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US Army using Augmented Reality overlays in its research for the detection of roadside explosive hazards

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In Augmented Reality News 

January 23, 2021 – The US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), Army Research Laboratory (ARL), has recently announced that it is employing the use of augmented reality (AR) overlays in its research for the detection of roadside explosive hazards, such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), unexploded ordnance and landmines.

Route reconnaissance in support of convoy operations remains a critical function to keep Soldiers safe from such hazards, which continue to threaten operations abroad and continually prove to be an evolving and problematic adversarial tactic. To combat this problem, ARL and other research collaborators were funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, via the ‘Blood Hound Gang Program’, which focuses on a system-of-systems approach to standoff explosive hazard detection.

Kelly Sherbondy, Program Manager at the lab, said “Logically, a system-of-systems approach to standoff explosive hazard detection research is warranted going forward,” adding, “Our collaborative methodology affords implementation of state-of-the-art technology and approaches while rapidly progressing the program with seasoned subject matter experts to meet or exceed military requirements and transition points.”

The program has seven external collaborators from across the country, which include the US Military Academy, The University of Delaware Video/Image Modeling and Synthesis Laboratory, Ideal Innovations Inc., Alion Science and Technology, The Citadel, IMSAR and AUGMNTR.

In Phase I of the program, researchers took 15-months to evaluate mostly high-technology readiness level (TRL) standoff detection technologies against a variety of explosive hazard emplacements. In addition, a lower-TRL standoff detection sensor, which was focused on the detection of explosive hazard triggering devices, was developed and assessed. According to the Army, the Phase I assessment included probability of detection, false alarm rate and other important information that will ultimately lead to a down-selection of sensors based on best performance for Phase II of the program.

Researchers use various sensors on Unmanned Aerial Systems equipped with high-definition infrared cameras and navigation to enable standoff detection of explosive hazards using machine learning techniques.

The sensors evaluated during Phase I included an airborne synthetic aperture radar, ground vehicular and small unmanned aerial vehicle LIDAR, high-definition electro-optical cameras, long-wave infrared cameras and a non-linear junction detection radar. Researchers carried a field test in real-world representative terrain over a 7-kilometer test track and included a total of 625 emplacements including a variety of explosive hazards, simulated clutter and calibration targets. They collected data before and after emplacement to simulate a real-world change between sensor passes.

Terabytes of data was collected across the sensor sets which was needed to adequately train artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) algorithms. The algorithms subsequently performed autonomous automatic target detection for each sensor. The Army stated that this sensor data is pixel-aligned via geo-referencing and the AI/ML techniques can be applied to some or all of the combined sensor data for a specific area. Furthermore, the detection algorithms are able to provide ‘confidence levels’ for each suspected target, which is displayed to a user as an augmented reality overlay. The detection algorithms were executed with various sensor permutations so that performance results could be aggregated and determine the best course of action moving forward into Phase II.

“The accomplishments of these efforts are significant to ensuring the safety of the warfighter in the current operation environment,” said Lt. Col. Mike Fuller, US Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal and DTRA Program Manager.

The Army noted that future research into the technology will enable real-time automatic target detection displayed with an augmented reality engine. The three year effort will ultimately culminate with demonstrations at multiple testing facilities to show the technology’s robustness over varying terrain.

“We have side-by-side comparisons of multiple modalities against a wide variety of realistic, relevant target threats, plus an evaluation of the fusion of those sensors’ output to determine the most effective way to maximize probability of detection and minimize false alarms,” Fuller said. “We hope that the Army and the Joint community will both benefit from the data gathered and lessons learned by all involved.”

Image credit: US Army

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he covers news articles on both the AR and VR industries. He also has an interest in human augmentation technology as a whole, and does not just limit his learning specifically to the visual experience side of things.

Source: https://www.auganix.org/us-army-using-augmented-reality-overlays-in-its-research-for-the-detection-of-roadside-explosive-hazards/

AR/VR

Step Into the Cavernous C-17 With the RAF’s Latest 360 Video

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It’s been a while since VRFocus featured any 360-degree videos so here’s a new one that looked interesting. Created by the RAF Media Reserves for the RAF Police, it’s a chance to get up close to the RAF’s aircraft and assets for those who love aircraft or want to learn a bit more about the UK’s Royal Air Force.

Image credit: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

Recorded using Insta360’s Pro 2 and One R 360 cameras, the immersive experience takes viewers through several scenes starting with the cargo hold of a C-17. From there they can step into other areas only RAF personnel are allowed, like a hanger housing an A400M – with a dramatic viewpoint under the propellers.

As the video was created for the RAF Police, Flight Sergeant Neil ‘Josie’ Wales presents the entire experience, giving viewers a little bit of history alongside the various aspects of the job. These can range from routine criminal inquiries and large investigations to counterintelligence.

“We were acutely aware of the need for an initial ‘wow!’ factor, so we set our first scene in the cavernous empty hold of an RAF C-17 transport aircraft. As RAF reservists, we’d both experienced a sense of awe the first time we walked up the ramp into the belly of one of these beasts,” explains director Squadron Leader Tony Newton in a statement.

Image credit: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

“Our vision was to create an experience where the viewer is fully immersed in scenes that they wouldn’t normally have access to – standing directly underneath a landing C-130 Hercules or at the centre of a road traffic incident at night,” says Flight Lieutenant Paul Gale, the team’s director of photography and 360 expert.

In the two videos below you can watch the full 360-degree RAF Police experience and the behind-the-scenes footage. Or grab your Oculus Quest, Rift or Go headset to watch it in VR. For all the latest VR news, keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/step-into-the-cavernous-c-17-with-the-rafs-latest-360-video-6042e96f08a672ad0fbd1976?s=rss

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AR/VR

Step Into the Cavernous C-17 With the RAF’s Latest 360 Video

Avatar

Published

on

It’s been a while since VRFocus featured any 360-degree videos so here’s a new one that looked interesting. Created by the RAF Media Reserves for the RAF Police, it’s a chance to get up close to the RAF’s aircraft and assets for those who love aircraft or want to learn a bit more about the UK’s Royal Air Force.

RAF Police
Image credit: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

Recorded using Insta360’s Pro 2 and One R 360 cameras, the immersive experience takes viewers through several scenes starting with the cargo hold of a C-17. From there they can step into other areas only RAF personnel are allowed, like a hanger housing an A400M – with a dramatic viewpoint under the propellers.

As the video was created for the RAF Police, Flight Sergeant Neil ‘Josie’ Wales presents the entire experience, giving viewers a little bit of history alongside the various aspects of the job. These can range from routine criminal inquiries and large investigations to counterintelligence.

“We were acutely aware of the need for an initial ‘wow!’ factor, so we set our first scene in the cavernous empty hold of an RAF C-17 transport aircraft. As RAF reservists, we’d both experienced a sense of awe the first time we walked up the ramp into the belly of one of these beasts,” explains director Squadron Leader Tony Newton in a statement.

RAF Police
Image credit: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

“Our vision was to create an experience where the viewer is fully immersed in scenes that they wouldn’t normally have access to – standing directly underneath a landing C-130 Hercules or at the centre of a road traffic incident at night,” says Flight Lieutenant Paul Gale, the team’s director of photography and 360 expert.

In the two videos below you can watch the full 360-degree RAF Police experience and the behind-the-scenes footage. Or grab your Oculus Quest, Rift or Go headset to watch it in VR. For all the latest VR news, keep reading VRFocus.

Checkout PrimeXBT
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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/03/step-into-the-cavernous-c-17-with-the-rafs-latest-360-video/

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AR/VR

DJI’s VR goggles let you see the world from your drone’s point of view – Future Blink

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The DJI FPV Combo racing drone gives you a real-time, immersive drone-flying experience thanks to VR googles.  Read more…

More about Mashable Video, Vr Headset, Dji, Fpv, and Dji Drones

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/djis-vr-goggles-let-you-see-the-world-from-your-drones-point-of-view-and8211-future-blink-60429dbe15fdffce064bf2b1?s=rss

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AR/VR

Preview: Z-Race – Futuristic Toy Car Racing

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As a kid did you ever grab toy cars or planes and whizz them around the house pretending they were racing? Well, that’s what it kind of feels like playing XOCUS’ new virtual reality (VR) videogame Z-Race – minus the screaming parents – a futuristic racing title that will immediately make you think of WipEout yet offers a very different gameplay experience.

Z-Race immediately stands out thanks to its visual style, the anti-grav vehicles looking awesome thanks to a mixture of F1 and spaceship inspiration. While the tracks tend to be mostly tubular in construction there are moments when they open up, providing stunning views among the clouds or racing through icy, industrialised terrain.

For its Early Access launch on Steam for HTC Vive, Valve Index and Oculus Rift, you’ll be able to pilot 10 vehicles split across three-speed grades, three in grades three and two with four ships in the fastest grade one. Gaining access to the next grade requires upgrading one vehicle to the max, which you can only do by collecting coins on the track or by winning. These are split down into Acceleration, Top Speed and Nitro sections, each with three upgrade slots. So each race is a careful balance between keeping that perfect line or trying to collect those coins.

When it comes to the tracks there are 12 in total, split across Bronze, Silver and Gold cups. Unlike the variety found in the ships, the tracks only have four terrains, so by the time you enter the Gold cup they can feel somewhat repetitive. XOCUS does try to mitigate some of this by increasing the number of obstacles, so not only do you have other opponents flying around you there are red cylinders that will instantly slow you down – they’ll even ricochet if someone in front hits one – and red walls to thread through. In some of the tighter tunnels, it can be quite the challenge trying to feed your way through everything.

To help in these scenarios you have slow-mo and nitro to use, the former can only be used three times per race whilst nitro appears as blue orbs on the track. So far this all sounds like a blistering sci-fi racer – albeit without any weapons – offering face-melting speeds and intense competition.

However, if you’re a fan of VR racing games you’ll know inside the vehicle is where the action is, it’s the only true way of feeling that sense of speed. Z-Racer doesn’t, in fact, as its entirely third-person. There aren’t any actual options because of the control mechanics XOCUS has employed, great for comfort, not so much for speed. As VRFocus alluded to earlier, Z-Racer’s controls are like holding a toy in your hand, the controller becoming the ship. It’s a similar format to Shooty Skies Overdrive, all you need to do is move your hand around the track.

While this may not sit well with racing fans it does mean a generally comfortable experience even with all the undulating track design. It does take a moment to get used to but it provides a different experience to more conventional titles like Radial-G: Proteus.

As for the competitive aspect, Z-Race doesn’t offer your standard multiplayer where you have to wait for other players. Instead, the only mode currently available is Asynchronous Racing, where there are other racers on the track who represent other players times. The benefit of this system is no wait times, just dive straight into a race, and you do get that pseudo-competitive feel even though you know no one else is competing at that moment.

Currently, the content available means you’ll see all Z-Race has to offer in under an hour, going back through each course once you’ve supped up the best ships to gain a prominent leaderboard position. Yet Z-Race is an Early Access title and XOCUS’ plans for more content could radically change the experience. An actual head-to-head mode is planned for Q2 2021 which could really add some much-needed depth to the gameplay. Far more radical is the proposition of a cockpit mode. This idea is being looked at due to player feedback and if implemented would completely alter the control scheme, likely two very different racing modes.

For now, though, Z-Race offers a very average racing experience. It’s enjoyable for that initial hour then begins to wain unless you really want that number one position. There’s plenty of potential to be unlocked as the quality of the graphics and smooth gameplay already set a high, premium bar so hopefully, the studio has plenty of content updates planned. Should that cockpit mode arrive then VRFocus will be revisiting Z-Race.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/preview-z-race-futuristic-toy-car-racing-60429509f46825a805bfb7dc?s=rss

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