Simulation and Training Technology
Research efforts in the Simulation and Training Technology MLP are directed at the conduct of fundamental and applied research as well as technology development. Training is the number one Warfighter outcome identified by the U.S. Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) for FY11. The pace and diversity of U.S. Army missions require training that is equally rapid, responsive, and tailorable. The advances in computing capability, the proliferation of nearly off-the-shelf platforms for training delivery, known gaps in training effectiveness of current approaches, and the cost of training all drive this research. Key areas of emphasis are intelligent agents for training and testing applications; immersive environments where the level and type of immersion are driven by the goals of using a simulation; the high-demand environment of simulations for the dismounted Soldier, simulations targeted at medical training and at applications where vehicle and terrain fidelity are critical; and advances in providing massive, real-time, distributed simulation for analysis and experimentation.
Intelligent Technologies for Training
The goal of this research is to improve the capabilities of intelligent agents to then enhance the adaptability of intelligent tutors and realism of virtual humans in one-to-one and one-to-many training experiences where human support is limited, impractical, or completely unavailable. Technical challenges include the application of intelligent agents in ill-defined domains; understanding natural language in multi-sided conversations with trainees; team tutoring; and rapid authoring of tutors and virtual humans.
Synthetic environments research includes fundamental research in the generation of dynamic synthetic environments and models for training, education, testing, and analysis. This technology objective builds on knowledge of terrain formats, visual modeling, and data sources and applies it to the development of advanced simulation capabilities.
Immersive learning environments research is directed at understanding the dimensions of simulation that make it an appropriate tool or venue for a particular purpose. What a simulation is being used for is critical. For some types of research, it is a matter of control and for others; simulation must provide the same behavioral results as the "real world." For training applications, it is not merely a matter of realism, but critically, of whether use of the simulation promotes learning. Targeted areas of emphasis include portable, yet immersive applications and simulations that have utility in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is far too common for Soldiers today.
Training Application Environments
- Dismounted Soldier Training Environments - The goal of this research is to provide more realistic locomotion and interaction in virtual and mixed reality training environments. This research will develop/evaluate virtual interfaces and expand concepts to include tracking, orientation, and accurate registration with live environments; and obscuration of live trainees/objects by dynamic virtual entities. There are significant challenges in providing natural interaction with virtual/mixed reality training environments over long periods of time without adverse effects (e.g., simulator sickness); and with developing solutions that are interoperable with the U.S. Army's established family of simulations, the predominant semi-automated forces simulation and the prevalent standards to support interoperability and maintainability of simulations.
- Medical Simulation and Training Environments - The requirements for medical simulation and training environments epitomize the need to train for diagnosis in a dynamic environment, flawless execution of procedures, and rapid trade-offs and decision making, all in a noisy, dirty, and dangerous environment. The need for visual, tactile, and olfactory realism is clear. This competency area includes challenging issues in power management, interaction design, and realistic representation of human behavioral, pharmacological, and physiological functions. Additionally, training for medical personnel is currently quite costly and time-consuming. Advances in medical simulation and training environments can make important progress against all of these concerns
- Ground Platform Training Environments - The U.S. Army has long promoted an embedded training concept where training technology is embedded within an operational system. Extensions of this concept are the development of advanced simulation interfaces that ostensibly replicate the critical features of a system to meet the training intent and the development of simulations that can be embedded with current dismounted Soldier equipment.
Advanced Distributed Simulation
The goal of this core competency is to develop a common integrating system of systems (SoS) architecture to synchronize modeling and simulation (M&S) across RDECOM and other external M&S communities. This venue is intended not only to support synchronization, but also collaboration via the development of a common core simulation infrastructure and tools, common systems engineering processes for M&S, and a geographically distributed/collaboration-enabling services. These services include an integrated development environment (IDE) for web collaboration and distributed virtual lab services.