For nearly three decades, Bob Stone has worked in the field of virtual reality (VR), and he now sees the technology's applications becoming a reality, particularly in the military realm. Stone is working with British defense firm BAE Systems to develop augmented reality systems that would help military personnel and decision-makers optimize their situational awareness.
However, Stone notes a lot of questions remain about how best to do this. "Does it need to be visual? Does it need to look like the real world? What happens if we introduce video, and live feeds from news channels and social networking sites?" he asks.
One current idea is a "wearable cockpit" worn by pilots that could enable them to customize their aircraft interface based on personal preference and mission objectives.
Another idea is the "portable command center," which would enable a user wearing a VR headset and interactive gloves to summon up and interact with a mixed-reality environment displaying various aspects of the battlefield, including the landscape, newsfeeds, and data from surveillance drones.
However, issues remain, such as the long-term effects of such systems on their users and compensating for the imperfection and unreliability of the data on which such simulations would be built.
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