Evaluating The Effects of Immersion on Naval Training Applications

Start Date: 08/01/2009
End Date: 09/30/2013

Military training has been one of the most successful applications of virtual reality (VR) technologies. VR systems provide a realistic first-person view of a synthetic world, and allow trainees to interact directly with that world, making them useful for training motor skills, decision-making, and navigation. However, there are a wide range of VR technologies, and very little is known about which technologies provide the most benefit for various military training scenarios. In order to achieve the best return on investment, the Navy needs empirical data on the effectiveness of VR technologies. In recent years, the use of augmented reality (AR) has also become popular for military training. AR is attractive because it allows personnel to train in real-world environments. Just as with VR, however, there is a lack of empirical data about the effectiveness of AR training systems.

We propose to characterize both AR and VR training systems by the level of immersion they provide. Our use of the term immersion refers to the objective level of fidelity of the sensory stimuli produced by a display system. Using this concept, we propose a series of empirical studies, based on the most common tasks found in VR/AR training systems, to determine the effects of various components of immersion. Since actual AR/VR technologies differ in many ways, we propose to run controlled studies using an AR/VR simulator. The simulator uses high-end VR facilities to reproduce the sensory cues provided by actual AR/VR displays. In addition to the controlled studies using the simulator approach, we propose to validate our results using actual AR/VR technologies. All of this data will allow us to deliver a set of guidelines and recommendations to the Navy regarding the required and desirable levels of immersion for military training systems.

Grant Institution: ONR (through agreement with University of California, Santa Barbara)

Amount: $647,000

People associated with this grant:

Doug Bowman