Augmented & Virtual Reality in the Military

Training, Deployment, and Rehabilitation

Many consumer technologies have been in use by armies for years (if not decades) before they become popular among the general public. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see the usage of augmented and virtual reality in the military.

Here are noteworthy examples of military and remote robotics applications.

Augmented Reality in the Air Force Helps Pilots Identify Threats

Military pilots must often fly in dangerous conditions. They are also operating vehicles that accelerate to high speeds. Thus, when something in the environment poses a threat, pilots need to be able to identify and respond accordingly very quickly.

The air force possesses some of the most common uses for AR in the military. With AR technology, threats appear highlighted on a head-mounted display (HMD) before a pilot might otherwise notice them. Early threat detection gives pilots more time to avoid said threats. Additionally, with an AR HMD, pilots can see in the dark without the use of night vision goggles. The night vision feature is instead incorporated directly into the eyeglass; pilots don’t need to lift their hands from the controls to flip down physical goggles. Head-mounted displays are thus lighter than a helmet and goggle set and have a wider field of view. 

It’s also worth noting that pilots must, of course, undergo extensive training to prepare for active missions. Pilot training is another popular VR military application. With immersive VR flight simulators, pilots no longer have to fly a plane when training. While actual flight experience remains vital, it’s also time-consuming and resource-intensive. Providing pilots with adequate training is a challenge, and so a VR flight simulator can supplement a pilot’s education. With a VR flight simulator, pilots have more opportunities to train than ever before.

Virtual Reality in the Army Improves Training

Pilots aren’t the only members of the military who need training. Any position involved in combat needs to train rigorously. However, simulating war is difficult and generally requires vast acres of secluded land. That’s why the US Army has announced plans to develop a large VR battlefield simulator. Military officials aim to create a virtual environment in which it’s possible to simulate a range of scenarios that combat squadrons might find themselves in. Threats are randomly generated and the platform allows multiplayer collaboration, ensuring that battles are both unique and realistic. Virtual reality battlefields expose infantry and artillery soldiers to unpredictable variables so that hundreds of strategies can be tried before deployment.

Virtual Reality in the Military: Reducing Combat Stress

Members of the military endure stressful and traumatic experiences, whether they are engaged in conflict or participating in peacekeeping missions. Up to 20% of American veterans from recent wars struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For every year between 2008 and 2016, approximately 6,000 American veterans took their own lives.

Virtual reality in the military is helping to fight this trend. With VR exposure training, veterans insert themselves into virtual environments that trigger their PTSD symptoms. Through repeated exposure to these familiar spaces paired with talk therapy, veterans learn to overcome their triggers.

The military can also use virtual reality exposure to help active-duty soldiers cope with the ongoing stresses they encounter. Early studies have indicated that VR exposure for active soldiers diagnosed with PTSD may significantly mitigate the soldiers’ stress levels and symptoms. Rather than as a rehabilitation step, VR therapy can be a preventative measure.

Virtual Reality, the Military, and Remote Robotics

Military forces are continuously trying to develop ways to accomplish objectives without putting service members in danger. That’s why they’ve begun to rely on robots to an increasing degree in recent years. Robots can perform reconnaissance, investigate explosives or other suspicious items, conduct surveillance, and much more, all while their human operators are far away and safe from harm.

That said, up until recently, controlling the arms of robots required the use of expensive equipment that takes up substantial space. According to new research, that will no longer be an issue. Virtual reality headsets and haptic gloves allow a human operator to control a military robot remotely. The cost-savings from using VR to control robots and drones can then be diverted to other projects, such as stress and trauma management.

Use Ormuco to Support Innovation in the Armed Forces

Because augmented and virtual reality applications in the military serve mission-critical purposes, they need to function reliably. In order to perform consistently, military software must run on durable infrastructure. Fortunately, at Ormuco, we offer an autonomous platform that can handle augmented reality and virtual reality workloads of any kind. We leverage 5G mobile networks to accelerate the processing of real-time data and are built to provision and manage thousands of computing nodes.