Sunday, 27 October 2019

An encounter with Kedok

Whilst out in Australia I met with Geoff Hunter who runs a shooting club for the vision impaired in Sydney. I got the chance to try out the Kedok aiming system. After having read about it for sometime, it was great to actually get my hands on one to test it out.

For those who do not know what Kedok is, it is another aiming device for vision impaired shooters designed by Wim Hager over in the Netherlands. It differs from other available aiming devices as all the design documents have been published online, so you could make your own and even modify it as you feel fit. One of the goals of the Kedok device is to make something which is much more affordable than devices like the ecoAims or the VIASS Pro.

Before discussing what it is like to use, I must note that it currently has not been approved for use in international World Shooting ParaSport competitions. So anyone wanting to compete internationally will need to use something else or apply to get their Kedok approved by WSPS.

Now for what i think about it. Unlike EcoAims and VIASS which use cameras to locate the LED, the Kedok uses a light sensor and so is more similar to the Swarovski device. This has the advantage that sampling of the sensor is much, much quicker and so the sound changes much more smoothly, however it does mean it is more sensitive to differences in lamp or LED set up. In fact when I tried it, Geoff had made a mistake in the set up and the device detected something was wrong when we were calibrating it.

Once the lamp was correctly configured, time to have a listen and shoot with it. As I noted the sound does change very smoothly, takes me back to the Swarovski scope although it does sound a little different. For me being used to the EcoAims sound now, I found the amount of variation in the tone was not really enough and I felt it flattened off too much in the middle. I felt the tone did impact upon my ability to shoot a good group and probably it was no where near what I can do with my EcoAims. I am aware that there are settings which can be changed, but I did not want to go and mess up someone else's aiming device so I left them alone. This though does mean I cannot judge how accurate the device really may be, so I cannot pass comment on accuracy.

Whilst on the topic of settings, it is nice to note how Kedok has speech prompts in the device which allows the shooter to alter settings and to warn the shooter of any problems it detects. It is good to allow the shooter to be as independent as possible. Also I like some of the prompts and how they give the device a bit of personality, such as wishing you good shooting after calibration, rather than just being very boring information only prompts.

Something which I am not so keen on is the separate processing unit which sits on the table. Having used a battery pack fitted to the rifle to power a Swarovski and now using the Ecoaims with its built in battery, I am used to only having a single cable whilst shooting. So it feels like a step back to have a cable from the scope to the processor and then a headphone cable from the processor. I think EcoAims have really set the standard here with the built in battery, so you don't even have a cable for a battery pack.

So in conclusion, I think the Kedok is a step forward from the Swarovski scopes by allowing calibration and customisation with voice guidance. When compared with the EcoAims it just does not do it for me. The problems I have about the sound being too flat might be possible to resolve either through settings or by tweaking the software. The external processor unit is a more significant issue to me and would need a more significant redesign. For those who want to do the sport recreationally or at national level, then this might be a reasonable option to consider if price is important. However for those who want to compete internationally, I would suggest save up and go for something like the EcoAims VIS500 or the VIASS Pro.

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