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Explore DOD's Virtual Worlds

In a series of six articles being published this week, American Forces Press Service reporter Cheryl Pellerin explores DOD's use of virtual worlds for training, research and a growing number of other activities to save money, time and lives.

May 9, 2011

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Immersive Technology Fuels Infantry Simulators

WASHINGTON, May 12, 2011 – A DOD program combines infrastructure, actors, and three-dimensional immersive technologies that replicate war to help Marines and soldiers make better and faster decisions on the ground. Rocket-propelled grenades explode, villagers scream in Arabic, squad members move together through the rough streets past animal pens and bazaar stalls, and the hot air carries local sounds and smells. It’s not Afghanistan’s Helmand province. It’s a 130,000-square-foot building on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in southern California. Story

Fighting Bombs in Cyberspace Gives Army an ‘EDGE’

WASHINGTON, May 12, 2011 – Afghan people and places are being replicated in cyberspace, giving warfighters a way to train for one of the most complex, deadly situations they will face on the ground. The fight against improvised explosive devices or homemade bombs -- weapons of choice for terrorists everywhere -- has lots of moving parts. That’s why the Joint IED Defeat Organization here is funding a research project prototype that combines technology from virtual worlds, Army simulations and computer gaming. Story

Navy Explores Engineering, Training in Virtual Worlds

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2011 – The Navy is exploring virtual worlds for applications in the air and under the sea, including the real-time design of future command-and-control spaces for submarines. In late 2007, the Division Newport leadership set out to determine whether “rapidly evolving technologies like gaming engines, Web 2.0 and a new thing called virtual worlds could impact our undersea warfare domain,” Aguiar told American Forces Press Service. Story

Army Warfighters Go Digital to Hone Skills

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2011 – With more than 1 million service members on active duty in the United States, the military services, and especially the Army, are running short of a critical commodity -- training grounds. “We have a lot of soldiers coming home to stations here in the United States, and … we don’t have enough terrain in many of those places to train those soldiers out on live ranges,” Army Col. Anthony D. Krogh told American Forces Press Service. Story | Video

Virtual Worlds Form Defense Training Frontier

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2011 – Five years from now, if Frank C. DiGiovanni has his way, warfighters from every service will learn aspects of their trade on a world in cyberspace. The Defense Department will save money, time, and ultimately, lives, he said, and it’s his job to make that virtual world a reality. DiGiovanni is director of training readiness and strategy in the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for readiness. He’s also a retired Air Force colonel and a senior aviator. Story | Video

Emerging Learning Systems in ‘Second Life’

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2011 – In a pasture outside Dayton, Ohio, Wilbur and Orville Wright created the first practical airplane and taught themselves to fly it. They called the place Huffman Prairie and flew the 1905 Wright Flyer III into history on that rough patch of land. More than 100 years later, Air Force pioneers are creating a legacy in another place called Huffman Prairie, this one in a virtual world called “Second Life.” Story | Video 1 | Video 2