International partners and allies are showing interest in the U.S. Army’s Synthetic Training Environment, or STE, which will combine an array of technologies such as gaming, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality to converge live, virtual and constructive training.
The U.S. Army is adding powerful digital tools to its training and readiness processes that will allow soldiers to fight in dense urban environments, megacities and subterranean areas.
The British Army is exploring how virtual reality can be integrated into soldier training. Virtual Reality in Land Training (VRLT) technology allows soldiers to train in complex and hostile simulated scenarios that are difficult to recreate on a training ground. The system will place troops in the middle of an urban firefight, intense crowd control situation or within a building filled with enemy soldiers.
Virtual reality enables training situations to be set-up quickly, re-run and analyzed to demonstrate the most effective approaches to real-life battlefield challenges. At the end of the pilot program, recommendations will be proposed about how to best exploit the technology for soldier training.
The U.S. Defense Department is accelerating its investments in live, virtual, constructive and mixed-reality training, which will result in the rapid development of new immersive military applications. As the mobile revolution intersects with new data science technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, these expenditures will enable warfighters to be better prepared regardless of the scenario.
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) aim to make virtual reality simulations more of a reality for first responders, enabling firefighters, law enforcement officers and others to train for emergency operations and communications.
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.
The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is creating a virtual MK-19 trainer that will help shorten training set-up time and decrease ammunition costs, according to the Army. Researchers at the ARL in Orlando, Florida, are merging the weapon with existing hardware and software algorithms to create a training experience that blends real-time vision with virtual reality.
Once it is ready for full use in the field, the training platform will help soldiers expedite training on the weapon.
The concepts proven by the MK-19 trainer represent “the future of training for soldiers,” said Dean Reed, software developer and team lead at the ARL in Orlando.
As virtual reality technology becomes less expensive and delivers a more realistic, immersive experience, some national security experts warn that it is only a matter of time before terrorists use it for recruiting, training and plotting attacks.
The virtual reality (VR) marketplace is exploding. Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony PlayStation VR, Google Cardboard, Microsoft HoloLens, One Plus and Jaunt are competing in a rapidly growing field. Greenlight Insights, a VR research firm, projects that the global market will reach $7.2 billion by year’s end and nearly $75 billion by 2021.
Language study is a national imperative, and the technology shaping it goes as far back as 1877, when Thomas Edison’s phonograph promised to break down geographical barriers to let Chicago learners practice German as it is spoken in Berlin.
Fast-forward 140 years to an era when virtual reality (VR) is transforming language instruction as we know it. Exciting breakthroughs capitalize on the rapidly progressing technology to help deliver critical language and sociocultural content and experiences faster than ever before with fewer resources than full immersion experiences.
There are days when Andrew Sweeney transforms from a 38-year-old industrial designer into a superhero. In his Columbus, Ohio, office, with one familiar swipe of his smartphone, he becomes an 80-year-old diabetic patient with compromised motor skills and even poorer eyesight that make it really difficult to grip an insulin injector.
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.
The time has arrived for the U.S. Defense Department to develop an enterprise solution for the coming wave of augmented reality (AR) systems. Unlike virtual reality (VR) systems that fully immerse users in computer-generated worlds, AR systems overlay virtual content on a user’s perceptual field of view using 2- and 3-D holograms. These images either remain fixed to a user’s perspective as he moves his body and head or anchored to georeferenced locations in a user’s surroundings.
Not only is virtual reality teaching warfighters to train in battle tactics-one of the first apps of gaming that sprang from old Atari systems and their ilk-it's now providing resources to soldiers to help them throughout their entire service careers. It's the stuff of Hollywood, and that's a reality, because the same technologies used to create special effects in movies also are being used to convey scenarios encountered by warfighters in various situations.