Smartphone Gunfire Tracking

Gunshot detection systems use geographically distributed microphones and audio analytics to help pinpoint the origin of gunshots in cities. Typically, these systems consist of a 'mesh' of mics installed throughout cities on poles. However, a university is looking to port the technology to smartphones:

"...an associate professor of electrical and computer science at Vanderbilt has been working for several years on an alternative: an affordable hardware module for an Android smartphone that could do something similar but from mobile positions. "If you put this on squad cars or actual officers," he says, "then you are much better off."

see: Could Your Smartphone Help Police Track Gunfire?

The article describes that while the technology is being developed, it still faces some big obstacles before becoming mainstream, notably:

  • "Smartphones alone could be used for shot detection," Ledeczi explains, "but typically people carry it in their pocket, and having the microphone on would kill your battery" so developers have opted for a separate mic module.
  • "The smartphone system needs several nodes in order to pinpoint a shooter’s location. As a result, it is best suited for security teams or similar groups." So it takes several separate devices running the software to return a valid result.

Do you think this is useful? Would you use your personal phone for this? What problems or limitations do you see?

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