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digital nation - life on the virtual frontier

Stress Inoculation

There's a growing interest in using simulations to help prepare soldiers for the high stress of combat. Albert "Skip" Rizzo, PhD., is a research scientist exploring virtual reality for mental health treatment.

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Virtual Training


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photo of avatar iraqis

The Infantry Immersion Trainer and Virtual Iraq aren't the only digital simulations in use by the armed forces. Here's a look at some of the other technologies used to train the troops:

  • DARWARS Ambush is an Army training simulation based on Operation Flashpoint, a commercial Cold War-based video game. Implemented in 2004, this immersive multi-player system allows servicemembers to practice tactics used against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. It lets users create and customize new virtual scenarios in the field, so that troops on the ground can recreate, share and discuss incidents they've encountered.
  • Game After Ambush is the Army's latest virtual training simulation, a follow-up to DARWARS Ambush being implemented throughout 2009. It uses the Virtual Battlespace 2 (VBS2) simulation engine, which was developed from ArmA: Armed Assault, a commercial video game.
  • Army medics can learn to treat combat wounds in a virtual world through the Tactical Field Care Trainer (TC3).
  • The Army is developing a massively multi-player online game, similar to Second Life, in order to train soldiers for unconventional warfare, such as counterinsurgency operations. The virtual environment, called Asymmetric Warfare -- Virtual Training Technology (AW - VTT), will be accessible from anywhere via an Internet connection. Even Iraqi civilians could be recruited to play the role of civilians in the game to heighten the realism.
  • The Tactical Language & Culture Training Systems teach troops Arabic and local Iraqi customs through an immersive computer game.


posted February 2, 2010

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