HughPickens.com writes: Bryant Jordan reports at Defense Tech that the Cognitive Science and Applications Team at the US Army's Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is creating a computer-generated reality "dome" to immerse warfighters in a virtual environment that not only tests their skills, but allows Army researchers to assess soldier cognitive abilities and study the impact of real-world operational situations on decision-making, spatial memory and wayfinding. The dome is a concave virtual-reality system that provides a full 180-degree horizontal field, using high-density, front-projection to create a high-resolution, visual world where the simulations will be modeled on real-world locations. "The integration of multiple input modalities, along with multisensory feedback, increases the realism, immersion and engagement on behalf of users subjected to prolonged, workload-intensive activities," says Dr. Caroline Mahoney. "These novel integrations provide unprecedented opportunities to monitor and optimize human behavior during real-world task execution, and to evaluate and predict the impact of innovative human-systems technologies on operational performance." In the virtual dome, users can interact and alter the environment through hand-held and weapon-based devices, which control movement, orientation and weapon aiming. Future additions to the dome will include whole-body motion tracking, low-frequency vibration and directional wind. Vibro-tactile collision feedback — which combines vibration and touch to help give participants a physical sense of constraints in a virtual environment — will also be included.
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