Virtual reality dome for military simulations

A virtual reality dome has been made by researchers at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. They hope to study the impact of real-world operational situations on decision-making, spatial memory and wayfinding.

The dome will immerse warfighters in a virtual environment that not only tests their skills, but allows Army researchers to assess soldier cognitive abilities.

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.

Other scientists at the Natick lab are developing metrics for measuring cognitive workload during mission tasks. This will enable researchers to assess how new equipment and technology born by soldiers effects their cognitive abilities, according to Mahoney.

Planned new features will include whole-body motion tracking, low-frequency vibration, directional wind and “vibro-tactile collision feedback” – merging vibration and touch to give participants a sense of physical constraint.