The Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center, with scientists and engineers at the Center for Applied Brain and Cognitive Sciences are developing an urban, Scenario-Based Virtual Reality Testbed for objectively quantifying the impact of next-generation situation awareness technologies on Soldier and Small Team mission performance.
In mission planning, introducing future technologies, such as augmented reality for visualizing the mission space, may improve shared understanding and situation awareness, while reducing the cognitive burden experienced by team members.
During movement to the objective the testbed objectively quantifies how technology increases vigilance, situation awareness, unit readiness, and the ability to rapidly detect,
classify, and react to threats.
During re-planning, future technology impacts on rapid and adaptable decisions is measured, with varied decision outcomes impacting virtual mission success. Does the new
capability provide critical information to the unit, benefitting decision effectiveness without negatively impacting cognitive workload, stress, or distraction?
ACTION ON THE OBJECTIVE
During actions on the objective, the testbed measures future technology impacts on stress and fatigue states, unit readiness, and situation awareness, including the unit’s perception and understanding of building layout and entry and egress options, and their ability to develop and vet plans to enter and clear the building.
Objectively assessing technological impacts on performance, during realistic and highstakes mission scenarios, provides metrics to evaluate and predict the value of innovative next generation technologies on small unit operational success.
This will identify future solutions, optimized for the Soldier, based on principles of human perception and cognition, and will enhance the impact, and the ultimate success of future technologies.
Testbed data can be used to inform system design and provide early feedback on the human performance impact of technologies prior to more costly and resource intensive field evaluations.