ARLINGTON, Va., 28 Aug. 2011. Simulation, training, and mission rehearsal experts at SRI International in Menlo Park, Calif., are designing a prototype virtual-reality training system for the U.S. Marine Corps that is able to insert virtual actors and objects into computer-generated scenes that each trainee views. SRI International will build the virtual reality training system under terms of a $5.4 million contract awarded Friday by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va.
The ONR project is called Augmented Immersive Team Training (AITT), which is a component of the Marine Corps Squad Immersive Training Environment (SITE) research program. The Marine Corps SITE program seeks to use simulation and training technology to help leaders of Marine Corps units as small as platoons and squads make crucial battlefield decisions while operating independently.
Marine Corps leaders say the SITE and AITT programs represent a revolutionary approach to training, which uses computer graphics and special head-mounted displays to insert virtual actors and objects into the scene as viewed by each trainee.
The AITT program calls for the virtual actors depicted on trainees head-mounted displays to respond in realistic ways to actions of the Marines involved in the training scenario, such as taking cover, or firing back, or milling in crowds.
Marine Corps trainees will be able to see virtual actors and objects interacting with fellow trainees and real objects in the environment, ONR officials say. The prototype augmented reality training system that SRI International researchers will build also will track the actions of each trainee in detail.
The AITT architecture from SRI International will have no need to instrument a training facility. Instead, the primary hardware necessary for this prototype augmented reality training system will be worn by the individual trainees, ONR officials say.