US Navy to Use Microsoft’s HoloLens for Augmented Reality War
The US Navy has built a realistic augmented reality simulator which runs on the Microsoft HoloLens and which will be used in simulated training for soldiers and sailors. Simulated military training environment is highly advantageous as it offers a more realistic feel but without the stresses of a real firefight.
The system is dubbed Weapons Augmented Reality Scoring System (WARSS) and is designed to simulate live-fire military exercises via the display of 3D imagery of the opponents’ forces through the trainees AR field of view via the Microsoft HoloLens.
The system not only trains forces on how to use their weapons safely but it also shows scoreboards that tally the training stats such as the shots fired, shots on target as well as the resulting hits-versus-misses score. This way, it’s possible to grade the performance of the trainees through an automated AR system.
Rather than the trainees firing blanks on real targets as is usually the practice, they will be firing real rounds on virtual targets with the new augmented reality technology thereby giving them a more real-life feel of the battlefield. During the training process, it’s much easier and more cost effective to simulate a battlefield in mixed reality than to create one in real life for every training session. The AR reality war simulation therefore adds a convenience factor.
For simulated VR training for troops, the risk equation also changes. The trainee is able to think about their environment and also learn how to use various weapons. It creates the realistic environment that will allow soldiers to realize the result they want when it comes to the actual battlefield. This technology therefore boosts the quality of the training and the outcomes.
The WARSS system is also able to mirror any video feed that soldiers generally get on the traditional displays on their laptops or via their remote web connection. This kind of dynamic in the training enables the commanding officers to monitor the action remotely.
HoloLens has in the recent years become the preferred augmented reality wearable headset for various kinds of military operations globally. The Royal Australian Air Force and the British Royal Navy are also deploying the headset in training their armed forces.
Last year, HoloLens edged out Magic Leap to win a $480 million contract to supply the US Army with augmented reality headsets.
The key limitation with HoloLens is that the current deployment is limited to either training exercises or in military command centers away from the battlefield. However, as requirements increase, there will be a need for more sophisticated augmented reality hardware that can be used in the battlefields and technology vendors will have to make adjustments to deliver AR hardware that will be fit for purpose.