The M314 Motion Tracker is a simple surveillance device originally designed for use by search-and-rescue rescue and police services. Essentially, it is a high-powered ultrasound scanner that uses doppler-shift discrimination to filter out moving objects from its stationary background.
A moving object is shown on the M314 Motion Tracker's display as a series of contours of probable loci, with the range and bearing given to the target. Motion Trackers are often employed for perimeter surveillance, able to monitor movements of small animal-sized targets up to a range of 1,000 metres in open country. The greatest advantage of the Motion Tracker is its ability to scan through objects; however, intervening terrain can cut this detection range quite drastically and in built-up areas the presence of walls and partitions can reduce the range to less than 20 metres.
While a powerful tool, motion tracker operators must become familiar with the device's limitations. Primarily, they are incapable of differentiating between different sources of movement — an approaching hostile target will register just the same as moving machinery in the environment (although the tracker range gate function is calibrated to reject small or slight movements, such as bugs crawling, plants waving in the wind etc.). While Colonial Marines are equipped with an Identification Friend Foe (IFF) transponder as part of their armor, designed to render them "immune" to the Motion Trackers carried by the USCM and thereby preventing false detection of friendly personnel, this technology is liable to malfunction on occasion. The M314 also has a limited field of vision, and will only detect movement in the direction it is pointed, leaving large areas unchecked, particularly to the rear.
Further technical drawbacks are also inherent in the design. The devices are active sensors, emitting thousands of high-energy ultrasound bursts every second, and can therefore be easily located by enemy listening stations and serve as a target for enemy fire. Furthermore, the fact trackers are set to ignore small movements in the environment leaves them unable to detect very slow-moving objects; this shortcoming was notably exploited on many occasions by guerrillas during the Arcturan War, allowing them to infiltrate a tracker's detection cone. Lastly, trackers are vulnerable to spoofing by ultrasound jammers, or "jumping jack" decoy devices. As a result, most commanders prefer to employ motion trackers only in support of traditional surveillance techniques.
Armor Integrated HUD Motion TrackerEdit
Later variants of USCM standard armor include integrated motion trackers, thereby leaving a Marine's hands free to ready their weapon. The armor integrated HUD motion tracker appears in the corner of a Marine's HUD and its appearance is very similar to what was displayed on the screen of the handheld tracker. The HUD motion tracker functions the same as the handheld M134 with a moving object shown on the tracker's display as a series of contours of probable loci, with the range and bearing given to the target. The HUD motion tracker will also display the direction of an objective that the user has active.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Motion Tracker has become an integral part of the Alien universe, particularly with respect to the Colonial Marines. As such, it has featured in numerous video games featuring the USCM, although in most of these appearances, owing to gameplay mechanics, the Motion Tracker is incorporated into the player's HUD and requires no interaction to use. One exception to this is Aliens: Colonial Marines, which features the Motion Tracker as a separate item that must be equipped to use just as in Aliens (although an audible warning is played to alert the player when it may be needed even when the Motion Tracker is holstered). When the Motion Tracker is equipped, the player is unable to use their weapon, again, just like in the movie.
The Motion Trackers were made by Terry Reed. The basic shell of the tracker is a power drill casing. The trackers were dressed with mostly photographic accessories.
The tracker which appeared in Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual was a copy made by Terry Reed for Lawrence Nathan of Fiction & Fantasy Models in North London in early 1990. Resin casts of this were made available.
For long shots of the trackers, a simple blinking light was fitted inside the screen box. Insert shots of the screen display were made possible by using a small TV monitor, shot directly end on to disguise the length of the unit, which can be seen briefly during the scene in which the marines first use the trackers in the colony complex.
The main component of the Motion Tracker is the casing from a Kango 426 drill, with extra parts as follows:
- a. Jobo Minilight darkroom lamp
- b. Flashgun meter (model unknown)
- c. Shutter remote release (model unknown)
- d. 12v transformer casing (cut down) - with membrane keypad affixed
- e. Small unidentified box (68 x 30 x 2lmm)
- f. Shutter release timer unit
- g. Vivitar Zoom Thyristor 2500 flash unit
- Aliens/novel (First Appearance)
- Alien Trilogy (integrated into armor)
- Aliens versus Predator (video game, integrated into armor)
- Aliens versus Predator 2 (video game, integrated into armor)
- Aliens vs. Predator (video game, integrated into armor)
- Aliens: Thanatos Encounter
- Aliens: Infestation
- Aliens: Colonial Marines/Stasis Interrupted (video game)
- ↑ Aliens: Infestation [Nintendo DS]. WayForward Technologies and Gearbox Software.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood (1996). Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual. HarperPrism, 107.
- ↑ James Cameron (writer and director). Aliens [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ Aliens vs. Predator [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360]. Rebellion.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 http://www.harryharris.com/tracker.htm
- ↑ http://alienscollection.com/motiontracker2.html
- ↑ http://www.harryharris.com/jobo.htm
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 http://www.harryharris.com/mtcont.htm
- ↑ http://www.harryharris.com/flash.htm
- ↑ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=607514745948529&set=a.116549255045083.11938.104664682900207&type=3&theater
- ↑ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=608077472558923&set=a.116549255045083.11938.104664682900207&type=3&theater
- ↑ http://www.therpf.com/gallery/aliens/p5915-uscm-motion-tracker.html
- ↑ http://www.therpf.com/gallery/aliens/p5914-uscm-motion-tracker.html
- ↑ http://www.therpf.com/gallery/aliens/p5913-uscm-motion-tracker.html
- ↑ http://www.therpf.com/gallery/aliens/p5912-uscm-motion-tracker.html
- ↑ http://www.therpf.com/gallery/aliens/p5911-uscm-motion-tracker.html
- ↑ http://www.therpf.com/gallery/aliens/p5910-uscm-motion-tracker.html
- ↑ http://www.therpf.com/gallery/aliens/p5909-uscm-motion-tracker.html
- ↑ http://www.therpf.com/gallery/aliens/p5908-uscm-motion-tracker.html
- ↑ http://www.therpf.com/gallery/aliens/p5907-uscm-motion-tracker.html
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- ↑ http://www.therpf.com/gallery/aliens/p5902-uscm-motion-tracker.html