board to upper left is pretty clearly an Arduino Mega. You can see, in the near upper corner of that board, where the DC power jack has been desoldered and the pads hardwired (presumably) to a battery pack.. The system, called DemonEye, is now reportedly undergoing field testing:

West Point cadet Derek Wales, an electrical engineering major, was watching Internet video of a firefight in Afghanistan and saw that U.S. soldiers pinpointing enemy snipers for artillery fire were fumbling with GPS equipment and compasses. Wales, with fellow EE majors John Eischer and George Hopkins, designed a lightweight target-location module. Called DemonEye, the device incorporates a laser rangefinder, digital compass, GPS and mini computer to calculate target locations rapidly and accurately. Using commercial off-the-shelf components, the DemonEye prototype cost $1,000.

Hack a Day reader and cybersecurity blogger Miguel A. Hernandez gets credit for the spot. Good lookin’ out, Miguel!

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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Comments

  1. As soon as somebody does this up with an Ardweeny, Yoda can say “Begun, the clone wars have.”

  2. GCM says:

    this sucks… on open-source license’s it should be clear that devices made using it’s technology should NOT be used to KILL other human beings…

    1. this guy says:

      Read again. It’s an artillery SPOTTING device. Not an artillery deployment device. It purpose is to save our boys not kill them.

      Now… Homework time… Find any period in recorded history where there was not war on this planet. Good luck!

      1. Well, as I read it, the device is a laser designator, which means that it is used on the offensive end of artillery.  However, in response to GCM, the military will probably not want to use open-source anyway. This is just a prototype, they’re not going to go into production based on using Arduinos, and if (for some reason) they want to make their final product Arduino-compatible, I believe they would have to open source their designs. This is also true for most other open-source projects: the CC-BY-SA license makes a closed-source alternative more attractive. 

      2. GCM says:

        Oh, my bad. So it’s being used to HELP people KILL people… in that case it’s OK… ¬¬

        You know what could save “our boys”? Not supporting a war mongering state. Sorry if I have no sympathy for your oil-wars.

        And yes, you’re right. Unfortunately some humans beings aren’t evolved enough to be able to live in peace. But it doesn’t harm anyone to dream (and share that dream) about a different world.

        But hey… if I went back some 50 years and told people that we would be developing technology and knowledge and sharing it FOR FREE I would probably also be called insane (or stupid).

        1. Scott Yeager says:

          You don’t have to support these “oil wars.”  How about YOU pay for my gasoline when its $100.00 a gallon?

          Do you enjoy things made of plastic?  Yeah, same deal.  Do you like to fly places?  Same deal.  Tires for your car?  How about buying *ANYTHING* that was shipped from outside the country, or even from a neighbor state?  Increased oil prices have a direct negative impact on EVERY aspect of your tree hugging life.

          1. GCM says:

            Scott, your arguments are so childish I won’t even try to argue. If you believe those things justify war, I feel sorry for you and for people who die fulfilling your desire to consume while being called “your boys”.

            And I’ll end my commenting here… it’s turned into too much of a flamewar.

            Apparently my view is contrary to most of you, since I believe in the best of human nature, not the worst. I just feel that Open Source is something that gives me hope on mankind, and developing war weapons with it clashes with it’s ideal. My 2 cents. No need to get pissed at me. (and please, don’t bomb my country. thank you.)

          2. GCM says:

            Scott, your arguments are so childish I won’t even try to argue. If you believe those things justify war, I feel sorry for you and for people who die fulfilling your desire to consume while being called “your boys”.

            And I’ll end my commenting here… it’s turned into too much of a flamewar.

            Apparently my view is contrary to most of you, since I believe in the best of human nature, not the worst. I just feel that Open Source is something that gives me hope on mankind, and developing war weapons with it clashes with it’s ideal. My 2 cents. No need to get pissed at me. (and please, don’t bomb my country. thank you.)

        2. Why do you get to decide?

          As long as he isn’t trying to sell his invention, what does it matter if its open source or not.  The main idea of open source has everything to do with OPEN.  Just like second-guessing the inventors of the atom bomb we will have the luxury of debating the morality of their decisions after the fact.  But, if you take up arms against me, I should have the option to use whatever means necessary to defend my self and kind.  This designator could also be used to target some type of non-lethal weapon as well as classic artillery.If development isn’t allowed because of some individual concept of ‘morality’, the idea and the creator are crushed, much to everyone’s loss for future projects.  Remember, the first computers were used to calculate ballistics tables, and GPS was used for military targeting.I agree that if it goes forward, the military will use ‘closed source’ solutions for the final product, just to make sure it meets MIL specs for durability, etc…

    2. Capt.tagon says:

      Welcome to human nature. Anything’s potentially a weapon…

      The oil-wars support creating the plastics used in your toys.