From defending nations to fending away diseases and making learning interactive, virtual reality technology has been offering impressive training tools to the defense, healthcare and education industries. Working in simulated environments has been helping these professionals improvise and strategize better in a real-life situation. In the third of our five part series on augmented reality our bloggers take you on a tour or training simulators that are bettering medical and defense facilities.
This is a story of a highly successful professional with an Achilles heel. Acrophobia.
Every time she needed to board a flight, she downed over the counter anti-anxiety medicines. But over time they began to fail her too. That was when she turned to a psychologist. And what did he do? He put her in an aeroplane… a virtual one though. So this successful professional sits in a vibrating chair, dons a helmet with a video screen in it and there she is – safe in the doctor’s chamber but experiencing a real-like flying experience. Mapping her cognitive behavior, the doctor starts treating her and in a matter of few sessions she begins enjoying her flying experience.
This iRunway Research report analyzes the popularity in application of Virtual Reality technology for gaming, identifies monetization strategies adopted by top assignees and much more. For insights, click here.
Virtual reality technology has gone way beyond being an instrument of absolute entertainment. Today, augmented reality is being integrated into the fields of healthcare, science , military and even education to enhance their offerings. VR technology has brought about a revolution in the healthcare industry allowing easier and more effective treatment, enabling minimal invasive surgeries through better visualization and also equipping the medical fraternity to conduct surgeries remotely using augmented reality technology. Today, virtual reality has powered the medical fraternity to prepare themselves for a variety of exigencies much ahead of time. Simulators can recreate a variety of trauma situations, including accidents and epidemics, allowing paramedics to find the best techniques and solutions to tackle them – all without posing any risk to their well being.
AR invades operation theatres
Performing surgeries couldn’t have gotten easier for surgeons. Virtual reality technologies have offered them two invincible instruments that have made surgical technology all the more interesting and minimally invasive. Robotic arms today are gaining much popularity thanks to its precision, smaller incisions and in turn resulting in lesser blood loss in the patient. The surgeon handles the robotic arm viewing the constant 3D image of the affected area, thus quickening the procedure.
On the other hand is that AR tool that has surgeons brimming with ideas – a surgical simulation platform (SEP). Surgeons can now do away with lab test animals and human testing to better their surgical techniques. All they need is an SEP of the likes of SimSurgery and VirtaMed that provides them a virtual ‘patient’ on whom they can operate, try new techniques and refresh their knowledge. While the flexible and intuitive SimSurgery platform has been extremely useful for doctors training in laparoscopic surgeries, VirtaMed allows surgeons to use original instruments to train in a safe virtual environment before performing a surgery in real. Patent WO 2003007272 A1 is an interesting technology that enables a user to view a 3-D illustration of a surgical procedure and then follow it through an interactive training session using an instrument manipulator device. This system is highly beneficial in facilitating training for procedures that depend on manual dexterity and knowledge of various actions that need to be performed.
And for a comprehensive surgical experience in the virtual world before making it real there is the Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform (SNAP). SNAP comes with advanced 3D capabilities and situational awareness replicating an operation theatre using an intra-operative navigation system. The system imports the 3D plan based in SRP (craniotomy, head position, approach) to establish multiple views, rotate and interact with the navigation image, thus allowing surgeons to see behind pathological and vital structures. The system also offers transparent images of tumors, vessels and tissues, offering improved visualization and allowing surgeons to perform pseudo real surgeries on potential scenarios before making the real incision.
Making manufacturing plants safer
Companies involved in mining, oil rigging and in various continuous production plants are beginning to inch closer to creating a nearly safe environment even before kickstarting operations.
All they need is an illusion of the real world to walk through and look for possible problem areas that need to be plugged. All that these companies need is a software tool such as Siemens COSMOS Walkinside and take a virtual tour of the plant, navigating easily through complex environments and detecting flaws with ease. What’s more, this tool can also be deployed to train employees on on-site operations for innovative and effective production.
Mapping space as it is
When Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP) announced its smartphone and tablet offering called Project Tango, little did we know that it would grab NASA’s attention. Still under development, Project tango promises to provide users a human-scale understanding of space and movement. So if you need to pick up home décor that matches your furniture, simply click a 3D picture of the location on your phone, head to the store and superimpose the photograph of your pick to see how it looks in real time.
And while that’s for the world around us, NASA’s SPHERES project handlers find Project Tango as the perfect fit for this experimental satellite program. The 3D sensors in Project Tango allow it to track and map practically everything around it. And this was a capability NASA was looking for when it wanted something that could handle risky duties outside the spherical satellite.
Virtual experience for real defense
Going are the days when defense forces need to spend their own weaponry to train personnel. Today, most defense forces are shifting from virtual reality technologies to augmented reality technologies that offer pseudo real situations to combat in and train better.
One of the most popular AR tools used in defense training is the high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle or Humvee from Amel Defense. This simulator is especially useful in troop transportation training and helps defense forces save on fuel and ammunition costs while training in a safe environment. Trainees can practice at a time driving strategies, weapon handling and force protection techniques using this 240-degree view providing simulator that allows gunners to locate and engage in simulated elevated threat visual environments such as roof tops and towers.
Training in virtual waters
The Training Ship Simulator or TSS by Amel Defense is possibly the most popular AR tool in high demand by naval forces. With full bridge and real time manoeuvring applications, defense personnel can operate ships, indulge in combat and also man submarines in the watery-virtual environment.
Battle in the skies
The advent of the Forward Air Controller Simulator has made training all the more easier for air force personnel. Forward air control teams now need to step into the console that provides a real-life experience virtually. The simulator provides an absolute view and simulated combat situation that allows trainees to engage in fire missions and simultaneously co-ordinate with the land forces’ close air support and the naval gun fire support, practically replicating a real situation.
Dismounted Soldier Training System
The US Army has placed an order for a $57 million dismounted soldier system that is set to offer a flexible virtual situation to train soldiers individually and collectively. The system can recreate battleground terrain and allow trainees to strategize in a safe environment.
Soldiers need to wear a headset-enabled helmet that plunges them into the virtual combat field. The simulated environment reverberates with cinema-quality sound that produces accurate noise of gunshots while the powerful graphics replicate facial expressions, soil imprints and disturbed ground that may indicate danger. Motion sensors are placed on strategic parts of the soldier’s body that captures 360 degree movement and provides a comprehensive augmented real experience. This means that soldiers can communicate with their counterparts, run, lie down, roll or jump on their own 10’ X 10’ mats that provide operational feedback.
Learning becomes fun in the virtual world
Ever since virtual reality made inroads into the world of education, learning has become all the more fun. While classrooms equipped with a virtual reality learning console is gaining much popularity, informal education courses such as lumbering and carpentry are becoming all the more interesting in augmented reality environments ushered in by companies such as EON Reality and Wordskills.
Enhanced learning and training modules has a lot to thank augmented reality technologies for. In the next of this series, we take you through how virtual reality has changed the face of manufacturing industries.
You may like to read about how virtual reality has changed the face of e-commerce.
(Featured image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/Worldskin-01.jpg)
(Featured image source: http://www.airforce-technology.com/contractor_images/link/3-F-16-simulator.jpg)