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Norway's VR test helps soldiers see through armored vehicles

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 5, 2014
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There's a good reason why games like Battlefield rarely offer a realistic view of what it's like to steer armored vehicles: actual drivers have to either look through tiny portholes or risk getting shot. The Norwegian Army may not be so restricted in the future, though. It's testing a system from MakingView that uses Oculus Rift VR helmets to help soldiers glimpse through a vehicle's protective plating. The headset is linked to a set of cameras that, like a recent drone experiment, lets drivers simply look in a given direction to see what's outside.

The technology isn't always as effective as poking your head out of the cupola, at least not right now; the army is still using low-resolution Oculus hardware that can make you dizzy. However, it's good enough that drivers can already get around without much help, letting the commander focus on the mission at hand. It also provides the overlays you'd expect from a video game, such as maps. The VR system could enter service within five years, so long as the military can afford it. Thankfully, there's a good chance of that happening -- a complete Oculus Rift setup costs just a fraction of what the government would pay for custom hardware.

[Thanks, Stein]

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