A Holodeck for All Your Training Needs

Will massive, immersive video games become the training grounds of the future? The US Army thinks so.

If we’ve learned anything over the last decade it’s that video games aren’t just for kids anymore. Given their immersive story lines, near realistic graphics and ability to integrate motion into gameplay, video games are becoming valuable environments for simulation of all sorts – and the military has taken note.

In a Sources Sought notice recently published on the US Army’s website, the US military is looking to develop “Home Station Training and the Integrated Training Environment”.

Essentially an immersive video game training module, the amazingly unacronymed trainer would give soldiers, police and other security personnel the ability to practice combat maneuvers without putting themselves in harm’s way.

Fortunately for the military, it might not have to wait too long for the design and delivery of such a system.

Called the Virtual Immersive Portable Environment (VIPE) Holodeck, Northrop Grumman’s entry into the world of video game training has been years in the making. Using cheap hardware and components, Grumman has designed a lightweight, portable simulator that can provide training to one or more operators.

Capable of depicting a realistic combat experience that can be augmented on the fly, a VIPE Holodeck can be networked to other units to create a truly massive, multiplayer training environment. Beyond combat training the Holodeck can also support language and cultural training, an essential component of modern warfare.

Although designed primarily for combat training, the VIPE Holodeck’s versatility is obvious and one can easily see how the sim could be reconfigured to work for a number of different agencies that require immersive training.

While there’s no substitute for real world experience, training in an immersive simulator could improve the readiness and reaction of those operating in environments as far flung as space and as nearby as your own hometown.

Images and Video Courtesy of Northrop Grumman