How The Military Is Using Augmented Reality
Logically, the military relies on virtual reality to place soldiers within simulated environments to practice maneuvers that would otherwise be dangerous. More recently though, the military expanded their use of VR to treat mental health concerns amongst servicemen and women.
Image Source: U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger/released
dThe military has a long history with virtual reality reaching back to the 1970s. The first aircraft simulator was created by a military engineer named Thomas Furness, who named the tool the “Super Cockpit.” “This ambitious (and expensive) flight simulator project involved a real aircraft cockpit, into which could be projected computer-generated 3D maps, infrared and radar imagery, and assorted avionics data into a three-dimensional space.” (DigitalTrends.com) Since then, virtual reality and simulations have taken a front seat in training throughout all branches of the military.
In 2021, the military expanded its use of virtual reality to treat stress in servicemen and women pre-deployment and post-deployment. Mental health is an ongoing concern for active-duty military as well as veterans. The Department of Defense (DoD) Quarterly Suicide Report (QSR) released in the 4th quarter of 2020 revealed an increase in suicides amongst servicemen and women. Getting immediate help to those in need has now become easier with augmented reality.
“The U.S. Air Force recently announced that it awarded augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) company Healium an SBIR Phase 1 contract to explore deploying Healium’s products to service members.” (ces.tech)
Healium’s VR headbands provide a full sensory experience meant to lower heart rates and lift moods. Users engage in a world where they are expected to heal the virtual world. The headband connects with a smartwatch to monitor heart rate and brain waves. Users are able to regulate their own brain waves through simulated actions, with the goal of training the user to combat stress.
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