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Norwegian Armed Forces adapting the Oculus Rift for military purposes.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Original Article with video can be found at Teknisk Ukeblad ("Tech Weekly").

TL;DR: Norwegian Armed Forces have launched a project with the intention to put the Oculus Rift on vehicle operator's heads, allowing them 360 degree vision and greater situational awareness - and thus freeing up the vehicle commander to focus more on the larger scale combat situation. (Since most people seem to think that this is for training/education: It is not. It is intended for operative use in combat operations.)

As a former vehicle operator in the Norwegian Army, I personally drool over the possibilities this offers, and I'm certain vehicle commanders feel the exact same way. And having been the platoon designated "lining up all the vehicles guy" because everyone else was piss poor at backing up precisely, it would have freed up a fuckton of my own time :P

The following is a crude translation of the article by Teknisk Ukeblad, written up by me. If any other natives on Vikingland feel they can offer more precise translations of parts of, or the entire article, please go for it.

 

 

 

 

Watch the Army drive armored vehicles with the Oculus Rift

The Army is currently trialling the Oculus Rift gaming-goggles in Norwegian armored vehicles.
By Eirik Helland Urke
Published April 15th 2014, 09:09am

The effect can best be described as sitting in a transparent tank. Teknisk Ukeblad got to test an early development version at the Rena proving grounds, with a prototype of the Oculus Rift, and the specially developed camera system.
With cameras on all sides of the armored vehicle and the special goggles, vehicle operators a 360 degree field of view from the vehicle, even with the hatches battened down.
A company in Hamar, Norway, MakingView that has been aiding the Norwegian Army Battle Lab developing the camera system and software.

Oculus Rift

The special thing about the Oculus Rift goggles, is that the view seamlessly follows the head's movements.

If the vehicle operator turns his head left, he looks straight out of the left camera.
By looking down, he sees straight down unto the tracks of the vehicle, enabling him to parallel park with centimeter precision, without aid from the vehicle commander.
Oculus Rift is mostly talked about in connection with computer gaming, because it allows for a very realistic gaming experience. It's as close as we have gotten to Virtual Reality (VR) to date.
Recently, the company was acquired by Facebook for twelve billion NOK, before a consumer version has even been released onto the open market.

 

Computer Games
Precisely computer games have been part in inspiring the new systems being tested by Battle Lab at Rena.

- People playing "Battlefield" have much better vision and situational awareness than one has in an actual vehicle. However, with our software, you can add the information you are used to from games, such as map overlays, orientation, tilt and speed, says development manager Daniel Mestervik of MakingView.

 

1200027237.jpg
Photo: Eirik Helland Urke

 

Augmented Reality
For the Army, it's important to be able to implement their upcoming Battle Management System (BMS), a new support system for combat use. It proves itself difficult for personnel to utilize this system in a chaotic and stressfull combat situation, which is why the possibilities of seeing the information in a Heads-Up Display through the use of Augmented Reality with Oculus Rift.
Thus, one can see elements like friendly forces, weapons and minefields overlaid on the terrain, without having to take your eyes off the surroundings to interpret information on separate monitors.
The AR information overlay system being tested by the Army is developed by Augmenti, based in Trondheim, Norway.
Together with Oculus Rift, the system allows the vehicle operator to navigate more independently by the vehicle commander's intention, rather than having to get constant accurate driving instructions, and operate with large blind spots. This allows the vehicle operator to drive independently to a much larger degree, allowing the vehicle commander to focus more on the combat situation at hand.

 

1200027235.jpg

Photo: Eirik Helland Urke

 

Optimistic
Major Ola Petter Odden, of the Army's Combat Lab, is optimistic after the first practical tests at Rena.
- This concept shows great promise. We find the goggles to lack the screen resolution to see well at a distance, and they can cause a certain degree of dizziness for the vehicle operator. We believe these issues can be improved fairly quickly, says Maj. Odden to TU.
The tests were conducted with commercial and inexpensive equipment, which opens for large scale deployment in Norwegian armored vehicles. Battle Lab believes the system can be operational in as little as five years, which is quite fast in a military context.
- I can imagine the system being technically mature enough in two or three years, then a qualification period is required to ruggedize the equipment, and make it ready for use in traffic.

He stresses that any introduction to the Norwegian Army depends on how it fits into the overall schedules for material procurement.

Positive with regards to Facebook

Battle Lab are positive with regard to Facebook's acquisition of Oculus Rift.
- We think it's very beneficial, as they now have the necessary funding to develop this further. We also take note that competing systems are beginning to appear, which makes us all the more optimistic that we'll be able to get good enough goggles, says Maj. Ola Petter Odden to Teknisk Ukeblad.

 

1200027230.jpg
Photo: Eirik Helland Urke

 

 


Too much is never enough.

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the last photo looks so goofy


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Years later we'll look back and say "and that's how Facebook took over the world's armies."


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They could create armoured troop transports that don't have windows and the driver sees using VR

 

or a gunner could fire the mounted guns without popping his head out, while the computer shows friendly units and terrain maps so he can be more accurate with information

 

also fun in the evenings !!!! haha


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We're fucked.

every time i see that i video i think of one of my friends xD 


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Interesting... I think all militaries will adapt to technology to train recruits. I mean every air force uses flight simulators rather than throwing a cadet in to the cockpit of an F-18.

 

The Australian Army uses virtual reality to train recruits in basic firearm handling. Things such as firing down the range, feeling weapon weight, recoil and accuracy is all taught through a big virtual environment.

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Years later we'll look back and say "and that's how Facebook took over the world's armies."

Facebook is Skynet!


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Posted · Original PosterOP

They could create armoured troop transports that don't have windows and the driver sees using VR

or a gunner could fire the mounted guns without popping his head out

To be fair, operators of APCs and IFVs see just about sweet, sweet fuck-all as it is now.

Also, meet the Kongsberg Protector RWS, also of viking heritage:

96b4666901c1efc7_org.jpg

 

 

Interesting... I think all militaries will adapt to technology to train recruits.

This isn't a training project, but intended for operational combat use.

 

The Australian Army uses virtual reality to train recruits in basic firearm handling. Things such as firing down the range, feeling weapon weight, recoil and accuracy is all taught through a big virtual environment.

 

...youwha.... I always knew Aussies were nutters, but holy jumping shitballs, that's bonkers.


Too much is never enough.

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Also, meet the Kongsberg Protector RWS, also of viking heritage:

 

This should be Canons new DSLR, 50 cal included


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They could create armoured troop transports that don't have windows and the driver sees using VR

or a gunner could fire the mounted guns without popping his head out, while the computer shows friendly units and terrain maps so he can be more accurate with information

also fun in the evenings !!!! haha

It already exists. Camera on gunner with thermal view. It's called CROWS.

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It already exists. Camera on gunner with thermal view. It's called CROWS.

 

yeah, I know systems like that exist. What I meant was, wearing VR the guy inside can look around 360 degrees, with a nice visual overlay, and the weapon could aim where he looks with motion tracking, no fiddly controls and joysticks to contend with. He can turn his head fast and natrual and not have to pan around with the gun, perhaps he could have picture in picture, so he can look around and ALSO see where the gun is looking in order to keep an eye on friendlies or que up secondary targets


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Posted · Original PosterOP

well at least it will train them better..

probably...

Since people seem to keep thinking this is a training aid, I've added the following to the TL;DR section:

 

(Since most people seem to think that this is for training/education: It is not. It is intended for operative use in combat operations.)

 

yeah, I know systems like that exist. What I meant was, wearing VR the guy inside can look around 360 degrees, with a nice visual overlay, and the weapon could aim where he looks with motion tracking, no fiddly controls and joysticks to contend with. He can turn his head fast and natrual and not have to pan around with the gun, perhaps he could have picture in picture, so he can look around and ALSO see where the gun is looking in order to keep an eye on friendlies or que up secondary targets

 

Whilst it does sound nice, the problem you'd get from slaving the turret movement to the gunner's head, is that the gun would spin around like mad any time the gunner reacted to something around the vehicle. Not only would it be inefficient, but also a huge safety hazard.

As it is today, the Norwegian made Kongsberg Protector RWS (known in yankland as CROWS II) is equipped with a large amount of optical sensors that let the gunner use a monitor (or monitor bank) to operate it by joystick, and it works pretty damn well. The thing you have to take into account here, is that gunners don't suffer from the same lack of situational awareness as a vehicle operator does - as the gunner, or his sensors in the case of a Protector RWS, are located on top of the vehicle and all ready allow for 360 degrees of field of view.


Too much is never enough.

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Since people seem to keep thinking this is a training aid, I've added the following to the TL;DR section:

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst it does sound nice, the problem you'd get from slaving the turret movement to the gunner's head, is that the gun would spin around like mad any time the gunner reacted to something around the vehicle. Not only would it be inefficient, but also a huge safety hazard.

As it is today, the Norwegian made Kongsberg Protector RWS (known in yankland as CROWS II) is equipped with a large amount of optical sensors that let the gunner use a monitor (or monitor bank) to operate it by joystick, and it works pretty damn well. The thing you have to take into account here, is that gunners don't suffer from the same lack of situational awareness as a vehicle operator does - as the gunner, or his sensors in the case of a Protector RWS, are located on top of the vehicle and all ready allow for 360 degrees of field of view.

 

What if the gunner had a VR headset so he can look "around" the vehicle, but still controller the gun via joystick or pad. Then the guns line of site, and the rounds estimated trajectory was displayed on the headset, a bit like a fighter jet hud. It could even have lock on data for things like air to air missiles or countermeasures/smoke canisters (if they are carried on that vehicle, lets say a tank)

 

Then instead of looking at a tiny screen he gets a projected weapon display on this headset, he can look in any direction, and it shows him at the bottom the direction the gun is facing, and he can then just rotate it and line it up with the projected trajectory. It can also show him the direction the vehicle is facing

 

I drew it in paint :3

 

EDIT: updated panting

post-17790-0-96210100-1397726302_thumb.p


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Then instead of looking at a tiny screen he gets to look at two tiny screens

 

Fixed it for you :P

 

On a more serious note, yes, what you're describing is a much more plausible way to adapt the Oculus system for gunner use.

The issue with this would be that he doesn't get the highly magnified imaging, thermal imagery etc. that a module like the Protector RWS offers. I am certain that as technology improves, we will find a way in which one can seamlessly transition from looking through generic 360 degree cameras to taking advantage of the vehicle's advanced sensor systems. That said, I think we'll have to wait quite a few years before we get that far.


Too much is never enough.

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Fixed it for you :P

 

On a more serious note, yes, what you're describing is a much more plausible way to adapt the Oculus system for gunner use.

The issue with this would be that he doesn't get the highly magnified imaging, thermal imagery etc. that a module like the Protector RWS offers. I am certain that as technology improves, we will find a way in which one can seamlessly transition from looking through generic 360 degree cameras to taking advantage of the vehicle's advanced sensor systems. That said, I think we'll have to wait quite a few years before we get that far.

 

Check out my paint drawing!!!!! The oculus could easily overlay thermal/infrared data with the flick of a switch


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Posted · Original PosterOP

A future version of VR goggles (if not the Oculus, then some other brand) will probably be able to, but the graphical quality of the goggles aren't quite there yet.
Testers have specifically reported issues with seeing objects at a distance clearly, if at all. That doesn't mean we won't get there though, I am quite confident we will.


Either way, I'm excited for this thing, I'll definitely have to test the final version, I think it will be amazeballs :)


Too much is never enough.

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