Military leveraging VR technologies to learn network influence
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Military leveraging VR technologies to learn network influence

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DEVCOM, Army Research Lab, funded Electrophysiological Neuroscience Lab at Kent State University to develop a VR lab that can be used along with other bio-physiological technologies to advance an understanding of group dynamics.

Immersive reality blends VR with sounds, images, and other stimuli to produce an involving environment.

Per Dr. Bruce West, an Army scientist, the Army is becoming more reliant on small operations teams, but little is understood about how small groups work in extreme environments. The research team uses physiological and electrophysiological equipment to investigate decision-making and team functioning under attack.

“In order to make valid and efficacious practical recommendations for small special operations teams in the modern global military context and other threat environments, Soldiers can benefit by training in immersive virtual environments to make them feel like they are really there. The immersive virtual reality system at Kent State University is developing more valid, impactful knowledge about how teams and individuals navigate dangerous environments.” – Dr. Lisa Troyer, Program Manager, Social and Behavioral Sciences, ARL.

The lab includes VR headsets with 3D eye-tracking and treadmills that can be mixed with EEG and another biometric tech.

“With this lab, ENLoK is generating path-breaking social science discoveries. The team’s efforts are leading the use of immersive virtual reality and capabilities to identify neurological signals of influencers in groups that can support Army missions by better understanding Army influence networks as well as adversarial groups.” – Dr. Lisa Troyer.

“Understanding the consequences of status-based behavior in a variety of settings, including small team contexts, can help the Army prepare and train for modern military operations. The Army can also use the knowledge we are developing to better understand how influencers in allied groups support Army missions through their social networks or how adversarial groups mobilize.” – Dr. Will Kalkhoff, Director, ENLoK.

The research team at Kent State is collaborating with MILO that provides immersive training solutions for law enforcement organizations and the military globally. The goal is to improve military and police readiness by combining rigorous social science with rising technologies.

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