Augmented Reality

June 1, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Using virtual reality, soldiers from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, get a look at components of the Army’s new prototype Long Range Hypersonic Weapon and a chance to influence how the system is designed. In the future, units may use 3D printers to build their own virtual reality headsets.  U.S. Army

The personnel within the Realities Lab at the Army Cyber Institute located at West Point explore every aspect of extended reality technologies, developing new tools, conducting studies and asking the hard questions.

The Realities Lab is dedicated to research in what is becoming known as extended reality, or XR, a term that includes augmented, virtual and mixed reality. Extended reality technologies offer a wide range of military uses, including realistic training available virtually anywhere, modeling and simulation for weapon system development, and actual situational awareness on the battlefield.

June 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The ProtoSpace augmented reality system takes collaboration to a higher level, allowing scientists at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to more easily see and discuss spacecraft design considerations, such as for the Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography and Spectroscopy spacecraft.  NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is using a 3D visualization tool to design innovative space probes, including the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover and its Ingenuity helicopter. The same tool can help researchers plan work in space’s complex environment.

The mixed reality, computer aided design (CAD) 3D visualization tool is known as ProtoSpace. It has been crucial to the lab’s collaborative development of spacecraft, says the technical lead for ProtoSpace, Benjamin Nuernberger.

May 18, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 4 Daniel Belew, USMC, academics officer, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, speaking at AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta Virtual Series on May 18, reports that the service is working to incorporate an “always-on feedback loop” in which incremental change is incorporated in the academic cycle.

The U.S. Navy and Marines Corps are harnessing virtual platforms and advanced methods to teach cyber and communications skills. In some cases, the services are looking to a “blended model” of instruction from both industry and military cyber experts that produces multitudes of trained personnel for a single investment. Additionally, to create a powerful cyber force, technical training needs to be as realistic as possible, with high-fidelity cyber training ranges that can meet high standards for mission rehearsals and training on a daily basis and can be accessed anywhere in the world. 

March 1, 2021
By Lt. Col. Ryan Kenny, USA

What would it take to deliver high quality augmented reality to the masses? Mobile devices packed with high computing power and both optical and LIDAR sensors in every hand? Check. Robust operating systems capable of overlaying 3D graphics in real environments? Check. Devices that enable high-definition rendering of digital images? Check. What’s missing? A compelling need to project information from offices and retail environments into homes and remote locations? The COVID-19 pandemic may have fixed that. So, what else is missing? Bandwidth! With 5G cellular communications entering mainstream markets, it may finally become a part of our daily lives—for real this time.

December 14, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Virtual reality, artificial intelligence and other technologies will transform the Internet in the coming years, experts predict. Credit: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock

Within the next decade or two, technological advances may revolutionize the Internet, creating an environment that is secure for all, provides more power to the people and offers an immersive, virtual reality experience as a part of daily life, according to a recent study of strategic foresight.

The study was completed this summer by the TechCast Project, a virtual think tank that focuses on strategic forecasting. The project was founded by William Halal, professor emeritus of management, technology, and innovation at George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

April 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
A new augmented reality platform will help pilots train in the air with digital assets.  Design by SIGNAL Art Director of DOD photo by Tech. Sgt. Ned Johnston, Air Force Thunderbirds

A technology that harnesses augmented reality will enable the U.S. Air Force to train in the air for initial pilot qualification, dogfighting, refueling and maneuvering. The A-TARS augmented reality platform, or Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System, developed by California-based Red 6, provides virtual opponents, such as the fifth generation Chinese J-20 and Russian Su-57, for pilot’s aerial dogfighting training runs, as well as other aerial digital assets to develop and enhance different piloting skills.

November 18, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
A Santa Monica-based company has developed an augmented reality platform to allow fighter pilots to train in aerial warfare against virtual opponents. Credit: Photo courtesy of Red6 Aerospace.

The ability to train top U.S. military aviators in air-to-air combat usually requires pilots acting as opposing aerial fighters. Representing the enemy in training dogfights is quite costly and dangerous, says Daniel Robinson, RAF (Ret.). Robinson, co-founder and CEO of Red6 Aerospace, developed an augmented reality platform, called Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System, known as A-TARS, that creates virtual opponents, such as the Chinese J-20, for pilots to dogfight against.

May 20, 2019

Rochester, New York-based Vuzix Corp. announced on May 16 that it had received a follow-on development order from a global aerospace firm to build a customized commercial avionics waveguide-based head mounted display (HMD) system. The company, which specializes in manufacturing video-based eyewear, produces smart glasses and augmented reality (AR) technologies. The personal display and wearable computing devices offer users portable viewing and mobility AR solutions.

Under the latest contract, valued at $275, 000, Vuzix will provide the HMD system to its client by the end of the summer. The company received the first order in September and completed work on the contract in the fourth quarter of 2018.

May 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Employing so-called computerized vision, DAQRI Smart Glasses not only “see” an environment and provide data to a user but also pull in information. Photo credit: DAQRI

Powerful augmented reality technologies not only display data for users but also gather information, offering expansive capabilities.

Although X-ray vision is not necessarily possible, augmented reality is pushing the envelope of how the world can be seen. Augmented reality technologies, which traditionally use a combination of computer-generated images overlaid on a real-world view, also can scan an environment and take in data, creating 3-D virtual models of what users see.

May 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Scientist Arne Odland works in the Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR) laboratory at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific). BEMR’s use of mixed reality technology in training applications is helping the Navy cut costs and reduce risks. Alan Antczak

Mixed reality technologies, including augmented reality or virtual reality, are changing the way the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps handle system training, operations, maintenance and prototyping. Augmented reality is a combination of computer-generated images partially overlaid on a real-world view. In virtual reality, which has been around for decades, a user’s vision is obscured and totally replaced with computer-generated graphics. Both technologies visually employ degrees of computer-generated information. With the help of the Navy’s Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality laboratory in San Diego, the services are looking into both types of mixed reality applications using low-cost commercial off-the-shelf technologies.

March 16, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
As war brutally impacts the smallest citizens of the world, the International Committee for the Red Cross sought to develop an application to tell the story using augmented reality. Credit: Shutterstock/AGorohov

A new smart phone application is illustrating the devastation that war has on the smallest citizens of the world. Introduced last week by the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Committee of the Red Cross, the application, called Enter the Room, uses augmented reality to create an immersive experience for users to see how conflicts impact children. The organization claims that it is the first use of augmented reality in humanitarian aid.

June 1, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) adapted Microsoft’s multipurpose HoloLens augmented reality headset for military training. The ONR created a comprehensive Augmented Immersive Team Training (AITT) system that pairs the technology with a laptop, software, battery pack and quadcopters to support forward-observer training in live field environments.

There is a huge difference for combat troops between being told a mortar has destroyed their command outpost and seeing the destruction firsthand. Certainly, blowing things up comes with a variety of risks and costs. This is one key reason that the U.S. Defense Department has turned to augmented reality technologies for many of its operational tasks. 

November 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
SWAT teams receive a training scenario briefing during September’s Urban Shield in California.

A joint industry effort has produced ruggedized augmented reality glasses that securely deliver real-time multimedia information to first responders. The solution, developers say, would shave precious minutes off response times, which could mean the difference between life or death.

Such technologies are picking up traction in law enforcement and military environments as officials look to the virtual world for life-saving solutions.

June 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
Marines at Camp Pendleton, California, test the new augmented reality glasses prototype in an urban combat training scenario.

U.S. Navy researchers recently wrapped up development of prototypical augmented reality glasses designed to display situational awareness data for combat Marines. The head-mounted display will provide warfighters a stream of relevant mission data within their field of view, allowing them to conduct operations in remote environments without taking their hands off their weapons or their eyes off the battlefield.

January 31, 2012
By Rachel Eisenhower

Get a new perspective on the world with the Layar app for iPhone and Android that displays real-time information over top of the image on your phone's camera. The free app uses your GPS location and augmented reality technology to discover information about the world around you and present it in "layers" on your smartphone. Choose from a catalog of more than 3,000 layers and experience the world in a new way. For example, if you're traveling to a country on business and looking for a restaurant, open the "Eat" layer and point the phone camera at the street in front of you. Various restaurant names and locations will pop up over the image. You can even see reviews in another layer.

September 21, 2010
By Rachel Eisenhower

New technology using augmented reality blends digital data with the real world-blurring the line between computer-generated images and what we actually see. And the latest example of this concept is the Plane Finder AR app, which can instantly find the flight number, speed, altitude and more of an aircraft overhead. Pinkfroot Limited created Plane Finder AR for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, and the app utilizes the augmented reality capabilities of the smart phone to track flights overhead.