Today, most populous use of Virtual Reality might be in the entertainment business; in video games, amusement parks, and the likes but virtual reality is also significantly used in a number of massive industries and sectors. However unusual, the most widespread use of VR, apart from entertainment, is in the military.
War simulations for training purposes have been in play since the 1920’s. Based on the number of VR projects taking center stage for the armed forces, and as projected by Goldman Sachs, the industry is expected to generate a significant $1.4 billion in revenues solely from the military, by the year 2025.
Here are the few applications of VR in the military:
- VR combat simulation : This is probably the most common application of VR for military purposes. Combat simulators have been in use for quite a long time and through the time the refinement of these simulators has increased. The application field of combat simulators is widespread. All defense departments (i.e. air force, navy and army) make use of simulators with virtual reality to simulate airplanes, helicopters, frigates, submarines and tanks to name a few. They use it to train soldiers in war like environment, giving full immersive experience of what it feels like to be in a battle zone. It helps them with testing combat techniques to the fullest and improvise battlefield tactics and help them to mold their strategy accordingly. Here is an image of US soldiers training with VR enabled head mounts.
- Training situations: Combat simulators can be assigned to the category training situations. This type of application has a clear purpose, namely that it gives the applicant the opportunity to master a VR combat simulator to prepare its trainees for real combat situations. Check this out in action at: Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS)
- VR environments and decision making :VR is also used in an experience learning system where the participants are taking part in an environment where they can bump into audiovisual conditions of real world scenarios. The army has the challenge to prepare its leaders to make correct decisions in comparable situations.
- Post War Treatment:The treatment of PTSD veterans with virtual reality should be categorized to post war situations. This form of treatment is used on soldiers who did encounter real war situations in their most terrible ways.
In South Korea, DoDAAM, the creator of an automated gun turret, has a suite of different VR programmes. In one, the user climbs into a harness that is suspended from the ceiling, before pulling on an Oculus Rift. The screen simulates the effect of flying a parachute. Players must guide themselves to a landing strip by tugging on two cords to steer, while an industrial fan blows air in their face to simulate the feeling of wind on one’s face. One of their land simulator is displayed below:
Apart from such Military applications, it can also be used to train the common man for disaster management and common emergency situations.Apart from the above mentioned VR solutions in use by the military, virtual reality is also being used to simulate medical transport from one airfield to another to hone the emergency and critical care skills of military medics, physicians, and nurses. It certainly has endless possibilities, some of which are yet to be discovered.