One of the far-flung, futuristic ideas in the later versions of Star Trek was the idea of a chamber where holographic projections could form a true-to-life environment for training purposes. What seemed like science fiction then now seems closer to fact as the idea of a “holodeck” is starting to look like the next training tool for our armed forces.
Military contractor Northrop Grumman is taking a cue from Captain Picard with a virtual training device currently going under the handle Virtual Portable Environment (VIPE), a fully digital training system that puts the user into a virtual world.
VIPE takes the video game to the next level, creating a 360-degree environment that immerses users in a high-definition world.
As WIRED magazine recently reported, “The VIPE Holodeck can support live, virtual, and constructive simulation and training exercises, including team training, cultural and language training, and support for ground, air, and remote platform training.”
Northrop Grumman also claims that this system can be built with “commercial, off-the-shelf hardware,” which, they claim, will keep the costs of the system down.
During the AUSA Aviation symposium in January, Brig. Gen. Michael Lundy, deputy commanding general at the Army Combined Arms Center, said, “We want to get away from having multiple environments, virtual gaming and instruction, and go to one synthetic environment, get to a lower overhead, and integrate the full operations process.”
Northrop Grumman feels that VIPE could lend itself to all sorts of training needs and could be used in such fields as medicine, law enforcement, and other first responder jobs.