The increasing maturity and increased affordability of Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, offers an increasingly cost-effective and flexible route to providing advanced, interactive training solutions. SEA is expanding beyond the research phase into the practical and achievable use of AR technologies for improved decision support, training and other applications.
- Unobstructed interaction with the real world environment
- Intelligent selection of the most appropriate AR/VR technology
- Improved situational awareness
- Applications for both training and operational scenarios
- Accurate ‘registration’ and overlay of augmented information
- User filtering of augmented information – provides the right information at the right time in the right place
- Compatible with latest AR headsets and graphics engines
- Consideration of the appropriate information sources and human factors display issues
- Continued monitoring of the latest AR developments
AR has been defined as:
"A live direct or indirect experience of a physical real world environment whose elements are augmented by supplementary information".
It is important to note that AR involves augmentation of the real world (i.e. it is not a simulation), and the technology covers a range of senses including visual, auditory and haptic (touch or tactile). AR is often used to provide spatial information (e.g. Where is the closest object/person/feature of interest?), but has much wider utility to pre-compile and display information, allowing much greater utility and understanding of the information by the user.
A number of the identified AR application areas align closely with existing SEA capabilities. Based on this, we have been able to bring together existing knowledge and the AR expertise to deliver the informed use of AR to enhance the capabilities in these areas, such as:
- Remote Skilling
- Access to Information Systems
AR has many opportunities to enhance the provision of training. Examples that have been considered include:
- Synthetic augmentation of live training
- AR visualisation of complex information
AR provides the means to combine the synthetic environment with the live environment thus providing the opportunity to gain the benefits of each:
- A synthetic environment provides benefits in cost, safety and controllability
- A live environment provide the realism, immersion and "friction" that is difficult or impossible to recreate synthetically
Live training can be augmented through the injection of synthetic entities or weapon effects. These can be injected through a combination of visual, auditory and/or haptic stimuli providing a truly immersive experience.
AR provides a means to pre-compile information and presents it to the user in ways that can be more easily assimilated, whilst also providing the means to allow users to interact with it either individually or collaboratively. In this way AR provides the opportunity for novel approaches to learning and training.