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US Soldiers Will Train Using Virtual Reality

Natick's new virtual reality dome will enable researchers to assess the impact of the environment on soldier cognition, including decision-making, spatial memory or wayfinding (David Kamm, NSRDEC).

U.S. Army soldiers may someday train in virtual reality simulators, much like flight simulators for training pilots.

Researchers at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, in Natick, Massachusetts, created a virtual reality ‘dome’ that will immerse soldiers into virtual real-world operational situations.

More importantly it will help researchers analyze how soldiers think and react in combat, how they reach decisions, navigate in different surroundings and how they relate to new hand weapons and equipment.

The dome consists of a 180-degree screen with high-resolution projectors that recreate real-world locations.

As they refine the dome’s capabilities scientists plan to add features that will make the situations more realistic, such as directional wind, vibration and tactile stimulation. The instruments will be able to track soldiers’ eye and muscle movements as well as neurological and physiological data.

Collected data will be also used for design of future technology and equipment the soldiers may use in combat situations.


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