Military explores Second Life and Virtual Worlds

The military has been exploring the uses of virtual worlds such as Second Life.  There are many  military applications that come readily to mind such as training.  The U.S. has a global force which must attend regular required courses such an Non-Commissioned Officer Academy in which attendance is required for the Air Force upon making the rank E-7.  This requires airman to, yet once again, leave their families and travel to a temporary duty location for an intense six weeks of courses – all at the expense of the Air Force.  Virtual worlds offer an economical alternative that does not require the airman to leave their duty location, and yet he will still have an interactive, immersive training experience with other airmen stationed around the world.

Perhaps one area in which the Army has suprised me is by asking the public for their help.  Betterverse blogs about a project titled Federal Virtual World Challenge in which the U.S. Army “solicit proposals from the general public on how to best use virtual worlds for training and data analysis.”  The deadline for submission has passed, and winners will be announced in March 2010 at the Defence User’s Game Tech Conference in Orlando, Florida.  I am not sure which is cooler, the Army asking the public for help or the fact that there is a Defence User’s Game Tech Conference.  I wish that I had enough travel funds to attend.

While not yet implemented, the project that I find the most impressive is the Amputee Virtual Environment Support Space (AVESS) blogged about by Dusan Writer, one of the project coordinators. The project will actually take place on a stand alone version of Second Life provided by Linden Labs rather than the public version.  The post does not explain why.  This project will target a new demographic for virtual worlds, and the benefits cannot be overstated.  The project will explore the unique needs of veteran amputees who may also be suffering from PTSD among other ailments.  Much like the NCO Academy students, the amputees will have the opportunity to connect to other veteran amputees around the world in an immersive environment.  The project is a partnership between ADL Company Inc. (ADL) and Virtual Ability, Inc. (VAI), and it is funded by Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) of the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC).  It will certainly bear watching for interesting developments.

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~ by jenymn on December 29, 2009.

4 Responses to “Military explores Second Life and Virtual Worlds”

  1. Thanks for a wonderful post. We’re proud to be working on the AVESS project.

    There are several reasons why it is being hosted on a stand-alone version of Second Life. One of them has to do with allowing the family members participate, including children. We’ll be examining the benefits of providing a support space in which there are areas and/or options for children to participate in the space.

    As the project continues to document best practices, we hope to determine whether a public grid, private grid or some combination makes the most sense, and to share our findings on peer-to-peer support protocols, and hope to see whether there are other health conditions that might benefit from the lessons learned.

    Kind regards
    Dusan Writer
    (Doug Thompson, ADL/Remedy)

  2. Thank you. Your explanation makes perfect sense. As both a military spouse (now retired) and the military science and aerospace studies librarian, I am very interested in the outcome of your studies. It is a very exciting area and one that can have great impact on many lives.

  3. Wonderful, Dusan.
    Whether we should be policeing the worlds a moot qwestion…we must take care of those that serve.

  4. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by WeAreRemedy: Military uses of virtual worlds http://ow.ly/R5qL

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