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A new virtual reality (VR) method recreates and simulates past, present, and future battles. VR has proven invaluable as a tool for training soldiers and other military personnel, immersing them in a perfectly safe and entirely virtual world. Users can complete military boot camps, experience missions in far-flung locations under various conditions, be thrown into an active battlefield, and partake in live-fire exercises. 

Now, a team at Purdue University is leveraging VR to educate military leaders about battlefield history and help them make better judgment calls under pressure. The simulations are viewed via VR headsets or on desktop displays and can be displayed in 3D, providing a VR tour of former battles.

Using the BattleFlow software’s mathematical model to simulate troop movements, encounters and outcomes inspired from fluid mechanics, the simulations can be used in training staff and commanding officers with past, present, or future battle scenarios. 

In partnership with Discovery Park and the Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation, Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts has developed the new battlefield simulation technology as part of its FORCES (4S) initiative – Strategy, Security, and Social Systems.

The software has been designed by the FORCES team as an educational tool. The first BattleFlow simulation takes users back to the D-Day beaches of 1944, providing a virtual “tour” of the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France, featuring historical troop movements, terrain contours, and defenses, replaying the battle minute by minute: