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IT²EC 2022: BattleVR, VBS4 combine for immersive squad training solution

The Agincourt BattleVR system shown with a haptic vest. (Giles Ebbutt)

Agincourt has integrated its BattleVR squad immersive training system with Bohemia Interactive Simulations' (BISim's) Virtual Battlespace 4 (VBS4) and demonstrated the combination at the International Training Technology Exhibition & Conference (IT²EC) 2022 in London.

The BattleVR system consists of four main components. An 8K resolution high-fidelity XTAL head- mounted display (HMD) from Vrgineers provides 180° field-of-view in the immersive environment, which is “near enough to full human peripheral vison”, according to an Agincourt representative. The HMD also provides physical tracking of the wearer through a combination of optical and magnetic sensors.

The system uses synthetic weapons that provide recoil, although real weapons can also be converted. A sensor package provides weapon tracking using a combination of magnetic and accelerometer sensing as well as detecting weapon recoil to register shots fired. This information is transmitted via Bluetooth to a receiver on the HMD for integration into the virtual world.

A tetherless backpack control unit integrates the system. There is also the option of a haptic suit, which provides electric stimulation when the wearer is “shot”. This includes separate chest, leg, and arm elements. Other options include gloves that enable hand tracking with each finger individually tracked.

Up to eight individuals can be networked for squad training, with the tracked footprint available in 5×5 m blocks up to 50×50 m. A comprehensive after-action review capability is provided.

Richard Davies, Agincourt director, told Janes that the system had been in development for about 18 months, with the immersive environment built in the Unity game engine and integrated with VBS4. He said that this is the first immersive squad training system to use VBS4.

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