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Digital time stamp bullets

Determine with good accuracy when a bullet was fired.
  [vote for,

Combining MMIC and MEMS, an acceleration actuated switch in a bullet toggles a circuit that begins a counter. A high level of acceleration is necessary to start the counter. Once the counter starts, it does not stop. Because the feature size of the components is so small, there is little chance of the components being damage by the shock of the powder ignition or bullet impact with a target.

The counter runs freely until the battery dies. This is a slow counter requiring a minimum of power, so the battery should last a long time. When a bullet is found, it can be dissected and the MMIC device can be analyzed in the lab.

Epimenides, Dec 01 2003

'Smart' guns http://news.bbc.co....americas/663992.stm
[Klaatu, Oct 04 2004]

(?) Godwin's Law http://info.astrian...g/Godwin_s_Law.html
This isn't Usenet, but still... [darksasami, Oct 04 2004]


       So you're suggesting that each bullet contain a small timing device? I don't know that that is the best approach, considering how distorted or fragmented a bullet can become upon reaching its target. I thought this idea would be about a time-stamp in the gun itself, which labelled each bullet as it was fired. I like that idea.   

       By the way, and this is no offence to you, but take a look at the fishbone count for this category. Your chances of success in here seem slim.
Overpanic, Dec 02 2003

       Wouldn't it be easier to have something within the gun itself that would scratch an I.D. time stamp on the bullet as it left the weapon? The timekeeper would be within the gun and a series of marks would correlate to hh/mm/ss dd/mm/yyyy. Many companies use a simple coding system to tell date of manufacture, batch & location. I don't see why this couldn't be done. Have the timepiece sealed within the gun. Every time the bolt was pulled, it could impart a small charge to keep the timepiece going.   

       Or, we could do the sensible thing and register all guns.
Klaatu, Dec 02 2003

       Scratching an ID on it has the same problem: bullets tend to run into things and go all mushy.   

       I'm trying to come up with something clever involving a small amount of radioactive material, in which the rate of decay changes when the bullet is separated from the shell, but the mechanism is just not coming to me. If somehow the shell shields or inhibits the decay...? I'm afraid I am strong in the ways of ignorance, but I really think there's something there.
darksasami, Dec 02 2003

       //considering how distorted or fragmented a bullet can become upon reaching its target//
<conspiracy>I know a bullet that went straight through a president, twice, and once through John Connelly, and looked like it had never been fired when presented as evidence. </conspiracy>
Fishrat, Dec 02 2003

       BANG BANG on the door baby.
lizziepunkin, Dec 02 2003

       Why do you want to know when a bullet was fired?
NotSoQuick, Dec 02 2003

       True, I do not want to discuss politics or religion; I just had a flash of inspiration and had to share it.   

       Time of fire would just add to the forensic evidence; it may make time of death easier to figure out if it is related to time of fire.
Epimenides, Dec 02 2003

       I'm just honored to be a rose among fishbones in a difficult category. Beginner's luck!
Epimenides, Dec 02 2003

       Instaed of a battery you could use something that is chemically reactive with air or maybe something with a short half life ???   

       Then you wouldn't have to worry about batteries, you wouldn't have to worry about damage to the circuits and the bullets wouldn't cost that much more.
SystemAdmin, Dec 02 2003

       It's pretty easy to cast your own bullets and assemble your own cartridges, so this could be easily bypassed by the bad guys. Any stamping mechanisim in the gun could be easily disabled. Guns are really quite simple devices, and it's naive to think that criminals wont be able to get around safegaurds like this.
toiyabe, Dec 02 2003

       //Any stamping mechanisim in the gun could be easily disabled//   

       Not necessarily. I saw a hand gun which had an integral gun lock built in and that could not be bypassed. I'm searching for the link.
Klaatu, Dec 02 2003

       Further to Klaatu's 'ID scratcher' suggestion: as with so many of life's conundra, the answer lies not in the realm of the digital, but in clockwork.   

       Continually turning around the inside of the barrel at differing rates are several gouges of varying widths, which will score the bullet in a unique, time-dependent pattern as it leaves the gun.   

       The mechanism itself is battery-powered, as is the failsafe mechanism to prevent the gun being used without a working time-stamp. As long as the failsafe is still 'on', the gun owner can recharge it at home (perhaps by induction in his gun cabinet), but if the battery is allowed to run out, the gun must be taken back to a licenced retailer to have the timer reset.   

       Admittedly, this would add significant mass to the weapon, but that just makes it easier for the shootee to run away, which is no bad thing.   

       As for the argument that bullets go mushy (which just makes me think of "Bugsy Malone"), if ordinary barrel marks are sufficiently preserved to identify the gun from which it was fired, then surely the bullet would retain marks placed there deliberately.
friendlyfire, Dec 02 2003

       "Smart Guns" may prevent an unauthorized user from simply picking up a gun and firing it, but given an hour and a file that stuff can be defeated. Worse comes to worse you take it to ye olde machine shoppe. Sure it would be illegal to do so, but that won't stop a criminal.   

       As for the rotating gouge mechanisim, the simplest thing would be to take a file and modify the pattern enough to obfuscate it. Might not fool someone with access to the gun, but it would surely muck up the marks it leaves on a bullet enough that the time and original ID of the gun couldn't be determined.
toiyabe, Dec 02 2003

       [friendlyfire] came up with the suggestion I was going to make. Use a binary code to scratch the date, time, gun serial number or whatever on the bullet as it's fired. You could even have the gun count how many bullets it has fired, making it a little easier to tie a particular bullet to a particular gun.
phoenix, Dec 02 2003

       If one knew the time for firing and the time of death it would be possible by incorporating the velocity of the bullet to determine how far away the killer was.
KiwiJohn, Dec 02 2003

       <rant> Good idea [Klaatu], we could register all guns! But now that I think of this, some guy all ready tried this before, forget his name... Oh that's right; Hitler... Oh yes, very sensible indeed...   

       Besides, if a person was going to commit a crime, would they go out and buy something like this? Sure, if you somehow managed to confiscate all guns in [insert your country here], there might be a small chance, but nothing is stopping them from taking the id device off, or making their own.   

       And as [toiyabe] suggested, some one could just make their own bullets.   

       Besides, the History channel frequently does shows on guns, and, you can register guns with the markings it leaves on the shell casing and the marks between grooves and lands. But, as they proved, 2 minutes (yes two) with a file and you could scratch up the firing pin and, if accuracy is no big deal (I assume that the criminal is not an Olympic competitive shooter) put a notch in the crown.   

       And [KiwiJhon], unless you knew the time of death (to be precise the time of impact, they could be shot and die 2 weeks later) it would have to be upwards of hundredths of a second to be any accurate. And unless you have a chronograph / high-speed camera on site, it ain't gonna happen. <end rant>   

       sigh, to much 1984 for me...
thelambs, Dec 02 2003

       Not sure how this turned into a political debate. Oops. Anyways, about the embedded device I mentioned a long time ago...
Epimenides, Dec 02 2003

       Well, certain people, who shall remain nameless, banned certain other people from a certain debate forum and a certain person is really in an argumentative mood! OK?! About the embedded device, and no ofence to you, it wouldn't ever work, and I don't mean that it wouldn't work physically, just the concept is useless. Criminals will get around the safety measure, or make/import guns. Someone, anyone, try to prove me wrong pleaseeeeee...
thelambs, Dec 02 2003

       "Pardon me, do you have the time?"
"Certainly... one moment..."


       "Ah... yes, it's 2:10."   

       There's a Farmer John idea in here somewhere. The arrangement of shot inside the shell is mechanically adjusted every second so that the gun shoots a dial pattern of the correct time into the target.   


       "Damn, my revolver is two minutes fast."
waugsqueke, Dec 02 2003

       Ahh, the brilliant mind of a criminal. I failed to take that into account. Like the criminal who tried to beat open the locked cash register with his shotgun and shot himself in the stomach.   

       There's always someone who will circumvent something. Just an idea.
Epimenides, Dec 02 2003

       [UnaBubba], I really meant that first part as a sarcastic justification of me participating in a "political debate". Not really serious you know :) Usually never am. Besides, everything I say isn't serious, exept for that, and that, and that, (hmm how can I get out of this endless loop?) exept for that times infinity. :P
thelambs, Dec 02 2003

       I agree with [UB] that removing guns is the best option.   

       Normally, I would have fishboned any gun ideas because of my beliefs. This idea has merit. I agree with [FF] that many bullets remain intact enough to still allow forensic testing. If the bullets can be encoded with binary scratches then <rant> we would have at least taken a small step towards ending the wholesale slaughter of our people. <rant>   

       [Epimenides] I applaud you efforts and ideas. Please don't stop thinking in this way.
Klaatu, Dec 02 2003

       It's quite amazing the extremes that the Micro Electro Mechanical Systems can endure; temperature, shock and MTBF testing. There are RF MEMS switches that have been tested to many billion cycles. This device would only need one cycle. If the notion of a battery in a bullet seems unrealistic, consider embedding in or circumscribing around the bullet a loop of wire. Magnetize the barrel, throw an RC circuit in the bullet, add a nonlinear device for clamping the voltage and suddenly the bullet charges its own embedded circuit. The RC decays in a predictable fashion.
Epimenides, Dec 02 2003

       Why/how ban guns? It is proven that in countries where guns are banned crime INCREASES. If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. How can law abiding citizens protect themselves against fully armed criminals with guns? Make guns harder to get? Wouldn't that increase crime even more?   

       Need I point out prohibition? (for those of you not fluent in American history the government banned alcohol in the mid 19 hundreds for a short period of time, this caused many crimes involving illegal alcohol being smuggled)   

       Needless to say the multiple times it was stated that bullets could just be casted by the criminal. And then their is (at least in the U.S.) our right to bear arms. Sorry for the rant, really. I just haven't heard any sensible ideas mentioned in this thread. No offence to anyone, seriously.
thelambs, Dec 02 2003

       //Why/how ban guns? It is proven that in countries where guns are banned crime INCREASES.//
Where is it proven?
This is one stat I have never seen.
sufc, Dec 03 2003

       Forget where exactly, I will be sure to post details tommarow. You could google the phrase though...
thelambs, Dec 03 2003

       Another idea I had was to inject the bullet with aged cheese. See if that helps.
Epimenides, Dec 03 2003

       Holy khrap [UnaBubba] you have a lot to say in your Description! A riot! This is probably not the proper forum for such a compliment, but neither is it the forum for another gun control debate.
Epimenides, Dec 03 2003

       I don't see what the big fuss is all about. Simply make watches that run off human microcurrents. That way, the time of death would be forever recorded as when the watch stopped. Unless, of course, the guy who shoots you steals your watch too, that bastard.   

       Plus, it would still be right twice a day...
Overpanic, Dec 03 2003

       "...against 36,000 firearm deaths (12,000 of them homicides) in the US from 290 million people."
To keep things in perspective, 36,000 people die in the U.S. each year from the flu, too.
phoenix, Dec 03 2003

       that seems one helluva lot of people either way..
po, Dec 03 2003

       Is there a big problem with establishing time-of-death? I would be curious to know what percentage of (reported) suspicious deaths end up with an unknown or vague time-of-death following the post-mortem and investigation of other evidence.
dobtabulous, Dec 03 2003

       You wouldn't necessarily establish time of death. Just time of shooting. That could make or break an alibi.
phoenix, Dec 03 2003

       Well, I find it somewhat amusing the way you can pick away at some of the weaker facts (by the way I wasn't referring to that bs NRA statistic anyway, don't try to put words on my ano.) but you fail to answer any of my questions.   

       "Why/how ban guns?" how do you plan to remove guns? By force? Go around by force and take guns away by force with your own guns? "How can law abiding citizens protect themselves against fully armed criminals with guns?" Seriously, if an honest law abiding citizen can't protect themselves who will? The police? While average response time (I'm not going to look this up but you seem to be pretty good at looking up exceptions) response time is horrible.   

       I am assuming that in this "gunless" world only the police and criminals will have guns. I can see how many more deaths would be prevented by this.   


       Also, taking away guns won't make the world a safer place, if a person is violent it won’t matter if there is a gun or not, if all guns are gone people are still going to rob, murder, and commit crimes just as much. I think the whole basis for the ban guns argument is that guns kill people, so if you take away guns there won't be any death. THAT is bs. People are violent.   

       You can pick all the flaws you want in the statements above, Or delete them, it doesn’t affect me either way. But, in all of the anti-gun arguments I hear it boiled down to “guns kill people, ban them”. I stand where I do because none of these questions are sensibly answered. I’m not bias on way or the other. I just see it that if you put a ban on guns your only making it easier for criminals.
thelambs, Dec 03 2003

       As has been mentioned, this isn't the forum for discussion of gun control, and you've already gone Godwin (see link). I beg for the silence of [thelambs].
darksasami, Dec 03 2003

       Well substitute whatever dictator you want that has taken away rights oh so subtly and it still works. And as far as I know I wasn't arguing when I made that annotation. Just pointing out that current registration ideas I hear serves no purpose except to label people who are armed and/or take them away in the future. Didn't know that was arguing. Also pointed out that any security measure can be bypassed and that the gun i.d.'ing process we have today is pointless. If that is loosing I don't care about winning. And sorry about going all off topic. Just felt like stating a few things.   

       Back to the originally subject, weather or not the counter will survive depends on the bullet. Some bullets completely shred and mushroom, others are made to hold shape. So I guess this would only be practical in certain instances.
thelambs, Dec 03 2003

       Can you kids take the anti/pro gun debate somewhere else? It's way old, been done, and not the point anyway. I recommend Overbaked.
waugsqueke, Dec 04 2003

       Sorry, can't resist: What about all the guns that are already out there? What about ones smuggled in illegally? I know if I wanted to kill someone I would make damn sure it couldn't be traced, and it wouldn't be hard to do that, no matter what law du jour one decided to pass. Also what about shotguns, going to gouge a binary pattern into #6 shot?   

       The sad fact is that ideas like this are only useful if not only all new devices contain the modification (which incidentally makes it pretty much impossible to profit from the invention without being grossly unfair to the many established manufacturers), but in fact if all devices in existence contain the modification (impractical for obvious reasons). This is much like those needles they distribute that can only be used once. seems great, none of those needles can spread AIDS right? but oops! it results in the old multiple use once getting reused even more often? Would be great, if there were no old ones on the face of the earth.
brewer, Jul 25 2005

       No, I think this is a good idea just as it is. The bullets tend to stay with the crime scene, and I suspect that casting your own bullets for a standard handgun is a little harder than taking stuff off of a hand gun. Besides, it's possible to make a working gun with some pipe and rubber bands and such.   

       I'm a little nervous about making the clock start ticking when the bullet is fired. You could have it start ticking at the factory, but I would imagine that after time, it would run out of power, and the criminal could then remove it, and pack it in a shell casing with fresh powder.   

       Of course, if that's going on, they might as well get bullets from the rifle range that have already been shot. Some of those will still be good.   

       So, one small improvement might be to make the clock reset every time they are accelerated to gun-firing speed.   

       Good bullet control is a tough call, but it's certainly nothing that legal gun owners need to worry about. What's more, these little devices might get put in bullets without any modification to existing guns. Gun owners will eventually run out of the older and harder to trace bullets, but that is no major concern.   

       What's so 1984 about wanting to know when a bullet was fired? Frankly, I think this is information everyone near the bullet would like to know, and is more likely to help avoid crooked cop schemes than to interefere with any non-criminal activities.
ye_river_xiv, Dec 17 2006


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