25 May 2017
Microsoft scored a deal to provide technical support to the US Department of Defense back in December. They have also been providing their wearable HoloLens to military forces over the globe including Australia, Ukraine, and Israel, but now have finally provided it to the USA.
In a recent weeklong exercise called the "Spartan Emerging Technology and Innovation Week" was held by the US Military for the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines (2/6) - "The Spartans." The event held in North Carolina featured various training technologies - including quadcopters, augmented reality and others, which were provided with support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), that helps enhance the decision-making skills of a soldier.
We all know that a battlefield soldier faces a lot of difficult situations that require quick thinking and fast course of decision-making, including understanding the enemy position, evacuating injured warfighters, and navigating unfamiliar territories. To help understand these scenarios, the Marines were included in an Interactive Tactical Decision Game (I-TDG) with an associated augmented-reality headset, the Augmented Immersive Team (AITT), and a quadcopter based system.
The I-TDG is a web technology-based application that allows the marines to plan missions and conduct "what if" situations as a part of exercises. The AITT, on the other hand, comprises of a laptop, software, a battery pack, and a helmet-mounted display that can support forward observer training in live field environments.
Natalie Steinhauser, a senior research psychologist at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando said:
Small-unit leaders are tasked with making big mission decisions in an extremely short time window. These decisions not only impact the success or failure of a mission, they affect life and death. With technologies like I-TDG, Marines can perform simulated missions in a safe classroom environment, carry out multiple missions and even use I-TDG as an after-action review tool.
Lt. Andrew Veal, one of the Marines who took part in the exercise said,
For me, the best part of I-TDG was recreating simulated battles we conducted during past field exercises and using the system as a debrief on what we did wrong and how we could be better. Like athletes watching game film, you really experienced that ‘a-ha’ moment.