New Virtual Horizons: Oculus Rift in Training Part 1

Oculus Rift demo, development  

With the energized backing of the California based company, Oculus VR, virtual reality is getting closer to becoming a common fact of life in a variety of industries; especially considering their recent announcement July 1, 2014: “The first batch of official DK2s have left the manufacturing facility and are making their way to our distribution centers now. We expect to ship roughly 10,000 DK2s from the factory in July…” The DK2 (Developer Kit #2) is Oculus VR’s second generation virtual reality headset, continuing the company’s vision of “immersive virtual reality technology that's wearable and affordable.” With VR developers getting greater access to the devices necessary to integrate their ideas onto a testable platform, 3D animation is going to play an essential role in taking advantage of the new technological possibilities for entertainment, education, military training, and medicine. The horizon becomes seemingly limitless when we consider the always surprising ingenuity of inventors and entrepreneurs in fields unthinkable until now.

Training with 3D Animation

Simulating effective training exercises will be a unique experience with Oculus Rift as developers explore new ways to use the technology. Training programs and methods of learning specific skills that were once limited primarily to textbook work because of high risk and/or expensive requirements for hands-on practice can begin to 3-dimensionally render virtual objects and environments once difficult to include in particular fields like medicine, high-risk construction, combat, aviation, and biologically hazardous occupation.

Oculus Rift: Military Training A couple years back I posted about Flight Simulators and the valuable role they are beginning to play in the Air Force and Navy - noting the importance that they play in developing a pilot’s situational awareness. Well in March this year, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) revealed it is developing a combat project using Oculus Rift called Plan X. Andy Greenburg’s article in Wired magazine wrote:

At the Pentagon Wednesday, the armed forces’ far-out research branch known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency showed off its latest demos for Plan X, a long-gestating software platform designed to unify digital attack and defense tools into a single, easy-to-use interface for American military hackers. And for the last few months, that program has had a new toy: The agency is experimenting with using the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset to give cyber-warriors a new way to visualize three-dimensional network simulations–in some cases with the goal of better targeting them for attack. ‘Darpa Turns Oculus into a Weapon for Cyberwar’5.23.14

While Oculus Rift isn’t strapped to the head of soldiers yet, it is proving itself as a serious player in 3D animated realities.   The ability for its user to actually turn around in the virtual environment by using normal body motion greatly enhances the user’s ability to interact naturally with its simulated environment.