High-Tech Training

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FROM THE PLAYING FIELD TO THE BATTLEFIELD:
THREE TRAINING TOOLS MAKING A DIFFERENCE

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On their quest for success, athletes have invested in advanced technologies, such as augmented reality and sensors, to help them train for high stakes games or matches. 

Athletes are increasingly incorporating these gadgets into their training regimens to reach and sustain an optimal level of performance. Around the world, warfighters are also using similar technology to prepare for their high-stakes, complex missions.  

“For our warfighters, training can save their lives – and the lives of others,” said Atul Patel, director of Advanced Technologies at Lockheed Martin. “And the latest technologies have helped us to create realistic, dynamic environments where they can test their skills, practice using equipment and coordinate with their units – similar to athletes and sports teams.”

Read on to discover the top training technologies that transcend the playing field to the battlefield.

AUGMENTED REALITY TO TRAIN ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

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To master different terrains athletes are using augmented reality, including virtual reality goggles, to learn about – and conquer – environmental challenges.

For warfighters, using augmented reality builds more than muscle-memory; it increases their understanding of how to mitigate risks in specific scenarios.

While training will always need to involve a realistic component, simulation uses synthetic or virtual environments to prepare warfighters for the stresses and factors that affect their speed and accuracy.

“We apply expertise in modeling and simulation to tap into the latest innovations of augmented reality, turning any location into a training range,” said Patel. “By inserting computer-generated friendly or threat forces over a live scene, we enable the simulated environment to feel much more realistic, helping soldiers train anytime, anywhere to stay mission ready.”

Advancing training one step farther, our integrated live, virtual and constructive (LVC) environments enable a pilot in a real aircraft to fly alongside a wingman in a ground-based simulator, both training together in the same environment.

In the future, by combining real equipment with training simulators and computer-generated opponents, teams could train in any weather, anywhere in the world, without having to travel to a specific location.

SENSOR TECHNOLOGY POWERING TRAINING

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To gain a competitive edge, athletes have started using wearable technology to track their performance in real-time. Take competitive kayaking as an example: Using sensor technology, kayakers can monitor their stroke technique and make instant improvements that help push them to the podium.

“Today, we are using eye-tracking sensors to assess key aspects of visual attention in flight simulators,” said Kevin Oden, Human Performance Engineering manager and principal investigator for wearable technologies. “That sensor information makes it much easier for instructors to provide corrective feedback to trainees on visual skills that are otherwise difficult to observe.”

THE FUTURE OF TRAINING: HIGH-TECH BIOPHYSICAL MONITORING

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Technique is key. Especially in elite swimming, when one strong dolphin kick can make the difference between winning gold and going home empty-handed. As athletes splash by, coaches can catch every stroke and kick with motion tracking software that offers real-time analysis.

To continue advancing training technology, we are helping to shape early research that uses biophysical indicators, such as brain activation or heart rate, to design better training devices and assess performance in a more objective way.

“Imagine two pilots, each flying a simulator successfully to pass an important qualification. What if you could detect and measure that one pilot’s biophysical response indicated complete calm, while the other’s was marked by signs of stress?” said Patel.

We are partnering with universities and government labs to transition the science behind how our brains function into programs so we can better prepare our warfighters for their next mission.