Mixed Reality System to Revolutionize Defense Training

Mixed Reality System to Revolutionize Defense Training


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Combining a virtual reality head mounted display and a simulated environment, Rockwell Collins Coalescence mixed reality system puts the complete training scenario in the hands, and in front of the eyes, of the trainee.

Coalescence, a wearable mixed reality training for air, land and sea domains, merges the trainee’s real world view with a synthetic environment providing a seamlessly enhanced, mixed reality. This mixed reality provides trainees with immersive and engaging training scenarios for faster learning transfer and more effective training, according to the company’s website.

“This solution goes beyond pulling commercial virtual reality headsets off the shelf for operational use, and integrates them with 50 years of Rockwell Collins’ advanced research and development for simulation and training,” said Nick Gibbs, vice president and general manager of Simulation & Training Solutions for Rockwell Collins.

Gibbs explains that mixed reality differs from virtual reality in several key ways. In a virtual reality setting, everything is simulated. That’s not the case in mixed reality, which blends in elements from the real world so the user can practice with actual hardware and humans, he said.

The new system seamlessly combines the virtual and real world with low total system latency to avoid motion sickness. Future efforts will focus on adding depth sensing technology, increasing the positional tracking volume, and technology refreshes to keep current with the latest commercial helmet mounted display developments.

According to defensenews.com, the system can be mated to an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset with existing simulation equipment, and pipe data from the simulator into the headset. Rockwell Collins showcased how Coalescence works with an Oculus Rift and typical military hardware not hooked up to a simulator — items like a cockpit, displays and controls — which are integrated with the company’s core simulation architecture and a synthetic environment.

Gibbs believes it could be adapted for a variety of missions including joint tactical air control, dismounted soldier, driver training and even some rotary-wing applications.

The system was showcased recently at the I/ITSEC 2016 Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Florida. It will become available in 2017 with production anticipated in 2018.