Monday, March 13, 2017

Charles River Analytics Inc., developer of intelligent systems solutions, has announced a contract to build a virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) training interface for the US Army, as part of continued efforts in advanced, agile, customer-focused engineering. The two-year contract for a Virtual Interface for Real-Time User Control during Simulated Operations, or VIRTUOSO, was awarded by the US Army Research Laboratory and is valued close to $500,000.

The military has shifted towards VR/AR training in recent years due to a number of benefits. VR/AR training is safer and less expensive than live operations and more immersive than traditional 2-dimensional displays.

“While the training benefits of VR/AR environments are clear, one significant challenge is how to support natural human interactions,” said Dr. Michael Jenkins, Senior Scientist at Charles River and Principal Investigator on the VIRTUOSO effort. “There is a need to support the same natural interactions that take place during live training operations, to facilitate the same skill development experienced in live training simulations that result in learned muscle memory for critical physical tasks. We are addressing this challenge in VIRTUOSO for both gross-motor movement, such as navigating through the virtual environment, and fine-motor movement, such as control of precision tools and interaction with virtual objects with one’s hands and fingers.”

To facilitate efficient and robust skill development, VIRTUOSO will provide integrated capabilities for automatically assessing skill performance, integrating hierarchical models of the abilities and techniques that contribute to overall skill proficiency.

Charles River’s partners on the VIRTUOSO effort include Sensics, Inc.; Technology, Modeling & Simulation, and Training (TMST) Consultants; and the Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC).

This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Human Research & Engineering Directorate (HRED) - Advanced Training and Simulation Division (ATSD) and the Army Contracting Command (ACC)-Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG)-Research Triangle Park Division (ACC-APG-RTP), Orlando Branch under Contract No. W911NF-16-C-0011. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ATSD.