Have you noticed how many times bullets miss their mark in the movies?
If you need to shoot a bank robber, Sean Bean, John Malkovich, or even an ugly looking two-dimensional chap on a distant target, it seems as if it's very much a hit-or-miss affair.
This, believes professor Timothy Kraft of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, is because no one has re-thought the basic principles of a pistol sight for a hundred years.
Kraft, who happens to rather enjoy shooting and is good at it, dedicated some of his finest mental armory to solving the problem. As he describes it on the university's site, Kraft decided to consider what the subconscious is doing in the milliseconds between aiming and firing.
When your eye sees a familiar shape that isn't fully formed, it is quick to fill in the blanks. So Kraft created a triangular sight, called an Opti-sight, which has the top part incomplete.
"This triangular shape that I've created allows the brain to visualize concentric triangles whose imaginary apexes focus the shooter's attention on the exact target bull's-eye," he said on the site.
Just as the U.S. Olympic shooting coach begs his charges not to think but to shoot, Kraft's device essentially makes the shooter feel more at one with the task.
"Opti-sight makes shooting very intuitive by allowing gunsight alignment to become subconscious," Kraft explained.
So what was so wrong with the sight that did for so many victims in times gone by? It seemed to work passably well for soldiers, policemen and especially for Matt Damon.
"The way a traditional gunsight works is all very disconnected," Kraft explained. "In order to get a good shot off you have to visually scan the gap between the front post and rear sight on the left and equalize that to the gap on the right, then align all that with the center of the target. It is too much for the eye and brain to process."
Technology that works with your subconscious rather than with the arrant mediocrity of the rational mind seems rather exciting. Now if we could only find an intuitive way to make sure that the target was always the the right one.