Augmented reality, along with many other technologies we now treat as commonplace, was born to help military training. So, it comes as no surprise that the US Army is out there grabbing the latest in commercial technology and repurposing it for improved soldier training.
In a what-comes-around-goes-around way, the army will use AR to provide less expensive, more accessible training for when they don’t have a real battlefield to play in. In a joint effort between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, the Combined Arms Center-Training and Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation are working to research, prototype and eventually deliver the Synthetic Training Environment, otherwise known as STE.
“Due to the rapidly expanding industrial base in virtual and augmented reality, and government advances in training technologies, the Army is moving out to seize an opportunity to augment readiness,” said Col. Harold Buhl, ARL Orlando and ICT program manager. “With STE, the intent is to leverage commercial advances with military specific technologies to provide commanders adaptive unit-specific training options to achieve readiness more rapidly and sustain readiness longer.”
AR training puts soldiers and recruits in less danger than the real thing (many troops are injured in training exercises), it also helps train troops faster as they are used to modern technology. The technology can also help soldiers coming back from the battlefield, veterans can use VR and AR to help fight combat stress, which can help them deal with mental trauma and improve their long-term wellbeing.