ARL hosts Soldiers at Simulation and Training Center to get feedback from theater
November 26, 2010
ORLANDO - The Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center, an organization of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, hosted 16 recently returned from theater I Corp Soldiers in an effort to provide engineers and scientists with "boots on the ground" feedback.
Upon their arrival at the Center in Orlando, Fla., they paused at the Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith memorial in reflection. Smith, a Floridian and combat engineer sapper with the 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country by performing heroic actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. For his sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Once inside, the Soldiers were able to see the medal firsthand among other awards and decorations that the Smith family has donated to the STTC.
After a brief overview presentation given by Col. Craig Langhauser, commander, the Soldiers experienced the latest in interactive gaming research efforts underway at the center. The STTC's Blended Simulation Branch is researching Nintendo Wii as well as looking into immersive, virtual worlds for learning and training applications.
These types of technologies allow multiple users in various locations to experience 3-D interactions simultaneously using digital representations called avatar, thus providing widespread benefits such as distance learning, collaboration, cultural training and outreach via multiple-person, real-time interaction.
"Ultimately this effort will provide collaborative and immersive training for users," said Tami Griffith, science and technology manager. "Also, we are looking at using intelligent tutors that will be able to pace learning based on subtle user indicators, such as furrowed brows depicting confusion or wandering eye suggesting boredom."
The STTC is a training and simulation center with a mission aimed at conducting research and development to enhance Warfighter mission effectiveness.
In an effort to ensure they are providing Soldiers with the best simulation technology to support the missions they are being asked to perform, STTC engineers sat down with the Soldiers prior to their departure.
The Soldiers weren't shy to discuss what works and what doesn't. The majority of them agreed that the training systems and devices are helpful; however, many noted that they need better training on how to use them.
"Better cultural training would've been very helpful prior to deploying," said 1st Lt. Vanderhayden, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, at Fort Lewis, Wash.
When it came to language training Sgt. 1st Class Brant noted, "We were issued smart cards and a booklet, but it didn't help us learn the pronunciation."
According to Sgt. 1st Class Dickson, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, at Fort Lewis, Wash. the Advanced Gunnery Training System was an asset for training his platoon. "The mobile gun trainer did an awesome job augmenting the training," said Dickson.
"Feedback from units returning from theater helps us identify training technology gaps, evaluate the usability of our current training concepts, and research new solutions for training and mission rehearsal," stated Langhauser.
Following their visit to the STTC, the Soldiers were scheduled to tour the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, also located in Orlando, and the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, located at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., before returning home.