Virtual reality technology helping to train military

Digital Soldier

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -New technology is helping the U.S. military save money, time and better train its soldiers.

The Digital Soldier is a project by the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton being developed in Huntsville.

“The goal here is to put soldiers in a very intense environment, so they feel like they’re actually there,” said Joel Dillon, Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton.

The Digital Soldier is a new way of training the U.S. military in lifelike scenarios through virtual reality.

“Until you can get totally immersive, until you feel like you’re actually in that environment, you don’t feel like you’re fighting an actual battle," said Dillon.

The digital soldier program tracks data for the soldier like heart rate, skin temperature and eye movement. The program can then take the data and help the soldier learn from it.

“Those data scientist work with our mission experts and our consultants to really be able to share what information a soldier needs at the right time and the right place,” said Stephanie Boone-Shaw, Principal of Army Science and Technology Mission for Booz Allen Hamilton.

The VR can be used for any type of training need the military has from hanging out of planes, sweeping for mines or practicing shooting dummies.

For Dillon, who is a veteran, this new technology is a stark contrast to what he went through in his military training.

“The training we did on the ground, I was hanging out of a 2-by-4 wooden door doing a practice in a football field," said Dillon. “This allows you to actually feel that type of anxiety that you would have felt if you were actually on an aircraft.”

With this advanced training the hope is soldiers are going to go into combat more prepared than ever.

“They ultimately are going to be able to save lives because it makes our soldiers better on the battlefield, makes them able to make rapid decisions and feel like they have been in this environment numerous times in the past," said Dillon.

The program is currently being used by the U.S. Army for training.

Booz Allen Hamilton just won a more than 500 million dollar contract to work in Huntsville with a division of the Army to maximize soldier performance.

Copyright 2019 WAFF. All rights reserved.