Digital Scope

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A digital scope is a generic catch-all term for a specialized telescopic sight that features some kind of digital overlay or internal/external display. Though it is explained as a very basic concept, ready-made digital scopes usually have a slew of software and hardware enhancements and additions, respectively, over the common analog scope.

Digital scopes are ubiquitous amongst government-employed sharpshooters. Not only do they greatly assist with targeting and aiming, but they also facilitate zeroing, rangefinding, trajectory prediction, and many other critical elements of accurate target shooting.

General Hardware

The main body of a digital scope oftentimes has a similar look to an analog scope, including windage and elevation adjustment turrets. The visibility and look of additional hardware in and on digital scopes tends to vary with variant. Some models may have rare hardware not listed here, and hardware may even be omitted entirely on certain models.

  • Screen — Most, but not all digital scopes have a monitor embedded in place of where the ocular lens would be. This is what the shooter views into when acquiring a target and otherwise aiming the gun that the scope is attached to. The implementation of a screen poses advantages in potential eye relief, viewing angle, and the fact that both eyes can be open at once, thus cutting down on eye strain. It should be noted that the monitor (as well as other electronic components) are generally made of sufficiently robust materiel, or are otherwise hardened to withstand the shock of firing the weapon that the scope is attached to.
  • Central processing unit — All digital scopes have some kind of central processing unit (CPU) which gathers data from all its instruments and outputs person-readable displays to the screen. Models of CPU tend to vary with model and manufacturer of scope.
  • Rangefinder — Digital scopes manufactured by the government generally have small internal rangefinders tested to be accurate to a minimum distance around 1 mile (1.6 kilometers).
  • Spectral imaging device(s) — Digital scopes are likely to include some kind of spectral imaging hardware that is sensitive to wavelengths outside of the visible spectrum (380—740 nm). Infrared is the most common spectrum other than visible that digital scopes tend to support, though there are some highly specialized scopes that are capable of ultraviolet imaging and other spectra.
  • Digital storage — Digital scopes often have an optional slot for a physical storage device for saving files to, including settings and recordings.

General Software

Perhaps the most important part of a digital scope is its software package, for this sophisticated software is what puts them leagues beyond the typical analog telescopic sight. Some especially fancy digital scopes may call upon input from external devices or equipment to present helpful info to the user.

  • Automatic adjustments — Whereas most digital scopes must have their elevation, windage, etc. turrets adjusted manually, some have software options that will optimize the adjustments when needed, for the best available shot.
  • Trajectory prediction — Some digital scopes come with software that takes in data that relies upon a myriad of sensors that are present in the scope and/or on the firearm itself, and outputs that data in a person-readable display of the probability of where a shot will land. This is either shown in the form of a simple 2D marker that must be overlayed on a target, or a 3D projection of the path a bullet is most likely to travel.
  • Target acquisition & tracking — Various kinds of recognition software is often included in a digital scope for the purposes of targeting, identification, and tracking within the field of view of the device. In only the most involved equipment, there are even software packages that interface with particularly specialized bullets in-flight, which precisely guide said bullets into a target via one or more of a number of different guidance systems.
  • Recording system — Recording software is universal among digital scopes. The software is generally capable of recording exactly what the shooter sees through the device itself, including the reticle and all other informational displays.

Pros & Cons Over Analog Scopes

Advantages

  • Less eye fatigue/strain — Most digital scopes greatly lessen or eliminate eye fatigue/strain due to the fact that a screen can be viewed with both eyes open and for extended periods of time.
  • Greater eye relief — Most digital scopes have much greater eye relief than analog scopes; that is, the scope can be mounted much farther from or closer to the user without sacrificing a sharp focused image.
  • Spotter relief — Due to a digital scope's ability to relay so much pertinent info to the user, including finding and tracking targets, the common assistant job of a spotter inevitably becomes easier, but not eradicated.

Disadvantages

  • Energy consumption — All digital scopes require some kind of energy to power them, otherwise the scope would simply be blank. For digital scopes without screens, this is somewhat remedied by the fact that they essentially function as analog scopes without power.

Examples

ES725

The ES725 is a highly specialized optic expressly designed to operate in conjunction with guided bullets. The scope itself is capable of acquiring and tracking targets via pattern recognition in the visible and infrared spectrums. As soon as the gun fires, the scope's software package takes the input from the bullet(s)' sensors and uses three-dimensional vector formulas to predict and influence the bullet(s)' next position in the subsequent frame of time. Acquiring and tracking a target through the scope gives the bullet(s) a destination to fly into. The exact manner in which the scope and bullet communicate has not been disclosed by the ASC government, however the fact that the system exists and works reliably is known.