Visualizing the Future
Accelerating Augmented and Virtual Reality for Richer Visualization in Training
Imagine hopping into a flight seat, donning a set of goggles and instantly being transported to a virtual environment where you can train on a variety of fighter jet missions. You can feel the stick and throttle in your hands and can even see your hand virtually represented as you engage with the cockpit displays – but the vast swath of sky around you is an immersive, virtual reality space where synthetic threats can be inserted to challenge you as you improve your skills and mission readiness.
This sounds futuristic, but with Lockheed Martin’s virtual and augmented reality technologies, this training capability is closer than you think.
Lockheed Martin’s wireless devices and HD virtual reality devices use commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) tablets that can be inserted to provide the visual display on the headset. Inside the headset, Fresnel lenses provide an ultra-wide field of view for exceptional fidelity and a more immersive virtual reality environment.
Developing Cutting-Edge Technologies for Virtualization
Through the development of ultra-wide field of view lenses and unique algorithms that build virtual worlds, Lockheed Martin has produced head-wearable devices that leverage virtual and augmented reality for more realistic training.
“Our current wireless head-wearable virtual reality display design enables the viewer to have nearly full peripheral vision,” said Rick Boggs, Senior Fellow at Lockheed Martin. “This reduces motion sickness or disorientation for the user, while also offering exceptional fidelity and a deeper immersion experience that makes the training environment feel real.”
Lockheed Martin’s lens technology is versatile, able to also support augmented reality training where a microdisplay is reflected into the eyes. We developed unique, see-through curved lenses that allow the wearer to augment what they see in reality with an image on the display. With these lightweight, high field-of-view lenses, the user can truly “learn by doing” as the displayed image supplements their hands-on skill development.
Simulation and training industry customers need more affordable training approaches. Head-wearable displays address this challenge by offering significant cost savings when compared to traditional training media. These visualization tools can also be used for anytime, anywhere training – enabling customers to stay mission-ready, anywhere in the world.
Our optical technology provides very lightweight, see-through displays that overlay imagery onto what can be seen in the real world.
Increasing Effectiveness of Live Training
We are also advancing augmented reality (AR) technology as a part of the Office of Naval Research’s Augmented Immersive Team Training (AITT) program. The AITT program looks to enhance force-on-force training of call-for-fire and close air support missions by using augmented reality to combine virtual information with a real-world view.
For example, AITT injects virtual elements like weapons effects or aircraft and virtual targets into a real world view of one’s surroundings. Substituting simulated effects in place of live ones increases realism, reduces the cost of training and allows more elements of an infantry to train together for increased effectiveness. Lockheed Martin has invented and developed multiple augmented reality devices that further enable the vision of AITT, including devices that support low-latency head motion and ultra-high resolution imagery.
As part of the AITT team, Lockheed Martin’s role is to provide the rendering software technology that overlays the virtual entities onto the live video scene while making it look as real as possible. “It’s similar to the technology that paints the yellow ‘First Down’ line onto the football field during NFL games,” said Wayne Civinskas, Senior Program Manager for Advanced Simulation Centers at Lockheed Martin.
“Programs like AITT help us partner with small businesses and laboratories to develop the transition path to mature these technologies,” said Atul Patel, Director of Advanced Technology for Lockheed Martin’s Training and Logistics Solutions business. “Through collaboration, we can deliver the best value to our customers.”
This November, ONR conducted a demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico to showcase progress made with AITT. In “Office of Naval Research Makes Virtual Training Anywhere, Anytime , a Reality,” Navy Public Affairs covered the demonstration and the history of AITT.
Marine Corps Capt. Jack Holloway, who is assigned to ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department, stated, “Instead of going out to an old, stale range that has the same targets that people have been shooting at for the last 40 years, AITT provides a target-rich and dynamic environment for training without having to rely on external resources.”
Seeing through the Same Lens
How are we pushing the boundaries of lens technology to support the virtual and augmented reality environments of tomorrow? Through strong partnerships that unite innovative teams within Lockheed Martin’s training and simulation and electro-optical centers of excellence.
Our Missiles and Fire Control business develops cutting-edge optics that equip industry-leading sensor systems. Warfighters rely on these systems for precision targeting and enhanced situational awareness to complete their missions safely and effectively. We leveraged that optical design expertise to develop asymmetrical lens technology with ultra-wide fields of view.
As the premier provider of innovative solutions for mission readiness, our Training and Logistics business integrated those lenses into wearable devices, developed unique algorithms to build out virtual worlds, and applied that technology to develop a number of training applications.
The result? With our lenses, users can see high definition imagery in each eye, bringing the image realism to nearly natural vision – and opening up a vast world of immersive environments for more realistic and effective training.
Lockheed Martin’s Optical Component Center (OCC) continues to transition innovation into production with unique optical manufacturing solutions and expertise. Combining an optical production facility, engineering support, and testing laboratory, the OCC teams with electro-optical programs to develop new technologies, improve affordability, and increase system performance.
One example of OCC technology innovation is the advanced optics inside of the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, which provides precision targeting, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for fixed wing aircraft in 16 countries.