The Army is trying out augmented reality to help train its soldiers as the COVID – 19 pandemic makes distance learning a necessity. The U.S Army Research Lab’s Computational and Informational Sciences Directorate’s director, Cynthia Bedell, said that it is problematic to do collective training during such times. She spoke at the Association of the U.S. Army’s digital conference about making a collective decision, doing collective brainstorming, as well as possessing a collective understanding of an event. She also said that augmented reality proved to be useful for soldier training during the pandemic.
Cynthia Bedell believes that AR can potentially help the Army during in-person training as it facilitates staff training on simulated systems from their room. Every user can view their orientation from their point of view, as the front passenger seat versus the driver seat of a vehicle. Bedell said that the soldiers can be highly trained before they are out at the National Training Center. At the National Training Center, the soldiers can then do the big things that matter, those that one can do when they are using the real equipment.
Bedell further talked about training in a simulated environment and said that the soldiers should be able to train, operate together, understand each other’s commands, signals, thoughts, and also learn to be a team. Cynthia Bedell believes that through augmented reality, the soldiers can get to know each other better.
The augmented reality tool can adjust to users’ individual learning needs, offering audio for those who like to listen and take in information, or graphs for visual learners. The Army has a substantial virtual and augmented reality portfolio from the futuristic and popular AR eyewear for dogs that let human handlers command them while remaining hidden to the Integrated Visual Augmentation System goggles. Army Research Lab has pushed for researchers to leverage augmented and virtual reality to interact with data three-dimensionally.
Become the standard
However, the augmented reality use for soldier training can become the standard. Cynthia Bedell informed everyone about the systems’ tests with just special operators, and there is a chance that augmented reality will be used for a bigger bunch of trainees. Bedell said that although a lot of work is left, AR has tremendous potential, and it has wonderfully aided a few brainstorming sessions and course of action development during the pandemic.
Cynthia Bedell then talked about how AR helped people in Florida, people in the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center Labs, and those in California. All of them could view the same sand table, think about an operation, learn all of the sequels and branches of the operation if ‘X’ or ‘Y’ or something else were to occur, and then quickly gather at a wholly different site. They could then conveniently unite and execute the planned operation.
Cynthia Bedell further said that they were at three separate places, and yet, they were able to come at that base and instantly move in without doing anything except orient where they were.