Virtual Reality to Aid the Military | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Virtual Reality to Aid the Military

The University of Birmingham is collaborating with BAE systems to develop virtual reality tools to aid the military. Sci&Tech writer, Roshni Patel reports.

In 1979, laptops were invented as an alternative to bulky computers which tied users to their desks. Now, in 2015, a collaboration between the University of Birmingham and BAE Systems is looking to develop a futuristic briefcase-sized command and control centre. This would allow military and disaster response teams to co-ordinate resources in battle or disaster zones, no matter where on the planet they might be.

Users will be able to use augmented reality to view and control military operations from almost anywhere
Using lightweight transparent glasses and advanced head, arm and hand motion capture technologies, users will be able to use augmented reality to view and control military operations from almost anywhere. They will have access to real-time media including remote video, satellite and drone images, news feeds and social media postings, as well as benefiting from the support of computer-generated advisers. The technology will allow them to make quick decisions such as moving resources or directing operations, no matter how remote such operations might be.

vr birds eyeDirector of the University’s Human Interface Technologies Team, Professor Bob Stone, who has over 30 years of experience with Virtual and Augmented Reality, has been closely involved with this project.  He said "Our work with BAE Systems shows just how close we are to delivering the next generation of advanced mixed reality interfaces for future applications not only in defence, but also in such important domains as engineering and healthcare."

With Military experts suggesting their immediate deployment in the next 5 years, Nick Colosimo, part of BAE Systems’ Future Projects Team, sees the technology “enhancing the user's situational awareness to provide battle-winning and life-saving tools and insights wherever they may be”. BAE Systems has even suggested that in 20 years’ time, the entire display may be squeezed onto a pair of contact lenses. But for now at least, generals will have a briefcase sized command station, ready to turn any surface into the operations HQ.

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9th October 2015 at 10:21 am

Last Updated

9th October 2015 at 2:20 pm

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BAE Systems